IN Japan, you can now enjoy the scenic view outside while on a train without having to crane your neck or snag a window seat.
The newly operated Echigo Tokimeki Resort Setsugekka sports large glass windows instead of walls so that passengers can look out to unobstructed views of the Japanese countryside.
The train runs in the west of the Niigata prefecture and chugs along stunning mountainous landscapes, volcanoes, rivers and even unique wildlife. The trip includes a stop at Yoho National Park and the Columbia Icefields.
The train – designed like a long glass tube – is the brainchild of Ichibansen, a contemporary design company.
The two-car diesel train can seat 45 passengers with seats catering to singles, couples and large groups, all of whom can enjoy the views outside their windows.
The driver’s room too is contained by glass, allowing rail enthusiasts to glimpse the inner workings of train operation. In Japan, train otaku culture is not uncommon, where “train geeks” like to sit upfront to observe the driver’s movements.
Meanwhile, the second carriage is dedicated to a French restaurant where passengers can eat and drink while whizzing past striking scenery.
A journey for one with food costs about US$145 while a ticket without food will set you back about US$58.
The Niigata prefecture is known for its rolling landscapes, skiing in the winter, rejuvenating hot spring baths, and stunning coastal lines. The region is a stark contrast to Tokyo, where century-old traditions and serene views substitute towering skyscrapers.
Here’s a glimpse of the train:
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