Inspire

Japan’s New Sleeper Train Will Make You Love Long Journeys

Taking "travel in style" to a whole new level.

Most of us aren’t big fans of long, arduous train rides. Then again, most of us have never ridden the Train Suite Shiki-Shima.

One of the most luxurious cruise trains in the world, the Japanese train opened for business at the start of May. The full train comprises 10 cars: observation carriages at the front and back, where you’ll get to enjoy outdoor scenery through glass walls and scenery, a lounge car, a dining car, and six private suites including the extravagant Deluxe Suite and the Shiki-Shima Suite.

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The Suite Train Shiki-Shima carries up to 34 passengers, and follows a route with one, two and three day round-trip options. It leaves from the purpose-built platform 13½ (perhaps there’s a Harry Potter fan on the design team) at Ueno Station in Tokyo.

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While the train’s beautiful interior design, complete with second story lofts and a working fireplace, is worth the trip on its own, it’s the natural beauty you’ll travel past that makes it even more worthwhile. From farms and vineyards to ancient temples and shrines, on top of mountains, coasts, rice fields and beyond, there’s no better way to soak up Japanese landscapes.

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The train’s pristine presentation is largely thanks to designer Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who’s previously worked on Ferrari, Maserati and Porsche automobiles, as well as many other train carriages, eyewear and watches. Meanwhile, the food comes courtesy of head chef Hitoshi Iwasaki, who specialises in French-Japanese fusion, and Katsuhiro Nakamura, the first ever Japanese chef to earn a Michelin star.

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The train only began operating at the start of May, and is fully booked out until 2018. It doesn’t come cheap – but if you can afford it, it’ll be trip of a lifetime.

(All images: JR East)

Check out Qantas flights to Japan.