Japan has a futuristic sightseeing train that’s like a luxury hotel on rails

Published on : Monday, December 13, 2021

JR East’s Train Suite Shiki-shima is a sightseeing sleeper train that takes passengers on multi-day journeys through some of Japan’s top scenic spots, including the wineries of Nagano, or through an exploration of Ainu culture in Hokkaido.

The train has a maximum capacity of just 34 passengers, with five sleeping cars, two observation cars, a lounge car and a dining car. Packages on offer for the upcoming season are a one-night trip to Nagano and a three-night trip to Hokkaido, with the train departing from Tokyo’s Ueno Station.

There’s a lot to see on one of these sumptuous trips, though the train itself boasts plenty of treats for the eyes.
For starters, one could spend hours staring at the scenery from the windows of the observation cars at the head and tail of the train.

As for the sleeper cars, each suite is fitted with its own private toilet and shower room. Some even have hinoki cypress bathtubs to soak in as you pass through some of Japan’s most scenic landscapes.

If one chooses to book the three-night tour of Hokkaido, a typical day on board the Shiki-shima might begin by waking to a breakfast of Hakodate ikura (salmon roe) and squid over rice before hopping off at Hakodate Station for an exclusive tram ride around town.

For lunch, they’ll be treated to a French menu using seasonal ingredients from the surrounding region prepared by chef Yuya Sekikawa, before they disembark for a tour of the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park.

The two-day, one-night trips in Nagano will run from June through September while the four-day, three-night trips in Hokkaido will run from April through November.

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