Chiba Prefecture’s Isumi Railway will run a special train tour for 20 starry-eyed passengers on February 6th this year that will feature an on-board planetarium and a stop at a rural station for direct observation of the night sky.
Dubbed “Isumi Galaxy Railway” the train will have the high-definition Megastar planetarium projector fitted on board, so that the train itself appears to be flooded with stars. After enjoying the on-board experience passengers will stop to view the starry skies of the Chiba countryside. The area around Isumi is well known for its clear star-filled night skies, particularly in winter, and so is a popular location for astronomical photography.
Isumi Railway is a local railway line in Chiba Prefecture that runs between the coastal city of Isumi and the castle town of Otaki. The railway already runs a regular restaurant train called the “Ise Ebi Express”
This new tour has been organized with Tourism Izumi and is the first of its kind in the Kanto region of eastern Japan. To ensure passenger safety during the global pandemic, participants have been limited to just 20 passengers so that they may maintain social distancing and other coronavirus countermeasures include mask-wearing, proper ventilation, and complete disinfection of contact surfaces.
The full tour which includes a bento-style dinner, an expert talk, a virtual reality experience, and a Milky Way themed accessory making experience, lasts 5 hours and 40 minutes and costs 11,000 yen. February 6th is a trial-run for the planetarium train, but if successful, this unique night tour will become a regular service offering a truly out-of-this-world experience!
Article by Michael Lambe. Images courtesy of Isumi Railway. All rights reserved.