The Laview commuter train, which debuted in 2019 and began operating between Tokyo and Chichibu, has won this year’s prestigious Blue Ribbon, an award given annually since 1958 and presented to the best railway vehicle. The train was designed by one of Japan’s most notable architects and Pritzker recipient Kazuo Sejima.

When plans for the train were unveiled back in 2016, we noted that they represented a sharp deviation from train designs of the past. Indeed, we’ve never seen a train quite like it. It’s silver exterior is subtle and soft, designed to blend in with both its urban and natural environments as it moves between city and countryside. Meanwhile, its large passenger windows and warm tone of yellow seats are reminiscent of an inviting living room.

The Blue Ribbon Award recognized the train’s stylish features and inclusivity as being entirely barrier-free. The award is given by the Japan Railfan Club, a nationwide organization comprising 3000 members.

The Laview train operates between Ikebukuro Station and Seibu-Chichibu Station. You can find out more about the schedules on train operator Seibu’s website.

The upholstery for the carriages was designed in collaboration with textile designer Yoko Ando. Each seat has an adjustable headrest and a table within the armrest.

the avant-garde rounded face and modest-looking body of the train creates a sense of excitement for passengers before even boarding the train