Wise travelers know that traveling is not just about the destination; getting there is half the fun. The significance of the journey itself is embodied in Japan’s Seven Stars luxury sleeper train, based in the island of Kyushu, Japan. This cruise train is meant to bring new life to train travel, to make the travel itself the integral part of a Kyushu vacation.
The Seven Stars cruise train, also known as Nanatsuboshi in Kyushu, gets its name both from the seven prefectures of Kyushu, and also from the seven lauded aspects of the region. These include the train system itself, nature, the hot springs, power spots, the region’s history, its cuisine, and the friendliness of Kyushu’s people.
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Cruise train accommodations
The Seven Stars Kyushu strives to bridge the future of rail travel with its most illustrious past. The plush, classic décor harkens back to bygone days, while the technological advancements and large, picturesque viewing windows push the comfort of travel by train to new heights. Each of its cars was designed to meet its passengers’ needs and exceed their expectations.
Passengers can choose from 1 of 12 standard suites or 1 of 2 deluxe suites. Each suite features a sleeping area, sitting area, and a private bathroom consisting of a shower and toilet facilities. The suite nearest the dining and lounge cars is equipped to accommodate passengers with reduced mobility and is wheelchair accessible. The deluxe suites, located on the end carriages, can accommodate up to 3 persons each. These suites feature a sleeping area, lounge, and private bathroom. Deluxe Suite A has the additional advantage of a rear window across the width of the train car. This allows for a unique angle of scenic viewing from the comfort of a private room.
The chefs and stewards of the Jupiter Dining Car pride themselves on friendly and outstanding service. The entrees served reflect the nature and culture of the island of Kyushu, with ingredients reaped from its countryside and its seas. Most noteworthy, the Blue Moon Lounge Car offers an attended bar service both day and night. Daytime sightseeing from its vast windows is complemented by a grand piano and live musical entertainment in the evenings.
Seven Stars Kyushu itineraries and prices
The Seven Stars offers a 4 day/3 night trip as well as 2 day/1 night circuit aboard Japan’s finest luxury train. Many meals are taken on the train, but travelers will also have the option of experiencing the area’s unique eateries. Passengers will enjoy onboard activities such as tea time, as well as scenic views of rural areas and the South China Sea.
The longer trip tours the entire island of Kyushu with stops in 5 prefectures. Visitors desiring a relaxing visit to an onsen, or hot springs, scenic volcanoes, and Kyushu’s principle cities will enjoy this trip. Excursions include a ferry sea cruise, sightseeing in Yufuin, Mimitsu, and Miyazaki, and an overnight stay at a hot springs resort in Kirishima. Fairs for this tour on the Seven Stars in Kyushu start at a price of ¥630,000 per person (approximately $5,400 USD).
The two-day journey on the JR East luxury train tours 4 prefectures of northern Kyushu. This trip includes features a scenic trip around Fukuoka, Oita, and Japan’s largest active volcano, Mount Aso. You will also experience a night time tour of Nagasaki, and a sightseeing tour in Yufuin. Travelers can also visit the Arita porcelain kiln, and learn about the area’s 400-year heritage in pottery. Fairs for the two-day tour start at ¥300,000 per person (approximately $2,550 USD).
Other first class travel options
The Seven Stars in Kyushu is generally booked months in advance. Even if you cannot travel on Japan’s cruise train during your visit to Kyushu, you can still travel in style, using your JR Green Pass to access first class cars. Map your own itinerary to see the sights of Kyushu while you enjoy the green car’s ample space, sip on a hot or cold drink, and enjoy the scenery through large windows.
Besides, green cars may also offer hot or cold oshibori towels, snacks, individual radios, and magazines. Green cars are marked by a green clover emblem near the entry doors, so you will easily be able to find your accommodations when you return from touring the amazing sights Kyushu has to offer.
No matter which travel options you choose, the island of Kyushu is a must-see destination in Japan. Seeing Kyushu by rail is an unforgettable experience of natural beauty, delicious dining, and luxurious accommodations.