We reported the launch of Japan Railway East’s most expensive Train Suite Shiki-Shima tours on AlphaLuxe recently.
Just a month later, JR West has matched it’s eastern rival.
17th June 2017
OSAKA – Japan Railway West launched its 10-coach luxury sleeper train Twilight Express Mizukaze as a “hotel on wheels.”
Demand for reservations on the inaugural journey has been high since it was announced in February. The first train departed Osaka Station as JR West officials and railroad fans celebrated the launch. Only 34 lucky passengers could hope for a ticket on the inaugural tour, which was decided by lottery from the applications. One of them celebrated her honeymoon on the train.
“The express has a new mission to carry the charm of local communities it runs through,” JR West executive Hiroshi Muro said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We hope the train will be loved by many people.”
The Series-87 hybrid diesel (DMU) train accommodates only 34 passengers in 16 rooms. Single and twin rooms will also be available, with only one Suite on the train.
A one-night journey costs between ¥270,000 ($2,400) and ¥780,000 ($7,000) per passenger depending on accommodation.
Exquisite meals are served in the dining car, of course.
For a three-day tour, fees start at ¥500,000 ($2,250) with the highest per-passenger fee of ¥1.25 million ($11,300) to be charged for the train’s only suite, which has a two-person capacity.
The Mizukaze runs from Kyoto and Osaka to Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture and returns via the Sea of Japan coastline, offering passengers a one- or two-night tour and opportunities to get off and sightsee along the way.
JR West used to run a Twilight Express sleeper service between 1989 and 2016.
The new train revives the name but provides more luxurious excursions in Keihanshin, Sanin, and Sanyo regions of western Japan.
West Japan Railway Co.’s Twilight Express Mizukaze
At the moment, tickets are only available for sale in Japan and the English language website for JR West does not allow online purchase. The train service is also currently in Japanese language but that is also the case for all train services in Japan.
All information signs in Japan are bilingual with enough English notes for the intrepid traveller. Things have changed a lot since the football FIFA World Cup 2002 in Japan; the country is now geared for mass tourism. With the 2020 Olympics approaching, Japan is again preparing for global visitors.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).