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JR East takes the wraps off new luxury train

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

East Japan Railway Co. has unveiled the designs for a luxury train that’s scheduled to roll into operation around spring 2017.

The exterior design of the lead car features a modern look, with big windows that will allow passengers a dynamic viewing range.

The 10-car train will boast a chic lounge and dining area, along with two deluxe suites and 15 standard suites.

“A purpose of (the train) is to provide luxury” while people enjoy the natural beauty and local food in JR East’s operating area, spokesman Takumi Honma said.

JR East already runs night trains such as the Cassiopeia and the Hokutosei, which have sleeper units and restaurant cars. But this is the first time the railway will feature a luxury overnight train.

JR East said it has yet to decide where the train will run. But it will likely stick to the Kanto region to start with, and before eventually expanding into other areas.

JR Kyushu launched a luxury train called the Seven Stars last year. The price for a four-day trip starts at ¥700,000.

Meanwhile, JR West plans to launch a luxury train of its own in 2017.

Push for Tohoku tourism

JIJI

East Japan Railway Co. and Japan Airlines will collaborate through a Taiwanese travel agency to attract foreign tourists to the Tohoku region.

Next month, JR East will acquire a 49 percent stake in Creative Travel (Taiwan) Ltd., which is fully owned by JAL.

The Taipei-based company will become a “foothold for attracting foreign tourists to the Tohoku region,” JR East President Tetsuro Tomita told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.

“Most foreign tourists visit the Tokyo metropolitan area, Mount Fuji, the Hakone hot spring resort area and the western cities of Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. But only 2 percent of them go to Tohoku,” Tomita said.

JR East and JAL plan to jointly develop Tohoku tour packages for foreign tourists and will aim to bring in tourists not only from Taiwan but also Southeast Asia, he said.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Right, let’s discuss the elephant in the room about these “Tohoku Tour” packages. Wanting people to visit does not equate with getting them to. Imagine Brad suggesting to his wife in downtown LA about where the family should take their summer holiday.
    Brad: I thought we’d go to Tohoku this year.
    Cindy: Tohoku – I have never heard of that – what is it famous for?
    Brad: well, it had the world 4th largest earthquake, and an enormous tsunami that killed thousands
    Cindy: is that all?
    Brad: oh no, it also has not 1 but 4 nuclear reactors in a state of uncontrolled meltdown and massive radiation contamination in the countryside.
    Cindy: fantastic – should mean I get a good suntan! How are the beaches and the sea?
    Brad: it glows green at night – no one knows why!
    Cindy: oooo wonderful – and the food?
    Brad: all local produce comes with the local delicacy, a topping of Strontium 197!
    Cindy: I can’t wait – how long does the offer last?
    Brad: well in order to get the free Strontium 197, we need to book in the next 40,000 years.

    There is reason foreigners do not visit Tohoku…. Contaminate your countryside and no amount of “yokoso Japan” posters will persuade people otherwise!