Train Suite Shiki-Shima, a luxury sleeper and cruise train that provides a travel experience with a modern Japanese taste, debuted May 1. The JR East-operated train carried passengers from Tokyo across the northern Tohoku region as well as the northernmost island Hokkaido. The train departed Ueno Station on Monday morning to start its four-day, three-night journey touring. At Nikko Station, in Tochigi Prefecture, and Hakodate Station in Hokkaido, passengers will have time to disembark and do some sightseeing.
The design of the train was conceived by Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, the Japanese auto designer who has worked with Pininfarina and General Motors, overseeing the design of cars such as the Ferrari Enzo and P4/5, the Honda NSX, and the C5 Corvette. Train Suite Shiki-Shima is made up of 10 cars, with four being dedicated to lounge, dining and viewing areas. A maximum of 34 passengers can stay in 17 lavish rooms in the remaining six cars. The highest-grade suite on the train costs 950,000 yen ($8,493) per person, and features a bath made of Japanese cypress. JR East has received reservation requests for the fiscal year ending March 2018.
The dome cars of Train Suite Shiki-Shima, located at both ends of the 10-car train and the inside of which was shown to the media for the first time during Wednesday’s rides, have large windows in the sides and ceilings and sofas allowing passengers to relax and enjoy the view as the train travels through mountain and coastal scenery.
Shiki-shima is fitted with an ultra-modern motor that can be used both on diesel engine and electric train lines. The train travels up to 110 kph, almost three times slower than the 320 kph top speed of Japan’s fastest bullet train.