Twilight Express Mizukaze トワイライトエクスプレス 瑞風
Later this month (June 2017) a new super luxury train enters service in Japan. Operated by JR West Japan, the Twilight Express Mizukaze is an excursion train that operates between Kyoto-Osaka and Shimonoseki at the western tip of Honshu in Yamaguchi.
The tour returning stops at Iwakuni and Kurashiki. The 2-day 1-night tour along the Japan Sea coast on the San-in Line stops at Kinosaki Onsen and Hagi on its way from Kyoto to Shimonoseki, with the return tour stopping at Izumo and Tottori. The circular tour starts from and returns to Kyoto, this 3-day 2-night trip stops at Okayama, Matsue, and Higashihama.
The train itself is a hybrid diesel allowing it to run on the unelectrified San-in Line, and consists of ten cars carrying a maximum of only 30 passengers.
It was designed by industrial designer Tetsuo Fukuda whose other train designs include the Sunrise Seto, Sunrise Izumo, and the N700 Series Shinkansen.
The interior was designed by Kazuya Ura whose experience is in designing luxury hotels, as the train really is a hotel on rails. The two end cars are observation cars, both with an exterior viewing platform.
The dining car and kitchen serve meals designed by some of Japan's top chefs, and the lounge car has a well-stocked bar. Four of the sleeping cars have three twin rooms each, all en-suite of course.
One car has a couple of single rooms as well as a twin room, and one car is completely taken up by the most expensive option, a suite.
If you need to ask about the cost then chances are you probably can't afford it, with prices starting at about $2,500 for a twin room for the one night tour, and a whopping $6,700 for the suite. But the question is moot as for this first season the applications for tickets were over-subscribed by a factor of seven.