The Laview is, hands down, the fanciest train I've ever taken in my life.
Easily recognizable from afar, it is the first train in Japan to use a curved glass up front (for train nerds, it has a radius of 1500mm), giving it a soft, streamlined shape. The aluminum finish for the exterior was carefully researched to determine the degree of reflection that blends best with natural scenery. From the outside, Laview's most impressive feature are its passenger windows. Generously sized at 1350 mm x 1580 mm, these windows probably provide the largest panoramic views out of all trains running in Japan.
Laview started operations in March 2019 and was commissioned to Architect Kazuyo Seijima, winner of the Pritzker Prize. Architect Sejima has succeeded in designing a train that feels like a luxurious living room, "where passengers can freely relax and feel motivated to ride the train everyday." Faux marble floors and warm yellow tones welcome passengers at the entrance and this gives way to quiet carpeting in a seating space with clean white walls. Sink into the plush yellow-green sofa-like seats with adjustable headrest and a choice of two kinds of tray tables. Generous legroom makes you to feel like you are in your own private space. For groups of four, seats can be turned to face each other so everyone can enjoy the same view from the same wide window. Another discreet difference between Laview and other trains is the soft lighting, sensibly adjusted throughout the day for maximum comfort.
Wi-fi and charging ports are available for passenger use.
The on-board restrooms are clean, comfortable and spacious enough for wheelchairs, taking care of a baby's needs, and for changing outfits for passengers transitioning from work or leisure. A separate powder room has dressing and magnifying mirrors, a hand dryer, and electrical outlets.
All seats are reserved seats (which get sold out quick) and a separate limited express ticket must be purchased in addition to the regular ticket.
The Laview is the fastest way to travel to Chichibu and Kawagoe but once you step inside, you would want the trip to last longer.
Reserve tickets online via Smooz (Japanese language only).
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.