• Kyodo

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West Japan Railway Co. is considering running luxury sleeper cars for trips of several days covering Kyoto, Hiroshima and other places in the region in fiscal 2017, a top JR West official said.

In an interview, President Seiji Manabe said he is considering pricing these trips lower than those offered by JR Kyushu on its Seven Stars cruise train service, which is set to begin operations in October.

JR West is following JR Kyushu and JR East in starting luxury train services. JR East said last month it is planning to launch its cruise train in spring 2016.

Manabe said he would like “active senior citizens” to use the service. Trips would be offered in two nights, three days or three nights, four days, and would take travelers to the World Heritage site Iwami Ginzan silver mine in Shimane Prefecture and the Itsukushima Shinto shrine in Hiroshima Prefecture, which is known for its iconic offshore “floating” gate.

JR Kyushu’s Seven Star services, which are also targeted at wealthy consumers in other parts of Asia, costs as much as ¥566,000 per person for a couple. JR West is eyeing a price range of ¥100,000 to ¥300,000.

JR West is planning luxury interior designs, observation decks on the front and last cars and a dining car with seafood and vegetables from local producers. Manabe said: “We would like to capitalize on the best those communities can offer.”

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