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Riding the world's most luxurious train

By CNN Staff

Published June 13, 2018

There is a train in Japan that has garnered an exclusive reputation. Space so limited, passengers often have to enter a lottery for tickets.

Kyushu Railway Company

Boarding The Cruise Train Seven Stars at the busy Hakata Station in Fukuoka, Japan is like stepping into another world. Its warm wooden interiors and classic design elements evoke another time.

Kyushu Railway Company

From the seats, to the lighting, everything is custom-made.

Kyushu Railway Company

There are delicate, handmade porcelain sinks and framed miniature paintings by the train’s 70-year-old designer. In the lounge, a panel of "kumiko," traditional Japanese woodwork, is backlit to showcase its intricate lattice patterns.

Mitooka took inspiration from the Orient Express. He also wanted to create something that would resonate with older Japanese travelers, creating a sense of nostalgia.

Kyushu Railway Company

"I think, for a long time, Japanese people believed the greatest journey was to travel to Europe or America; to experience different cultures, see the best things there, eat the best food there…”

Eiji Mitooka

Designer

"But for those of us in our 50s, 60s and 70s, the most comfortable and relaxing journey is one where Japanese is spoken, we can enjoy Japanese food, served in the Japanese way. We can rediscover Japan,” he said.

Eiji Mitooka

Designer

Kyushu Railway Company