Just when I thought Japanese trains couldn’t get any better in terms of performance, aesthetics and punctuality; I find out that Ken Okuyama, a top designer for Porsche AG and design director for Pininfarina, the company behind the Ferrari Enzo and Maserati Quattroporte has been commissioned to work with Japans railway company JR East to design a super luxury, sleeper cruise train…awesome!
JR East which operates on Japan’s main island announced on their website, that the ‘super cruise train’ will begin carrying passengers across Japan as early as Spring of 2017.
Unlike the world renowned Bullet Train (known as the ‘Super Express’ in English language announcements and signage within Japan) the new luxury cruise train will be able to travel on both electric and non-electric rails which may imply more freedom to reign Japan’s rail network.
Ken Okuyama’s design firm wanted to create a train that would allow passengers “to appreciate the flow of the time and space,” (whilst immersing passengers in Japan’s serine landscapes and hospitable culture). This statement to me sounds like the perfect mix of futuristic concepts infused with traditional norms, something that Japan does exceptionally well.
Take a look at the official concept pictures below.
All living compartments will have private ensuite bathrooms; on the bottom are two beds, and on the top a traditional Japanese dining area, with contemporary floor seats giving them a traditional feel.
Another unique feature is the two observation carriages at the front and at the rear of the train, allowing passengers to experience unrestricted panoramic views.
In their press release [PDF], JR East says the train will be fitted with furniture that conveys the nobility of traditional Japanese culture. In this lounge picture we can see curvy designs on natural wood, most likely inspired by trees.
This all sounds really awesome however with the maximum capacity of 34 passengers, it’s most likely to be an exclusive service reserved for VIP’s. I wonder if the JR pass will cover this…hmmm… you never know!