Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Japan's new luxury train: Train Suite Shiki-shima, a luxury new sleeper train operated by East Japan Railway (JR East), launched Monday. Although ticket prices start at 500,000 yen ($4,451) for a double-occupancy suite, the service is already sold out until March 2018.
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Cruising through eastern Japan: The 10-car train -- pictured here on a training run in Inawashiro -- provides spacious accommodation for just 34 passengers, on two-day and four-day itineraries around eastern Japan.
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Observatory car: Plush-carpeted observatory cars at the front and rear of the train offer uninterrupted views of the Japanese countryside.
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

The lounge: The train is designed by Ken Okuyama, best known for his work with Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati. JR East says the decoration of the lounge evokes "a quiet forest."
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Piano bar: And if a forest theme isn't relaxing enough, there's also an on-board piano player. Shiki-shima even has its own signature tune, "Train Suite."
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

The suites: The train holds 17 suites. The most expensive, the Shiki-shima suite, costs 1,050,000 yen for single occupancy ($9,338).

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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Not your average train bathroom: As well as swanky amenities like this bathroom, some of the suites are split-level, with two beds and a living area.
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Old and new: JR East says on its website that the design of the suites combines "traditional Japanese aesthetics with a futuristic spirit."
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Departure: A Harry Potter-style Platform 13 1/2 has been built for the train's exclusive use at Tokyo's Ueno Station, between Platforms 13 and 14.
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Warm reception: The new train service has been so popular, would-be travelers have to apply for tickets, with the lucky few being selected by lottery.
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Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Japan's new luxury train: Train Suite Shiki-shima, a luxury new sleeper train operated by East Japan Railway (JR East), launched Monday. Although ticket prices start at 500,000 yen ($4,451) for a double-occupancy suite, the service is already sold out until March 2018.
Hide Caption
1 of 10





Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Cruising through eastern Japan: The 10-car train -- pictured here on a training run in Inawashiro -- provides spacious accommodation for just 34 passengers, on two-day and four-day itineraries around eastern Japan.
Hide Caption
2 of 10





Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Observatory car: Plush-carpeted observatory cars at the front and rear of the train offer uninterrupted views of the Japanese countryside.
Hide Caption
3 of 10





Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

The lounge: The train is designed by Ken Okuyama, best known for his work with Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati. JR East says the decoration of the lounge evokes "a quiet forest."
Hide Caption
4 of 10





Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

Piano bar: And if a forest theme isn't relaxing enough, there's also an on-board piano player. Shiki-shima even has its own signature tune, "Train Suite."
Hide Caption
5 of 10





Photos: Japan launches new luxury train service

The suites: The train holds 17 suites. The most expensive, the Shiki-shima suite, costs 1,050,000 yen for single occupancy ($9,338).

Hide Caption
6 of 10

















(CNN)Japan's Golden Week began Saturday -- but the golden ticket everyone wants is a ride on the country's new luxury Train Suite Shiki-Shima.

Fares on the deluxe 10-car train range between $2,200 and $10,000 but, with the service launching by East Japan Railway (JR East) just days ago, it's already sold out through to March 2018.
Available for two- to four-day itineraries around eastern Japan, the experience is closer to a boutique hotel on wheels than a routine shlep on a commuter train.
The train is designed by Ken Okuyama, celebrated for his work with Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati.
He's brought that sleek style to two glass-walled observatory cars that bookend the train, offering uninterrupted views of eastern Japan's forests, fields and coastline.
The lounge has its own piano bar and, to aid relaxation even more, walls and windows have been designed to evoke "a quiet forest."

Shiki Shima even has its own signature tune, "Train Suite."
Shiki-shima's swish interiors are by Japanese designer Ken Okuyama.




The dining car menu is devised by Michelin-starred chef Katsuhiro Nakamura and changes to reflect the ingredients and culinary style of the regions through which the train is passing.
And then, of course, there are the 17 private suites.
The most luxurious -- split-level, with two beds, a living room and a bath tub -- are more capacious than a lot of Tokyo apartments.

11 of the world's most luxurious train journeys


All, JR East says on its website, combine "traditional Japanese aesthetics with a futuristic spirit."
As befits a price tag that starts at 500,000 yen for a double-occupany suite ($4,451), boarding the train is pretty magical too.
A new Harry Potter-style Platform 13 1/2 has been built at Tokyo's Ueno Station for Train Suite Shiki-Shima's exclusive use -- although this seems to be the only time JR East has done things by halves with its new luxury service.
Due to the popularity of the new service, those who want a ticket to ride need to fill out an application rather than simply purchase a fare. The lucky few are then selected by lottery.
NHK World reports that only one out of every 76 applicants was able to get a place on the train's first trip this week.

Things are a bit out of hand for the poor nowadays,