Japan is already known for its trains. The country has been a tech and automotive pioneer for decades, and was one of the first to introduce the “Bullet Train,” an ultra-high-speed link that can rocket you from Tokyo to Nagano at 320 km/h. But where Japanese trains excelled at speed and innovation, they often fell short on luxury.
Now, a new train line is making the case for spending as much time on board as possible. JR East’s Train Suite Shiki-Shima launches this month, accommodating 34 passengers across 10 cars (including two observatory cars and a lounge).
Designed by Ken Kyoyuki Okuyama, formerly of General Motors and Porsche, the train is an appealing mix of traditional Japanese elements and futuristic glass walls.
Each suite is two storeys and comes with its own sitting room, bathroom (some have a full tub), and even a personal butler.
Two-day sightseeing journeys start at about $3,800 — but with such limited availability, you’ll need to fill out an application and hope to be chosen in a lottery for your chance to take the slow route.