Some trips involve a good deal of advance planning. A trip on the Seven Stars, Japan’s first luxury sleeper train, requires planning and luck. To book one of the 14 suites on the train, would-be riders must enter a lottery months in advance.
Applications are already closed for trips between October 2018 and February 2019. The train travels through the island of Kyushu, which is the part of Japan closest to the continental mainland. Kyushu is known for its hot springs and is home to volcanic peaks, beaches, and the cities of Fukuoka and Nagasaki.
The interior of a room inside of the ultra-luxurious Seven Stars train.
The train’s seven cars feature interiors by Eiji Mitooka, who combined traditional Japanese motifs and Western design elements.
Mitooka incorporated rich wood paneling, luxe fabrics, and beautifully carved screens throughout the spaces, including the train’s two deluxe suites, each of which has a unique design and can accommodate three guests. Passengers enjoy seasonal cuisine in the Jupiter dining car and can imbibe cocktails while listening to live music in the Blue Moon lounge car, which offers panoramic views of the landscape ahead from the front bay window.
A view of the interior of the train looking out the back window.
Trips on the Seven Stars range from two days, one night to four days, three nights for regular journeys, while the premium journeys can last up to six days, five nights. The premium journeys include tour guides and explore different aspects of the island from music to wine making.
A sink in one of the rooms of the train.
All journeys have have a maximum of 30 passengers, and some include accommodations at unique hotels along the route, giving guests a break from the train and a chance to explore the region up close. Prices start at $2,900 per person for a two-day, one-night trip.