• Kyodo


West Japan Railway Co. launched its latest tourist draw Saturday, a 10-coach luxury sleeper train called a “hotel on wheels.”

Since February, when the plan was announced, the Twilight Express Mizukaze has proven popular even months before services began in western Japan.

On Saturday morning, the first train departed Osaka Station as JR West officials and railroad fans celebrated the launch.

The express “has a new mission to carry the charm of local communities it runs through,” JR West executive Hiroshi Muro told a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We hope the train will be loved by many people.”

Ayaka Kobayashi, 39, was using it to celebreate her honeymoon.

“I’m glad to have a chance to ride on this historic train,” she said.

The train accommodates only 34 passengers in 16 rooms. A one-night tour with a room for two costs between ¥250,000 and ¥1.25 million ($2,250 and $11,300), with suites starting from ¥750,000.

The Mizukaze runs from Kyoto and Osaka to Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture and returns via the Sea of Japan coastline, offering passengers a one- or two-night tour and chances to get off and see the sites along the way.

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