JR East is preparing to launch new services on its exclusive Train Suite Shiki-Shima, beginning in April 2022.
The 2-day/1-night itinerary will operate roundtrip from Tokyo’s central Ueno Station and travel through Niigata and Yamanashi prefectures, offering an indulgent experience for a limited number of guests.
The luxury train’s concept is based on completely indulging its passengers on and off-board, with an array of exclusive encounters focused on discovering the lesser-known delights in and around eastern Japan. From unique destination experiences to the fine-dining and amenities onboard the train, the Shiki-shima’s newest itinerary is focused on showcasing unique attractions en route.
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The Shiki-shima is decked out with all the elements of luxury, from a five-star lounge, observatory and fine dining cars, to deluxe private suite rooms. Designed with a refined aesthetic, the Shiki-shima features elements of traditional Japanese aesthetic throughout all the cars.
With a maximum capacity of only 34 passengers (in 17 onboard suites), the Shiki-shima provides passengers plenty of space to relax as they travel. The Deluxe Suite Room also include working fireplaces as well as private en-suite cypress wood baths.
The Shiki-shima has two ‘View Terrasses’ – observation cars on each end of the train which incorporate floor-to-ceiling window panels and a lush moss-like carpet, enhancing the image of becoming part of the nature you pass by. An onboard highlight is the dining experience, with menus created by some of Japan’s top chefs, creating a fine selection of seasonal and local specialities from the areas passed by on the journey, all served in the glamorous onboard dining room.
Scheduled to start their first trip in April 2022, the Shiki-shima’s Overnight Yamanashi course will take in some of Japan’s most beautiful seasons: spring (April and May) and autumn (October and November). This trip’s itinerary is centred around showcasing the often overlooked delights of Yamanashi and Niigata prefectures.
Starting from Tokyo, passengers will make their way north. After indulging in lunch prepared onboard guests will make their first stopover in Niigata Prefecture. Here they will visit the historic Saito Villa, who at the time was one of the wealthiest merchants of the prefecture. The original villa showcases the luxury of Japan in the 1920s, the gardens and the house itself are now seen as rich cultural assets.
Reboarding the Shiki-shima, guests enjoy dinner in the dining car with a full-course French menu that incorporates some of the incredible flavours and ingredients of Eastern Japan, all prepared by one of the Train Suite Shiki-shima’s executive chefs. After a bedtime cocktail in the glamorous Komorebi Lounge Car 5 overlooking the scenery that passes by the window, guests will stay overnight in their private suite.
On the second day, the itinerary includes a stop in Yamanashi Prefecture, where guests will be indulged in the delights of Japan’s ‘grape capital’. Starting with a gourmet breakfast at restaurant FRENCH DINING RYU that uses local and organically grown vegetables, served at their luxurious venue with open vistas of their Japanese garden. From here, they will then be escorted to one of the Katsunuma area’s best wineries; either Grace Wine, Katsunuma Winery or the Marufuji Winery. Here guests will sample some of the best products from the area which has grown to international fame as a major producer of Japanese wine brewed using 100% domestic grapes.
At noon guests will reboard the Train Suite Shiki-shima and be served their final meal onboard and make their way back to Tokyo.
A longer 4-day/3-night itinerary through Hakodaate and other parts of Southern Hokkaido, Honshu and Tohiku is also scheduled to commence in April 2022. And from June to September 2022, the Train Suite Shiki-shima will operate an overnight trip to Nagano.
For more information on the Train Suite Shiki-shima, click here.