If you love a scenic train ride, you might want to book your next trip to Asia. Known for the efficiency and luxury of its rail service, Japan has taken things to the next level. Private rail companies continue to operate in Japan, so they are constantly bettering the quality of their services—particularly when it comes to tourist trains. Now, one company is expanding its offerings to help more travelers experience the beauty of Hokkaido.
Japan's northernmost island is known for its rugged landscape filled with volcanoes and hot springs, but there are many areas that are difficult to reach. Thanks to the Royal Express, a luxury tourist train run by Tokyu Dentetsu, more travelers will ride in style while taking in the landscape. The Royal Express already runs a route between Yokohama and the coastal town of Shimoda and the Hokkaido route is set to begin in 2020.
The design of the eight-car trains is what really sets Royal Express apart. Designed by Mito Oka, an industrial designer who works with several rail companies, the warm interiors show an attention to detail and craftsmanship that creates a homey atmosphere. From the stunning textiles used to upholster the spacious seating to the Japanese kumiko-style wooden latticework that dominates the design, each railcar is a masterpiece.
Sitting in platinum class even affords travelers the chance to listen to a pianist and violinist while enjoying their meals. There's also a train car specifically designed for families, which includes a picture book library and a ball pit. (To one-up the design factor, the pit has wooden balls rather than traditional plastic.) The seating has also been set at a height to maximize children's views of the scenery, which they can enjoy from extra large benches.
There's even room for events on the train, with one multi-purpose car dedicated to hosting everything from wedding ceremonies to art exhibitions. Royal Express's limited run in Hokkaido was made possible thanks to a collaboration between Tokyu Dentetsu and JR Railways Hokkaido. The route will move from Sapporo to east Hokkaido, running four days a week for one month sometime between May and August 2020.
The Royal Express is a luxury tourist train that is coming to Hokkaido for a limited run in 2020.
The luxurious interiors are a nod at traditional Japanese design.
Diners can listen to a pianist and violinist while enjoying their meals.
There's even a special car designated for families, with seats positioned at the perfect height for little ones to enjoy the view.
One car can be rented out for special occasions such as art exhibitions and weddings.
Royal Express: Website