• Kyodo


Kyushu Railway Co. on Friday unveiled the ¥3 billion Seven Star luxury sleeper train ahead of its inaugural run on Oct. 15.

The event, held at a rolling stock factory in Kitakyushu, followed the signing a day earlier of a charter service contract with a Hong Kong travel company, the first overseas client for the new train, which boasts stylized interior pieces and furnishings.

JR Kyushu allowed the media to see the first three of the seven cars of what it calls the nation’s first cruise train. It will depart from, and terminate at, Hakata Station in Fukuoka, taking passengers through scenic spots in Kyushu as part of a one-night, two-day package, or a three-night, four-day package.

The first car is a lounge equipped with sofas and a bar. The second is for dining. A total of 14 compartments are in cars three to seven, all equipped with a private shower and restroom.

The most expensive package, the four-day DX Suite A, can cost up to ¥1.13 million for two people per room. Reservations through JR Kyushu have been fully booked through June.

On Thursday, Hong Kong’s EGL Tours Co., a major provider of tours to Japan, bought a one-night, two-day service departing Aug. 2 good for up to 28 people. EGL Tours is planning to sell it in Hong Kong as part of a five-day tour package.

At a signing ceremony, JR Kyushu President Koji Karaike said he was ready to welcome foreign travelers.

“We want to expand our business with a view that the entire world is a potential customer,” he said.

EGL Tours Managing Director En San Yuen said the new train will help introduce the island to tourists.

“Seven Star is a symbol of Kyushu, where people can fully enjoy nature and gourmet food, and its ambiance in Japanese taste is extraordinary. It will offer traditional Japanese services that we seek,” he said.

Tickets for the Seven Star train can be purchased from JR Kyushu or travel agencies. Karaike said JR Kyushu is in talks with several overseas travel companies and hopes half of the passengers will come from abroad in two to three years.

Also on Thursday, JR Kyushu opened a drawing for those hoping to reserve seats for trips from April to June next year. A total of 1,398 applications were submitted for 156 rooms supplied for 13 train runs.

The highly popular DX Suite A option for April 5, priced at about ¥450,000 for two, went to a 60-year-old man in Okayama Prefecture.

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