The Japanese regional railway JR Kyushu became the first company to launch the world’s first luxury sleeper train, The Seven Stars in Kyushu (Nanatsuboshi). It was designed by Eiji Mitooka and cost a staggering 3 billion yen (approx. £20 million) to build. This luxury locomotive aims to rival luxury trains such as the world-renowned Orient Express and the Ghan….. and it does just that!
The Seven Stars cruise train boasts twelve luxury guest rooms and two deluxe suites, as well as a lounge car, a dining car and a bar used for relaxing during the day and musical performances in the evening. Hand-crafted woodwork and delicate artwork feature throughout and the train incorporates the latest in motion control technology, thus guaranteeing a smooth ride for guests whilst they coast through the lush landscape of the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. In addition, it is staffed with musicians, magicians and on-board staff who are there to attend to guests’ every whim.
Contrary to what you might think, the 7 stars do not actually refer to the rating of the train but rather the seven prefectures of Kyushu (Fukuoka, Oita, Saga, Miyazaki, Nagasaki, Kagoshima and Kumamoto) which guests will be gliding through at 62 (100km) per hour, the 7 carriages that the train features, and the seven tourist highlights of Kyushu (nature, history and culture, hot springs, cuisine, etc.).
On-board the Seven Stars, passengers can enjoy their own large private en-suite guest room which accommodate two people. Each cabin has been built using a different kind of wood and features traditional wood furnishings, as well as bamboo blinds and Japanese paper screens, whilst the en-suite bathrooms boast aromatic Hinoki cypress wood complete with ceramic sinks inspired with Satsuma porcelain.
The highlight of the train is, without a doubt, the Deluxe Suite A located in the final carriage. It comprises a 266-square foot room boasting a stunning panoramic window overlooking the track behind the train.
On the longer cruises, exciting excursions and side trips are on the agenda thus allowing guests to discover beautiful Tyushu. They include a visit to Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan, and a stop off at the little town of Yufuin famous for its natural hot springs, etc.
Finally, for that added element of luxury, the train incorporates the latest in motion control technology which helps to minimize the rocking of each carriage, thus offering a smoother ride for fortunate guests. The technology counteracts the sway of the carriages by sensing the sideways movement of each car and automatically working to move the carriage in the opposite direction.
For this level of luxury, some very deep pockets are required as a 1 night or 3 night stay will set you back upwards of £980 per person. That’s assuming that you can even get a ticket given that cruises on the Seven Stars in Kyushu sell like hot cakes! Included in the price are all transportation costs, meals, on-board service, alcoholic beverages and sight-seeing costs.
If this wasn’t expensive enough, Japanese railway company JR East has recently commissioned Ferrari designer Ken Okuyama to develop another luxury Japanese train, the “cruise train“, which is scheduled to enter service in the Spring of 2017.
A far cry from the classic wood interiors of the Seven Stars in Kyushu, it will feature an ultra-modern, cutting-edge interior with floor-length windows, high ceilings and split-level accommodation complete with a full bath for a total of 34 passengers only. There will also be a luxury lounge and dining car, and the train will be able to run on both electric and non-electric rails thanks to the adaptable EDC system.
The railway company is reportedly spending a staggering 5 billion yen (approx. $50 million) on its development. Ticket prices have yet to be revealed however, if the Seven Stars is anything to go by, we can assume that they will be astronomical.
Maria Allen is a Translation Project Manager by day and blogger enthusiast in her free time. She loves to write and express her creativity, the reason for which she launched Luxury Seekers Online covering mainly luxury themes but also financial news and extravagance that everyone can afford! You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter:@mariaallen07.