In the age of Instagram, intrepid travelers are seeking over-the-top destinations and memorable experiences. Here’s a highly Instagrammable journey to add to the bucket list. JR East, the East Japan Railway Company, has recently unveiled a luxury sleeper train designed by Ken Okuyama, the famous Japanese industrial designer who was the creative director at Pininfarina (and the only non-Italian to have designed a Ferrari). Nearly three years in the making at a cost of five billion yen, the Train Suite Shikishima has a capacity of only 34 passengers—talk about exclusive.
Entirely custom designed, the 10-car train has a lounge car, a dining car serving the gourmet cuisine of Eastern Japan, and two observatory cars, at the front and back of the train, which are lined with glass walls for killer views of the passing scenery. Sleeping arrangements are highly luxurious; the suites and double suites showcase traditional Japanese architectural design elements including washi paper, wood paneling, and heated kotatsu seating areas, plus the private bathrooms have onsen baths.
Here’s another fun fact, as reported by Spoon & Tamago: “Perhaps in the magical spirit of the Hogwarts Express, the Train Suite Shikishima will have its own dedicated “platform 13.5” at Ueno Station in Tokyo.”
The journey doesn’t come cheap. A 3-night, 4-day trip costs 950,000 yen (about $8,000) per person. But we hear that rooms are already sold out for the first 6 months.
As reported by Travel + Leisure, applications are currently being accepted for the three-day and two-night trips, plus the east Japan seasonal trips, from December 2017 through March 2018. If there are extra applications, JR East will use a lottery system to select passengers; winners will be notified in April.