It’s been almost 3 years since the announcement that JR East was investing 5 billion yen to create a luxury sleeper train. Yesterday, that train was unveiled at a ceremony in Tokyo. Dubbed the Train Suite Shikishima, it was designed by Ken Okuyama, a Japanese industrial designer and the only non-Italian to have designed a Ferrari.
Okuyama incorporated wood and washi paper into the interiors to create the luxurious sleeper train, which begins operating in May 2017. But with a maximum capacity of 34, the exclusive cars come at a price. There is a high-end, 2-floor suite with a private onsen bath and heated kotatsu to keep travelers warm as they speed through the landscape. Here, a 3-night, 4-day journey through Japan costs 950,000 yen (about $8000) per person. But rooms are already booked for 6 months out.
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.
If you want to learn more you can visit the website where there’s contact information and numbers to call to make reservations. There’s also a sales office at Tokyo Station.
The sleeper train offers various packages depending on the season and below is a map of two of them. On the left is the Spring – Fall 3-night package that begins in Ueno and makes a large loop up North extending all the way to Hokkaido. On the right is a shorter Spring – Fall 1-night package that begins in Ueno and makes a central loop through Aizu Wakamatsu.