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Cool Japan / JR Kyushu targets the rich with luxury sleeper train

An artist's rendition of the exterior of Kyushu Railway Co.'s "Seven Stars in Kyushu" luxury sleeper cruise train (Provided by Kyushu Railway Co.)
(An artist's rendition of the exterior of Kyushu Railway Co.'s "Seven Stars in Kyushu" luxury sleeper cruise train)

FUKUOKA--In a nod to a more luxurious time, Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) will operate a deluxe sleeper cruise train that makes the rounds of key tourist spots on the southwestern island, targeting railway fans and the wealthy in Japan and the rest of Asia.
While ticket prices will range between 150,000 yen ($1,900) and 550,000 yen per head, JR Kyushu is expecting an occupancy rate of 90 percent.
An artist's rendition of the exterior of Kyushu Railway Co.'s "Seven Stars in Kyushu" luxury sleeper cruise train (Provided by Kyushu Railway Co.)
(An artist's rendition of an observation car at the rear end of "Seven Stars in Kyushu")

The "Seven Stars in Kyushu" train will start operating in October next year with two trip options--a one-night, two-day plan and a three-night, four-day plan--both starting from and ending at Hakata Station in Fukuoka, company officials said May 28. Tickets will be available from October this year.
An artist's rendition of the exterior of Kyushu Railway Co.'s "Seven Stars in Kyushu" luxury sleeper cruise train (Provided by Kyushu Railway Co.)
(The interior of a lounge in the "Seven Stars in Kyushu" train)

"Consumers have polarized into a downmarket trend and an upmarket trend," JR Kyushu President Koji Karaike told a news conference. "There is a good chance of making profits if we provide excellent service."

JR Kyushu will spend about 3 billion yen to manufacture the engine car and the seven passenger cars of the Seven Stars train.
An artist's rendition of the exterior of Kyushu Railway Co.'s "Seven Stars in Kyushu" luxury sleeper cruise train (Provided by Kyushu Railway Co.)

The design of the cars was done by Eiji Mitooka, an industrial designer who also designed the "Tsubame" Kyushu Shinkansen trains. The underlying concept calls for a mix of Japanese and Western influences, with the reddish color on the outside being a reference to "ancient lacquer." ...
Check the full story via AJW: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201205300005

By TS on Jun 9, 2012
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