JR is a familiar acronym to Japan travelers who board city trains and the bullet-speed Shinkansen. It stands for Japan Railways, the group that operates main transportation modes in the country. Tourists who want a more cost-efficient trip often get a multi-transport pass marked with the JR logo.
Now JR is famous for something else. One of its seven companies, JR East, launched the Shiki-shimatrain for which savings is a lost concept. The ticket for a four-day voyage is valued at 1,425,000 yen (around P638,373). Just days after the launch early this month, tickets sold out until March 2018.
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
The train was designed by Ken Okuyama, whose industrial projects include the cutting-edge cars Ferrari F60 Enzo and kode9 Spyder. The 17-suite Shiki-shima has the features of a stylish space capsule: Think Kubrick's Space Odyssey meets a Japanese boutique hotel.
The dining car features a marvelous cubic ceiling and champagne lights. Here in this sunlit and cozy area passengers can enjoy dishes by Katsuhiro Nakamura, the first Japanese to earn a Michelin star.
CNN reports that the most expensive suite is split-level and beats a typical Tokyo apartment in size. It also has a living room, a tub, and two beds.
As tempting as it might be to stay inside the train, passengers also do some sightseeing. The next four-day trip in 2018 includes stops at Nikko, Hakodate, Aomori, and Tsubame.
CONTINUE READING BELOW
Interested? Before you can buy a ticket to Shiki-shima, you must fill out an application form. It doesn’t end there. A lottery will determine whether you get a spot.
This year’s maiden voyage accepted one out 76 people, according to Japanese news service NHK World.
Takarakuji gaataru to ii desu ne. That's Japanese for "may your number be drawn."