John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, May 30, 2014
Travellers to Japan will have another way to explore the country from spring 2017, when West Japan Railway Co (JR West) launches its art deco-inspired luxury sleeper train service.
Painted a lush green, to complement the picturesque and rural regions it is set to serve, the 10-carriage train train will accommodate just 30 passengers. The Asahi Shimbu reports that six of the cars will serve as sleeper cars. The most impressive, complete with spacious living room, private balcony and bathroom with bathtub, will be available for exclusive use. Additional carriages will incorporate an intimate restaurant, a lounge and viewing areas. Renowned Japanese designers are expected to create the interiors, while Takeshi Kadokami, an authority on Kansai cuisine, will be overseeing the menu.
The train’s exact route is yet to be decided but it is expected to serve routes within the Keihanshin region, an area that encompasses Japan’s ancient cultural capital Kyoto, as well as Osaka and Kobe.
Currently Japan’s most internationally recognised train service is its Shinkansen network of high-speed lines, served by the distinctive "bullet trains". Still vastly superior to comparable express services in operation in other countries, it began operating in the 1960s.
Late last year saw the launch of Kyushu Seven Stars, a luxury sleeper train expected to become the Japanese equivalent of Europe’s Orient Express services. Among the distinct design features on board are showers lined with aromatic hinoki cypress wood, bamboo blinds and shoji, Japanese paper screens.
Telegraph travel writer Bee Rowlatt was among the first to travel on the service in October, and sampled exceptional cuisine as the train rolled past rice paddys and through verdant valleys . Guests who travel on board can arrange to stop at isolated Japanese villages en route, where they can stay in traditional ryokan inns and visit onsen hot springs reserved for their private use.
This article was written by John O'Ceallaigh from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.