Inside Japan’s New Luxury Suite Train That Departs From Ueno’s Platform 13½
Harry Potter fans got a little giddy when JR East announced that Ueno Station in Tokyo would open up a “Platform 13½” in order to accommodate the new Train Suite Shiki-Shima, a luxury train that features observation platforms, private suites, high class restaurants, and foot baths.
While not a totally direct reference to Platform 9¾, the special setup to boarding the train is somewhat of a magical experience in its own right. Only boarding customers will be able to enjoy a lounge area before walking along the exclusive platform, and from there they will be able to take on 3 days and 2 night trip that lets them experience traveling across Japan as comfortably as possible.
The concept behind the journey is all in the luxury train’s name. Shiki-Shima, or island of the seasons, reflects a certain pride Japan has in how beautifully distinct its four seasons are. To offer a full and leisurely appreciation of this, the Train Suite Shiki-Shima offers four separate courses that are designed to highlight the spectacle of each season–passing scenery that is highlighted more beautifully at certain times of the year.
These include, but are not limited to opportunities to see the Nishimonai Bon Dance, the first sunrise of the year over the Boso Peninsula, New Year Festivals, and vibrant doll festivals in Sakata.