From Spa to Sushi: 6 Unique Sightseeing Trains in Japan

Whether you’re an art aficionado, a sake lover, or a sushi connoisseur, there’s a train you’re bound to love.

Photo: JReast

1. Genbi Shinkansen

Perfect for art lovers, the Genbi Shinkansen has been designed for the appreciation of modern art. The train features art pieces exclusively created by prominent local artists, a café that serves Tsubame Coffee, a popular beverage from Tsubame-Sanjo (a location two hours from Japan), as well as desserts crafted from carefully selected local ingredients. The little ones won’t miss out either, as there’s a playroom where they can interact with educational artworks.

More information here.

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2. Toreiyu Tsubasa

Toreiyu is a portmanteau of the Japanese pronunciations for the English word “train” (torein) and the French word “soleil” (soreiyu) meaning sun. Unusual name aside, this train is the first-ever Shinkansen to be installed with a relaxing foot bath, making it a wonderful treat for passengers traveling in wintertime. While soaking your worries away, don’t forget to enjoy locally brewed Yamagata sake, wine, and juice.

More information here.

Photo: JReast

3. Koshino Shu*Kura

Taking inspiration from the famed sake of the Niigata Prefecture, the Koshino Shu*Kura offers a joy ride complete with carefully selected Niigata sakes and excellent snacks made from local ingredients. While sipping on fine sake, passengers will also be entertained by jazz and classical music performances as they admire views of the region’s lush mountains and the majestic Sea of Japan. There are three scenic routes in total to choose from.

More information here.

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4. Pokémon With You

First launched in 2012 as part of a disaster relief project for the tsunami-damaged Tohoku region, the Pokémon With You train comes with bright and cheery carriages decked out with the adorable mascot from the Pokémon anime. Since its recent makeover, the train has been covered with even more images of the mascot, with the front corners of the lead car sporting rosy cheeks. Apart from bright yellow seats, striking red Poké balls also adorn the corner of the box seats.

More information here.

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5. Belles Montagnes et Mer

In a bid to promote the northwestern part of Japan, the Belles Montagnes et Mer was launched. Fondly referred to as Belles Monta, this retro train features carriages with windows set into picture frames that resemble picture frames and hanging straps crafted to mimic the copperware from Takaoka, a city known for its manufacturing legacy. Its biggest highlight is the sushi bar at the end of the train, where a chef works to turn fresh seafood from Toyama Bay into delectable dishes.

More information here.

Photo: JReast

6. FruiTea Fukushima

Like its name suggests, FruiTea Fukushima is basically a traveling café on wheels, serving delightful desserts and beverages made from local Fukishima fruit. The region, renowned for its orchards, produces all sorts of prized fruits including apples, Asian pears, peaches, and grapes. Passengers can look forward to enjoying fresh fruits, pastries, and more, as they enjoy the scenery.

More information here.

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