Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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World’s Most Luxurious Train, and Most Expensive Train Ride, Opens in Japan


(Photo : JR East) The interior of a Shiki-shima coach.


(Photo : JR East) Shiki-shima dining car.

The world's most luxurious train commanding the world's most expensive ticket prices began commercial operations in Japan on May 1, and has proven so popular despite its fantastically expensive prices that bookings have been sold out until March 2018.

This boutique hotel on rails is called "Train Suite Shiki-shima" and is operated by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). Shiki-shima means "Island of Four Seasons."

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Consisting of 10 luxury coaches, this specially built deluxe excursion train consists of six sleeping cars; a lounge car; a dining car and observation cars at either end of the train.

Five of the sleeping cars each have three private suite rooms. One car (car 7) has two deluxe suites; a split-level "maisonette" type and a single-level "flat" type.

All suites have a shower and toilet. The two deluxe suites each have a bathtub. The entire train accommodates only 34 passengers. Service on board is by uniformed butlers.

And those lucky 34 will pay a princely ransom for the privilege to ride this palatial train, whose interiors were designed by the world famous Japanese designer Ken Okuyama, who designed for Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati.

Train Suite Shiki-shima (technically described as the E001 series) operates on two-day and four-day circular tours from spring to autumn, and on three-day tours during the winter period.

A ticket costs from $2,860 to $10,000, depending on the itinerary. Tickets for the inaugural run were immediately sold out and the lucky passengers were chosen via a lottery.

A new platform has been built at Tokyo's Ueno Station for Train Suite Shiki-shima's exclusive use.

Day One of the two-day itinerary for spring and autumn will see Shiki-shima leave Ueno for Enzan Station in the city of Kōshū in Yamanashi Prefecture northwest of Tokyo.

The train will then proceed to Obasute Station in the city of Chikuma in Nagano Prefecture. Guests will spend the night aboard the train.

On Day 2, Shiki-shima will proceed to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station in Fukushima Prefecture north of Tokyo and then return to Ueno.

The four-day itinerary for spring and autumn and the three-day itinerary for winter will take the train to different stations of JR East.

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