An illustration of the exterior design of Aru Ressha (Photo: JR Kyushu)
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Have Dessert on a Luxury Train

Enjoy delicious desserts on the legendary "Aru Ressha"

A train that could only be dreamed of will finally operate in real life, as the JR Kyushu Sweet Train "Aru Ressha," which will start running from August 8th, is sure to make train fanatics drool — and for more than just one reason.

In addition to the train being restored for the first time in 110 years and its extravagant design, Aru Ressha will be serving a course meal with delicious desserts. Aru Ressha (或る列車), which literally translates to "a certain train" in English, will operate two routes: between Oita and Hita, and between Sasebo and Nagasaki.

The train had achieved folklore status due to its history: in 1906, Kyushu Railway ordered a luxury passenger train from the J. G. Brill Company, the largest manufacturer of rail transport cars in the United States. However, Kyushu Railways was nationalized immediately afterwards in 1908; thus, the most luxurious train in Japan was never in service, only existing in the form of a model created by the "god of model trains," Nobutaro Hara (founder of the Hara Model Railway Museum), based on blueprints and his past sketches after seeing the train stowed in a garage, unused. JR decided to finally bring the legendary train to life to commemorate Hara, who passed away in 2014, and his tremendous contributions to the Japanese railway industry.

Amazing, Royal, Universal

One look at the design of Aru Ressha, also known as the "Brill Train" and "the train of dreams" among train fans, is enough to see why it has garnered so much attention. The train's concept, by taking the three letters of "Aru" is "introducing the AMAZING charms of Kyushu, with a ROYAL design and delicious sweets course, and aiming to be a train that is UNIVERSALLY loved."

Designed and planned by Eiji Mitooka, who is also responsible for the popular "Nanatsuboshi (Seven Stars) in Kyushu" sightseeing sleeper train, the exterior will feature a gold and black color scheme with an arabesque design. Aru Ressha is comprised of two cars; the interior of the first car is characterized by vivid, romantic colors and maple chairs and tables, along with a carpet with flower designs. The second car will be designed in a calming, walnut color and contain private compartments for two, separated by lattice-patterned screens. The train will serve 38 passengers total.

And that's not the only reason why the Aru Ressha is so special. A course meal, directed by world renowned chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, will be served during the journey; the meal will be comprised of a main bento, three desserts, and mignardises (teacakes). Following Narisawa's innovative "Satoyama Cuisine" style (with the natural environment as its theme), the dishes will use the finest ingredients of Kyushu, and will vary according to what is in season.

Aru Ressha will operate between Oita and Hita from August 8th, and will run until October 12th, while the Nagasaki-Sasebo route will be serviced from November 1st to March 30th, 2016; the train is expected to continue alternating routes afterwards, with each trip taking around two and a half hours. The "sweets train" will mostly be in service on Fridays and weekends, along with public holidays; the schedule can be accessed from the train's official website (below).

The basic plan includes a one way ticket, the course meal, and drinks for 20,000 yen, with those wishing to enjoy the journey in a private room having to pay an extra fee. Tickets for the Oita-Hita route have sold out for the time being, although those wanting to take the Nagasaki-Sasebo trip are in luck — tickets will be on sale at JR Kyushu travel branches, JR Kyushu station travel centers, or similar major travel companies from September 1st, with reservations in advance being accepted online from August 1st-8th.

More Information

Official Website (in English)

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Kim 5 years ago
This looks incredible! I'm such a fan of traveling by train and Japan really has some special experiences!

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