What to expect on the Seven Stars train journey...
Departing from and returning to Hakata Station in Fukuoka, your two or four day round trip will take you through the green and splendid landscape of Kyushu, stopping to visit (optional) sights like the stratovolcano Mount Yufu, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain, the historic Edo-era streets of Mimitsu, and the world’s largest volcanic caldera near Mount Aso (which is the largest active volcano in Japan).
The journey offers an excellent chance to explore a Japanese island that many overseas visitors simply don’t see, and a region of Japan that has a distinctive multicultural feel and cuisine, thanks to its proximity to mainland Asia. Kyushu's mountainous volcanic landscape is full of visual drama, while the geology beneath it fuels a relaxing culture of natural hot spring resorts and healthy outdoor pursuits.
On board, you’ll sleep in a beautifully finished carriage. Beds are long and comfortable, and each room has its own surprisingly spacious en-suite bathroom, complete with a wood-lined shower, hand painted ceramic basin and - of course - a fully automated toilet.
The Seven Stars' interiors are all panelled with wood - elegantly carved Japanese maple in the suites, fragrant cypress in the showers, glossy walnut floors - and the furnishings are all comfortable and smart. Despite being inside a train, there’s an airy feel - ceilings are high, and the multiple huge windows make the most of the views as well as letting in plenty of natural light.
The four day itinerary also includes one night’s stay in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in the hot spring resort of Kirishima, where you’ll get your own private onsen (natural hot spring pool). On the two day trip, you’ll sleep aboard the train.
Kyushu cuisine is a phenomenon in its own right, and your chef-prepared meals (which are sometimes eaten on board, sometimes in reserved locations en route) will be made from fresh regional ingredients from the areas you’ll be travelling through. Dinners on board are accompanied by live music, and semi-formal dress is expected.
'A superb way to see Kyushu in comfort...'
Important to note...
Train enthusiasts might want to know that the Seven Stars is hauled by a modified Kawasaki diesel locomotive built in 2013. The set's seven coaches comprise five sleeping cars, a lounge car and a dining car.
Dress code on the train is smart casual, except at dinner, which requires semi-formal (ie collared shirt and jacket for men, one-piece or collared shirt and suit for women).