Train-Suite Shiki-Shima train, Japan: Luxury train by Ferrari, Maserati designer

Japan has long had a love affair with its trains – and what's not to love about a system of fast commuter trains that run with such precision, 20-second delays are cause for apology? Now, though, Japan has a train to swoon over.

The Train-Suite Shiki-Shima, operated by East Japan Railway Company, is one of the world's most exclusive – and expensive trains. It hosts only 34 passengers at a time at a cost of from ¥740,000 ($8413) a night, a person, twin share.

Industrial designer Ken Kiyoyuki Okuyama, with design projects for Ferrari and Maserati on his impressive CV, lent his refined aesthetic to the 10-car sleeper, referencing Japanese tradition, culture and the golden age of travel.

What's so special? Well, suites, for instance, variously include a working fireplace, a cypress wood bath, a loft, and for those who know and love the Rocky Mountaineer's domed observation deck, the corresponding Shiki-Shima cars are next level, with a futuristic white look and glass panels providing virtually floor-to-floor panoramas.

Katsuhiro Nakamura, Japan's first Michelin-starred chef, has devised the menus that include dishes which reflect specific locations along the journey and are served accordingly in a glamorous, chandelier-festooned dining room.

The Komorebi lounge is designed so the walls and windows reflect the organic forms and light of the countryside and even the music has been specifically designed for the experience by an award-winning film composer, Naoki Sato, and service is, of course, gracious and attentive.

The champagne-gold exterior is something to behold, as many a Japanese trainspotter has already done. The Shiki-Shima has become a well-photographed celebrity as she rolls across the northern Tohoku region and Hokkaido, on one- to three-night itineraries.

Currently booked out till mid-2018, you can "apply" via a ballot system. See jreast.co.jp/shiki-shima/en/

See also: The world's most beautiful country to see by train

See also: 20 things that will shock first-time visitors to Japan

Traveller's 10th anniversary reader survey

Vote for your Destination of the Decade and Airline of the Decade in our reader poll to mark 10 years of Traveller

Comments