If you were to think about luxury train travel, chances are you would conjure up images of the Orient Express, quaint trips through Europe, or the epic expanse of the Trans-Siberian Railway systems. While these are all certainly bucket-list candidates, if you really want to experience the world’s most luxurious train, you would have to start in Kyushu, Japan.
Having made its first run in 2013, the Seven Stars Cruise Train is regarded as the most luxurious experience in the world, and is certainly one of the most unique. The demand for tickets is so high that prospective passengers have to be placed into a lottery-type system in order to have the privilege of actually buying a ticket, and just getting picked is like claiming a generous casino bonus. If you are lucky enough to be able to purchase tickets, the average cost of a 4-day trip is around 675 000 Yen for a standard suite. It has to be said though, that standard here means all-out luxury.
All Aboard The Seven Stars Kyushu
The Seven Stars gets its name from the 7 most important aspects of Kyushu Island and gives travellers a chance to experience the breath-taking countryside and the culture on carefully crafted itineraries.
But before we go in to the itineraries, we want to talk a bit about the train itself. From the exterior, there isn’t much to define the luxurious world that lies within, aside from a few gold-laced letters. Step on board however, and you will be transported to a magical world of luxury and aesthetic design. Every part of the interior has been hand-crafted and designed to dazzle and delight. From the carpets to wooden furnishings, the lighting and even the hand-basins are all bespoke pieces that represent the Japanese Island. No attention to detail has been spared, and opulence and understated extravagance are in evidence everywhere.
Impressive Standard and Deluxe Suites
The Seven Stars features a large lounge car with panoramic views, soft leather sofas and a full bar service. During the day it is a place to enjoy the scenery, and at night it is a social hub. The dining car is equally impressive, with ornate tables that are perfectly positioned for privacy and the best views. The service is impeccable and it goes without saying that the cuisine is world-class.
In total there are 12 exclusive suites, each with their own sitting area and bathroom. The arrangement is such that there are only 3 rooms per carriage to maximise privacy. At the far end are the 2 highly sought-after deluxe suites, which feature a large open-plan lounge and private bathroom, as well as panoramic windows.
The train may be the main feature, but it is the entire experience that you are paying for. There are currently 2 travel options or itineraries to choose from. The first is a 2 day / 2 night journey that takes you on a round-trip through the northern regions of Kyushu island. This is ideal for travellers who want to see the most interesting sites available and interact with the island. Starting in Fukuoka, the train makes it way slowly through Oita, and then on to Nagasaki and Kumamoto.
If you want a more immersive experience, you can opt for the longer 4 day / 3 night trip, which is designed to highlight all the best sites and experiences Kyushu has to offer. This includes traveling through Fukuoka, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Kumamoto, combining all the key sites. It is on this journey that you stay in an authentic Ryokan in Yufuin Onsen and really discover the island and all its secrets – in style of course!