A brand new luxury train has been unveiled in Japan that brings travellers on an epic sightseeing journey across Kyushu. Packed full of incredible scenic locations, hot springs, hikes, mountains and coastal retreats, the southern island is popular with nature-lovers, even though it may be considered a somewhat under-the-radar destination.

Operated by JR Kyushu, the train is called 36+3, a nod to the fact that Kyushu is the 36th largest island in the world, as well as the fact that the number 39 (36+3) is pronounced san-kyu, similar to “thank you” in English. The company said that it wanted to express appreciation to passengers, while the “3” refers to the three emotions that passengers will feel when they experience the train; inspiration, wonder and happiness. The train is sleek and stylish, with a black exterior and gold accents.

Bento boxes are served onboard the train © 36+3

The 36+3 has six first class cars, with advanced online reservation being essential. It operates on five different colored routes that take in some of the highlights Kyushu has to offer, including from Miyazaki to Oita and Beppu, where some of the best hot springs in the world can be found, and from Fukuoka to the historic city of Nagasaki. The first two cars can be booked privately for lunch and dinner, while car three has drinks and snacks available. There is also a lounge car, a shared space used for events inside the train. Food served on the train features Kyushu specialities that have been selected to showcase the best of the island. 

The train has been designed with luxury in mind, and blends the old with the new © 36+3

The interior of the train has been designed with luxury in mind, with the aesthetic merging elements of modern with traditional Japanese .

“36+3 luxury sightseeing train combines traditional Japanese styles with modern luxury, and from a sustainability-perspective, the train is built through local, Kyushu-sourced materials,” Esma E. Onay from Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organization told Lonely Planet.

More information is available at the official website.

Read more:

Oita's best onsen: a guide to bathing in Beppu and beyond
Exploring Kōya-san: staying at Japan’s sacred mountaintop temple complex
48 hours in Nagasaki: a diverse city's powerful character

Explore related stories

Shot of female tourist enjoying the beautiful scenery while travelling on a train acrossing the river nearby. Travel, vacation and exploration concept.

Destination Practicalities

Your ultimate guide to getting around Japan

Mar 25, 2024 • 9 min read