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JR West shows off luxury hotel on rails

Sleeper train Mizukaze to take passengers through scenery of western Japan

West Japan Railway's new luxury sleeper, the Twilight Express Mizukaze.

OSAKA -- West Japan Railway on Thursday gave reporters a tour of the Twilight Express Mizukaze, a sleeper train with high-end accommodations scheduled to start carrying passengers this June.

"These train cars epitomize the concept of a hotel rolling through the beautiful Japanese landscape," JR West President Tatsuo Kijima said during the ceremony here. He said he wishes to highlight the natural beauty and culture of the Sanyo and Sanin regions, which comprise the tail of Japan's main island Honshu.

Mizukaze will run on two lines connecting Osaka Station and Kyoto Station with Shimonoseki Station at the southwestern tip of Honshu. Passengers can visit the historic city of Kurashiki and other spots of interest along the way.

Gold logos emblazon the exterior of the ten emerald-painted cars, while Sanyo and Sanin crafts decorate the interior. Accommodations range from 10 sq. meter twin rooms to a 35 sq. meter suite spanning an entire car. A dining car and a lounge with a bar counter serve food and alcoholic drinks from western Japan.

Royal twin rooms -- the cheapest accommodations -- start at 270,000 yen ($2,390) per person for two-day, one-night packages, while suites start at 750,000 yen.

Osaka-based JR West, which operates the Sanyo bullet train line, hopes the luxury service will strength core earnings and liven up tourism in these somewhat sleepy regions of the country.

(Nikkei)

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