Japan's famous bullet trains are definitely fast, but they lack essential creature comforts like panoramic windows, full-length beds and a covered table dining cars. Luckily, the just-debuted super-luxurious Seven Stars train has all that — so long as you have $11,500 and a bored pal.
The elegant locomotive has premium digs like a 226-square-foot room in the Deluxe Suite A that features a glorious five-foot panoramic window to allow a full view of Japan's southern island of Kyushu from the back side of the train. The shiny, steampunk-esque train sports a glossy purple-gold exterior and clearly puts comfort over speed, but we're not complaining.
Each train cabin is decked out in intricate wood decor that is described as a "fusion of Western and Japanese design" with rounded, high paneled ceilings that give each room a homey feel, replete with end tables sporting retro-looking lamps, loveseats and plenty of floral pillows. On either side of the bedroom are modest twin-size beds with a window so you can enjoy the passing view as you pass out from all the pampering.
Passengers can unwind in the Seven Star's lounge car with live music, or indulge in seasonal Kyushu delicacies in its cushy dining car. The train also features shoji paper screens for privacy.
Already booked through next June, Seven Stars will begin its well-heeled trip through Kyushu starting on October 15 when it will depart from Hakata Station in Fukuoka. The train will wrap around Mount Aso, one of the world's largest volcanoes, and continue on to tourist-friendly spots like hot springs and the city of Kagoshima, which also boasts its own volcano, Mount Sakurajima.
One introductory offer had a four-day, three-night journey for two at $5,750 per night — a bargain compared to the regular pricing, which will start next July at $7,835 per person for double occupancy. Can anyone lend me some yen for my train ticket, please?