Does anyone think that traveling on a luxury train is a rancid and old-time experience? If so, you are wrong, or simply have not heard of the exclusive Shiki-Shima train. A train that began to traverse the north of Japan last May 1st and since then its elegant silhouette is the true image of the avant-garde in rails. A train-hotel designed so that the experience of traveling and staying in it not only transports us into space, but also takes us to the future in the most comfortable and exquisite way possible.
The modernity of the Shiki-Shima train
We are used to relate the idea of a luxury train with the nineteenth-century decorations full of leather upholstery and velvet curtains; or with the ornamental spirit of art nouveau and its cabinetmaking inspired by organic lines. Good example of them would be those trains that we have in mind, like the mythical Orient Express or the Blue Train that crosses South Africa.
Even the luxury trains that have arisen in recent times have that retro air that, at first, fits with the word railroad. That would be the case of the train Nantsuboshi also born in Japan about three years ago and considered a Seven Star train. However, the Shiki-Shima is different. In it, everything is modern and no one can doubt that it is a means of transport of our time and designed for travelers of the XXI century.
A design with Ken Okuyama’s signature
Both the interior and exterior of this train has been designed by a large team of creative engineers leaded by Ken Okuyama, whose enormous prestige is based on his multiple works for the world of the engine. The Japanese Okuyama has designed cars for General Motors, Porsche, Maserati and in recent years for the brand of Cavallino Rampante, i.e., Ferrari.
And in all these cases, his work is reflected in modern lines, but above all in that he is able to integrate the elegance in any of the small details. A line of work that of course has taken to the Shiki-Shima, starting with its external appearance dominated by an intense champagne color that anticipates the sensations that await to its privileged travelers.
10 carriages and 34 passengers
Yes. Throughout 10 carriages only 34 travelers distributed in 17 suites. Among these suites, the largest of them all occupies an entire carriage and really looks like a moving duplex; while there are two that are for common use.
One of them is used as a dining room where you can taste the most refined flavors of the Japanese gastronomy. While the other one is an incredible glazed lookout, whose most emblematic element is the large continuous sofa that offers passengers the possibility to sit and get impressed by the landscapes that are found between the cities of Tohoky and Hokkaido, located along the northern coast of Japan, and that is the itinerary that follows the Shiki-Shima.
Three nights in a rolling hotel
The technological power of Japan has always had one of its maximum expressions in rail transport, since they were the ones who created the concept of “high speed” or the monorail. However, this time the East Japan Railway company has chosen to move on a different path: sensations. The goal has been to create a train where comfort is absolute. This is achieved by a unique mixture of modernity and tradition, since in a same space can coexist minimalist designs with elements such as a fireplace or the typical Japanese bath built with cypress wood.
In short, a bet of the most original and risky given the little capacity of the Shiki-Shima. However, for now, it has been a success, despite its high prices that can reach 8,000 euros for traveling in its main suite.
We hope that one of Horse’s readers can be one of those fortunate travelers on this Japanese train and will tell us his/her experience. Although this will not be able until at least the next year spring, since all Shiki-Shima places are reserved until April 2018 as indicated on the website of the East Japan Railway company where you have all the information about this luxurious train and where, of course, you can buy the tickets for your unique trip.