Luxury Japanese Shiki-Shima Sleeper Train is Out of this World

Photo of Alex Jordan
Travel Expert1 August 2017

When images of the Shiki-Shima sleeper train leaked earlier this year, they sent shockwaves throughout the design world. The 10-carriage state-of-the-art train is unlike anything you’ve seen, mixing traditional Japanese design with contemporary luxury.

The Shiki-Shima is a luxury hotel on tracks with enough bling to rival the most expensive suites around the world. After a lot of hype it’s finally left the builder’s yard and begun making taking trips across Japan’s East coast.

Fine dining car | Courtesy of JR East

Shiki-Shima has six luxury suites, two observatory cars (carriages), a lounge and dining car with floor-to-ceiling windows. The design is carefully considered to give guests the best possible views of the incredible Japanese countryside.

‘Kizashi’ viewing terrace | Courtesy of JR East

The lounge, for example, is based on ‘komorebi‘, a Japanese word for the sunlight that peeks through trees in a forest. Its windows are shaped like the intricate patterns created by overlapping branches.

The Shiki-Shima is a great way to experience Japan's seasonal landscapes | Courtesy of JR East

The viewing lounge is inspired by ‘kizashi‘, the Japanese for ‘premonition’, and resembles a futuristic waiting lounge, bathed in light with ergonomic white upholstery. The connection to nature is reinforced with green moss-like carpeting, offsetting the otherwise monochromatic interior.

Seasonal cuisine | Courtesy of JR East

The on-board menu features fresh, seasonal recipes from chefs Katsuhiro Makamura and Hitoshi Iwasaki, whose illustrious careers include cooking for delegates at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in 2008.

Shiki-Shima is currently taking reservations for April to June 2018. For more information visit

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