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Luxury on the Rails: A Michelin Chef Cooks for You on a Japanese Train

Luxury on the Rails: A Michelin Chef Cooks for You on a Japanese Train
photo: Eiichi Kimura / Flickr/Japanese train
02 / 01 / 2024

The train is no longer just a means of transport that carries passengers from point A to point B. Today, the world offers rail luxury and unforgettable travel experiences. In Japan, you can experience food tasting directly from a Michelin-starred chef or view the nightlife on a train.

For several years, the Shiki-Shima train, or 'Island of the Four Seasons,' has been running from Tokyo to the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido. It is called the most luxurious train in the world and offers maximum hospitality.

Shiki-Shima offers delicious dishes that are always selected according to the season, and all ingredients are sourced from different regions of eastern Japan. Michelin-starred chefs take care of the menu. While dining, people can enjoy an unforgettable view of Japan and its nature. The whole atmosphere is complemented by the soothing rumble of the railway track.

hawkstersf / Flickr

Luxury suites with a capacity of 34 people are available for passengers in up to five cars. The standard suite offers two sofa beds and a bathroom with a shower. The luxury suite has a fireplace in the room. The Shiki-Shima suite looks like a luxurious duplex apartment with several double beds and a bathroom that offers a traditional Japanese relaxing bath where everyone can leave their worries behind.

Eiichi Kimura / Flickr

The Komorebi lounge serves as the main entrance to the Shiki-Shima train suite. There is also a lounge bar inside, where everyone can relax with a good drink. The patterns on the lounge walls evoke a peaceful forest. There is a wooden floor on the ground and a fireplace in the middle of the room. It is furnished with a variety of traditional crafts and art objects that have been passed down through generations in Japan. After a good meal, passengers can sit back with a glass of Japanese sake and enjoy live music at the piano bar.

inter- / Flickr

At the beginning and at the end of the train are so-called observation cars with a glass roof. Sun lovers can sunbathe in them during the day and watch the night sky and falling stars in the evening.

It takes two to four days to travel through this fairytale hotel on the rails. The train stops at various points of interest. People can look forward to the Nikkó Toshógú Shinto Shrine, Hirosaki Castle Estate, or Naruko Hot Springs. Every passenger also has to pay a high price for such luxury. The price for one starts at 5,000 euros.