If you prefer travelling with special comfort you should try a journey with Japan’s ultra-luxurious sleeper train, the Train Suite Shiki-shima. East Japan Railway has unveiled the Train Suite Shiki-shima this spring. It made its first four-day journey on the 1th of May through northeast Japan’s Tohitsoku region and the northernmost island of Hokkaido.
You may read on East Japan Railway website, Japan is not a large country, but it is an expansive country – a country with depth. JR East believes one of the most preferable way of contemplating true Japan goodliness is the trip with Shiki-shima. “We would like to create a new level of service and history in rail travel,” said Tetsuro Tomita, president of the East Japan Railway.
The Island of Four Seasons
The name Shiki-Shima means “Island of Four Seasons”. Routes for Shiki-shima are designed specially for different seasons to underline variety and beauty of natural scenery. At the moment you may book two routes in spring-autumn season (four-day or two-day travel) and one three-day travel in winter. Every journey begins at Ueno station in Tokyo. There is a luxurious lounge at this station for Shiki-shima guests. They can rest and enjoy various drinks and snacks there.
Emphasizing seasonality, Shiki-shima’s chefs use seasonal ingredients in cuisine. By the way, the main menu is devised by eminent chef Katsuhiro Nakamura. He became the first Japanese person who received a Michelin star in 1979. But the most attractive places in the train, where you can take in the powerful scenery and feel multifaceted seasonal beauty of Japan, are observation cars. You will find them at either end of the train. There is a sunny area with comfortable leather seating, white curved walls and large futuristic windows in these coaches. “Kizashi” and “Ibuki” observation cars offer passengers everything they need for relaxing rest.
Innovation and classics
Ultra-luxury interior of Train Suite Shiki-Shima is conceived by Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, a Japanese industrial designer who has worked with Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati. “The designer wanted to create something totally new for trains that does not exist anywhere else in the world. That was the basis for this concept. The exterior is futuristic, the interior is Japan,” told The Telegraph Tasuku Hiramatsu, a deputy manager at JR East.
Shiki-shima is leisurely train. It can travel up to 110 kph. It is far less than the 320 kph top speed of Japan’s fastest bullet train. But it is understandable. This train is designed to give its passengers the most comfortable and relaxing travel.
Total cost of production Shiki-shima is 5 billion yen (45 million dollars). The 10-car Train Suit Shiki-Shima has two observation cars, a restaurant, a lounge and six sleeping coaches with different suites (standard, «Shiki-shima» and Deluxe). Totally, there are 17 suites for 34 guests in the train.
Travel by Shiki-shima costs from 740 000 to 1 450 000 yen (6 660$-13 000$) depending on the route, the type of suite and the number of guests. At the moment, JR East offers tickets for April-June 2018.