JR have released details of course routes and prices for their new luxury cruise train “Train Suite Shiki-Shima.” The exclusive sleeper train will begin excursions between Tokyo’s Ueno Station and northern Japan from May 1st 2017.
This 10 car excursion train features observation cars at front and rear, one lounge car, one dining car, and six cars devoted to private suites including one car that holds a Deluxe Suite and a maisonette style “Shiki-Shima Suite.”
The design of Shiki-Shima was overseen by award-winning industrial designer, Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who has previously designed buildings, furniture, eyewear, robots and even trains, but is best known for designing Ferrari automobiles.
The new train will tour different areas of northern Japan in different seasons, with excursions to Hokkaido, Aizu-Wakamatsu and Aomori planned for spring and winter of 2017. For May and June of next year two course options have already been planned: a 1 night and 2 day course, and a 3 night and 4 day course. The 1 night / 2 day course will tour the scenic areas of Yamanashi, Nagano and Aizu in northern Honshu. The 3 night / 4 day course will travel through northern Honshu to Aomori and beyond that to Hokkaido before circling back down to Ueno.
This train can carry at most 34 passengers, so naturally these luxury tours come at luxury prices. An individual ticket for a 3 night / 4 day course will cost between 740,000 – 770,000 yen for a standard suite; 890,000 – 900,000 yen for a Deluxe Suite; and for a Shiki-Shima Suite 940,000 – 950,000 yen. Remember that passengers are charged individually, and as the rooms are really designed for couples in mind the real price could come to somewhere between 1480000 – 1900000 yen. Although it is possible to book a suite for individual use, the fee for that is set high at between 1110000 – 1155000 yen. For the 1 night / 2 day course individual tickets are priced between 320000 – 450000 yen, and booking a suite for individual use will cost you 480000.
Applications for tickets can now be made via the official Train Suite Shiki-Shima website though the application page is only available in Japanese at present. The deadline for applications for the first tours in May and June next year is June 30th 2016. JR East are expecting a lot of initial interest, so tickets will be sold on a lottery basis with lottery winners informed in July this year. Tickets for tours later in 2017 will be sold by other travel agencies.
Article by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved. Images courtesy of JR East.