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Japan launches luxury Seven Stars train with $11,000 suite

This sightseeing service will wind its way through the southern island of Kyushu, stopping by huge volcanoes and relaxing hot springs.

Japan's Kyushu railway unveils the super-luxury Seven Stars train at its train yard in Kitakyushu in Fukuoka prefecture.
Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

Japanese trains are known for their punctuality, speed, and safety, especially when it comes to bullet trains. Comfort and convenience, yes. Luxury, not so much.

But regional railway JR Kyushu has launched a deluxe passenger service where a ticket for two can cost as much as $11,500.

The seven-car Seven Stars is a "cruise train" that will shuttle around the volcanic southern island of Kyushu starting October 15 while pampering its passengers.

A highlight of the all-suite service is the end car's Deluxe Suite A, a 226-square-foot room that boasts a 5-foot panoramic window overlooking the track behind the train.

Seven Stars train
This Seven Stars design illustration by Eiji Mitooka shows the last car's interior and large panoramic window. JR Kyushu

Its appointments are comfortable, though perhaps not extravagant. However, when booked for two people for a four-day, three-night journey, the suite costs about $5,750 per person. It's already fully booked through next June.

That's only an introductory offer. From July, the price will go up to about $7,835 per person for double occupancy.

Conceived by industrial designer Eiji Mitooka, Seven Stars is aimed at being on par with deluxe rail services such as India's Maharajas' Express and Singapore's Eastern & Oriental Express.

It has been laid out as a fusion of Western and Japanese design, with shoji paper screens, rotating chairs, a lounge car with live music, and seasonal Kyushu delicacies in the dining car. Its polished exterior is done in purple-gold livery.

Departing from Hakata Station in the port of Fukuoka, Seven Stars will meander through the rolling Kyushu hills, passing Mt. Aso, one of the world's largest volcanoes, to tourist spots such as the hot springs of Yufuin and Kirishima, and on to the southern port city of Kagoshima (home to another volcano, Sakurajima) before returning to Hakata.

Have a look inside the train's lounge and Deluxe Suite A in the brief vid below. Would you book the latter?