Locally-sourced ingredients served in dining area decorated with woven bamboo, stonework made with samurai-era techniques.

Some of Japan’s sightseeing trains double as hotels, with luxuriously appointed sleeping quarters. Some would argue, though, that there’s no point splurging for amenities you won’t be awake to appreciate.

On the other hand, rail operator Nishi-Nippon Railroad’s Rail Kitchen Chikugo concept is meant to be enjoyed while fully conscious, since it’s also a stylish restaurant.

The central car ot the three-carriage train contains an expansive open kitchen where chefs prepare delicious meals using ingredients sourced from Japan’s Chikugo region, which roughly corresponds with present-day Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. Seating is not on ordinary benches or inside boxed compartments, but at tables that look more like what you’d find inside a fashionable cafe in one of Japan’s cosmopolitan urban centers.

Along with local ingredients to please the palate, the Rail Kitchen Chikugo has features the work of regional craftsmen as a treat for the eyes. The ceiling is covered with woven bamboo strips, using techniques first developed in the Fukuoka city of Yame 300 years ago, and adorning the walls are Jojima stone tiles, which have a historical legacy of four centuries. The train’s furniture was built in Okawa, the same town that produced that exquisite set of cat furniture last autumn, and if you’d rather focus your eyes on what’s outside the train, large windows provide wide-angle views of the scenery you’re traveling through.

The train will run on the Tenjin Omuta Line, which stretches from Tenjin Station in Fukuoka City to the main rail stop in the town of Omuta. Service is scheduled to start in spring of 2019.

Source: Nishi-Nippon Railroad via IT Media
Images: Nishi-Nippon Railroad