Travel Japan in style: Five luxury train journeys around Japan
If you’re thinking of visiting the Land of the Rising Sun this year, why not try one of these incredible luxury train journeys around Japan for a different oriental experience. Japan has a wealth of tourist attractions, natural landscapes, historical sights and much more to offer any curious traveller.
Known for its commuter society, Japan has a huge range of diverse train journeys available and one of the most glamorous ways to explore this contrasting country is by train! Whether you choose to visit just one area of this exotic land or you want to spend your time getting a more well-rounded experience of Japanese culture by extending your trip further afield, there is a luxury Japanese train journey with the right features and itinerary for you.
Still a land shrouded in mystery, this far eastern gem is bursting with diversity and exquisitely combines ancient traditions with the most up-to-date technology and developments of all kinds. Take a look at these top five deluxe train trips in Japan and choose your favourite for your next holidays.
1. Seven Stars in Kyushu
This cruise train was developed by none other than the Chairman of JR Kyushu, Koji Karaike along with famous Japanese industrial designer Eiji Mitooka and has been running since 2013, giving passengers an original Japanese travel experience to discover the true beauty of the Kyushu island. This first-of-its-kind train trip offers rotating chairs and elegant sofas in the lounge car, where passengers can listen to live musical performances, and gourmet seasonal food served on all their journeys in the dining cars. With 2 and 4-day excursions, the Seven Stars Kyushu cruise train allows ticket-holders an extravagant experience through the hot springs, nature, culture and history of this charming region.
2. Shiki-Shima Sleeper Train
The futuristic Train Suite Shiki-Shima sleeper offers journeys which allow travellers to get a sense of a different side of Japan, visiting various festivals and tourist attractions that might
not be on the typical tourist agenda including the Doll Festival in Eastern Japan and the Nishimonai Bon Dance in Akita Prefecture. The concept embraced by the glamorous Shiki-Shima train encompasses the notion that we experience a certain joy when we realise that there are many things yet to be discovered and the itineraries offered by this type of luxury Japanese train travel aim to incorporate this idea in each 4 or 2-day excursion.
3. Shinkansen – Gran Class
The Shinkansen trains have taken Japan by storm and are becoming more and more popular as they develop and create new train lines around the country. Usually available on the Shinkansen trains are the ‘Standard’ or ‘Green’ class tickets but the latest update for these “bullet trains” as they are widely known is the new ‘Gran’ class – taken from the French word for big. Already available on the Tohoku and Hayabusa trains, the Shinkansen Gran Class tickets provide each traveler with a host or hostess who guides them to their seat and provides them with lavish amenities and food and drink throughout their trip. The Shinkansen is the only luxury Japanese train tour which accepts the Japan Rail Pass as payment for the ticket. To be one of the lucky few to experience the new Gran class on your journey, it is necessary to pay a supplementary charge to upgrade, but it’s well worth the extra indulgence to enjoy Japanese train travel at super speed and in superb style.
4. Twilight Express Mizukaze
The Twilight Express Mizukaze hybrid sleeper train began offering excursion journeys in June 2017 to Keihanshin, Sanin and Sanyo. With a capacity of only 34 passengers, this 10-car luxury train offers travelers 2 and 3-day trips to visit some of the most beautiful landscapes in Japan in addition to activities and sightseeing off of the train in the Western regions.
Mizukaze meaning fresh wind gives its name to the Twilight Express Mizukaze with the aim of inviting guests to enjoy the “joyous winds which bring fortune” as they wizz through exquisite scenery and dine on gourmet dishes created by the famous Japanese chefs Yoshihiro Murata and Hakime Yoneda.
5. The Royal Express
Starting up its engines for the first time as recently as September 2017, the newest in a line of luxury trains around Japan is the Royal Express, so-called for the regal blue carriages designed, like the Seven Stars Kyushu, by the award-winning industrial designer Eiji Mitooka.
The Royal Express touring train takes its up-to 100 passengers on a delightful one-way journey from Yokohama to Shimoda City or on one of three “cruise plan” journeys. The only train of its kind that allows children on board, this opulent mode of transport offers a ballpond and a library of children’s books to keep the little ones entertained throughout.