JR West launched a colorful new sightseeing service on the scenic Tsuyama Line in Okayama Prefecture this month. The Sakura Sakubi train which will now make regular runs between Okayama Station and Tsuyama Station is notable for its striking pink exterior.
This one-car train is a refurbished Kiha 40 series railcar which was manufactured in 1980. The exterior of the train has been painted pale pink with a pattern reminiscent of fluttering cherry blossom petals. This coloring is inspired by the famous hot springs and cherry blossoms of northern Okayama Prefecture.
The interior of the car is also decorated in shades of green and brown to symbolize the mountains and forests in the north of Okayama Prefecture.
The name “Sakubi Sakura” is inspired by the three meanings of the word “saku” in Japanese: “create”, “bloom”, and “search”, and also includes the kanji characters for “beauty” and “fun”.
The Sakubi Sakura makes two return journeys between Okayama and Tsuyama on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. All passengers are given special lunch boxes or sweet sets made with the very best local ingredients. Different meal options are available on different services. A variety of souvenirs are also available on board the train.
Services that include a lunch box set cost 6,000 yen for adults and 5,140 yen for children. Services that include the sweets set cost 5,200 yen for adults or 4,340 yen for children. Tickets can be booked from Nippon Travel Agency and other travel agencies. For more details please visit the official Sakubi Sakura webpage (Japanese language only).
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos courtesy of JR West. All rights reserved.