Food lovers visiting Fukuoka Prefecture should book their tickets for Rail Kitchen Chikugo; a beautifully designed sightseeing train that celebrates both local cuisine and craftsmanship. Rail Kitchen Chikugo is effectively a mobile restaurant operated by the private railroad company Nishitetsu Railway, and it runs along scenic rural routes on the Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta Line and Daizafu Line. The train is named after the historic Chikugo Province that once covered the southern part Fukuoka Prefecture.
This colorful train was remodelled from a Nishitetsu #6050 series commuter train and consists of three dining cars with 52 seats and a full-sized open kitchen in the second car.
The checkered pattern of the train’s exterior is evocative of a fresh, clean tablecloth while the interior features several traditional crafts such as woven bamboo on the ceiling, and walls decorated with Ibushi tiling and engraved tin panels.
The large open kitchen is centered on its oven and here meals are prepared using ingredients freshly sourced from rural areas along the line.
Original courses include amuse-bouche, appetizers, a main dish, petits fours, and drinks before and after the meal. Menus change four times a year to make best use of the seasonal ingredients.
Typical meals include oven-baked pizzas, local sake and wine.
Rail Kitchen Chikugo runs only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. There is a 40 minute morning service, serving brunch, that runs between Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station and Daizafu Station. The lunchtime service runs from Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station to Omuta Station and the dinnertime service runs back from Omuta Station to Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station. Both the lunch and dinnertime services take around 2 hours. For more details or to make a booking, please visit the official Rail Kitchen Chikugo website.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos courtesy of Nishitetsu Railway. All rights reserved.