I leave today for Fukuoka, Japan to ride the world’s latest – and some would say most exclusive – luxury train.
Since its introduction in October, 2013, the 28-passenger Cruise Train Seven Stars in Kyushu has been wildly popular.
Kyushu Railways regularly holds lotteries to see who gets to ride the Seven Stars, spending up to $1,700 a day.
I’ve tried my luck with the lottery, to no avail. That’s why I’m joining a group of European journalists next week for a special ride.
The Society of International Railway Travelers insists on personally experiencing trains before they are listed on our World’s Top 25 Trains list. And the Seven Stars will be a major element of our November, 2016 Japan tour. (Click here to get on the first notification list.)
What makes the Seven Stars so special? To judge from the photos and videos I’ve seen, the train’s design rivals anything riding the rails today. (See video below.)
Plus the itinerary luxuriously showcases the charms of Kyushu, renowned for its hot springs, impressive cuisine and natural beauty.
I’ll also be testing JR Kyushu’s wonderfully named Sweet Train on a two-hour ride between Sasebo and Nagasaki. Designed by the same person as the Seven Stars, Mr. Eiji Mitooka, the Sweet Train features “French-inspired confections that are served during the journey,” according to the Japan Times.
I can’t wait!
Finally, I’ll be flying Japan Air Lines’ Business Class Chicago-Tokyo-Fukuoka round trip. If it’s anything like my last JAL flight, my experience of Japan will begin the moment I enter the cabin.
I’ll be back in this space three weeks from today with my report. In the meantime, please click here to be updated on our 2016 “Japan and the Seven Stars” tour.
Working with our Virtuoso specialists, Windows to Japan, we’re crafting what we think is a magnificent itinerary.
It carefully combines trains, cultural experiences, overnights at ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), visits to gardens and shrines and stunning natural beauty. It takes place at a time when the fall leaves should be spectacular.
And the icing on the cake? Our Nov. 14-18, 2016 Seven Stars in Kyushu luxury rail tour. (Did I mention we’re the first U.S. company to charter the Seven Stars?)
First-come, first-served! I hope you’ll join us.
Questions: please call 800-478-4881 or 502-897-1725. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owen C. Hardy is founder and CEO of The Society of International Railway Travelers.