TOKYO —Last spring, Japan Railways, operator of Japan’s fabled bullet trains, unveiled its design for a new Shinkansen that will whisk travelers to northeastern Japan as they relax at the onboard foot baths. Then came the announcement of an overnight train servicing Kyoto, Osaka, and Hiroshima with amenities rivaling those of a fancy hotel.
Now, it’s JR East’s turn. It has released new images of its upcoming luxury sleeper train for the region, plus its passenger suites that look genuinely large enough to live in. JR East originally shared its plans for the train last year, when famed train and auto designer Kiyoyuki Okuyama, who also goes by the name Ken, came onboard the project. Okuyama, who also headed the design of the footbath-equipped Shinkansen mentioned above, has pegged the design theme as “a train where passengers can enjoy the flow of time and space.”
What this seems to translate to, in concrete terms, is carriages that make use of extremely large windows to provide occupants with the widest possible view of the outside landscape. At either end of the 10-car train is an observation area with sofas and natural light streaming in from all directions.
Of course, nothing ruins your tranquil contemplation of the beauty of nature like the sound of your stomach growling, so of course there’s a dining car. There’s also a lounge, if you’re looking for something lighter than a full meal. The remaining six cars are used for guest rooms. Five of these contain three suites each, all of which include private bathroom and shower, and look to be a far cry from a packed Tokyo commuter train in terms of comfort.
The jewel in this rail-riding crown, though, is the centra car which houses the deluxe suites. This split-level room includes two beds, a living room seating area, and even a bathtub. This isn’t even all the sleeper has to offer, as the deluxe suite car will also contain a separate, single-level guestroom, although no images of it have been released yet. JR East’s new pride and joy is expected to go into service in spring of 2017, so plan your trips (or apartment hunting) accordingly.
Originally published on www.japantoday.com