Ticket to ride Japanese luxury sleeper train a mere US$10,000 one way

The new Shiki-Shima train is in demand as Japanese customers seek high-end services on the go.

TOKYO (REUTERS) - A Japanese railway company has launched a new luxury sleeper train with sky views, bathtubs and dark wood interiors, joining the race for well-heeled tourists.

The top suite on the 10-car "Train Suite Shiki-shima" sells for US$10,000 (S$13,952) per person for a four-day trip from Tokyo to Hokkaido, East Japan Railway Co said.

The train, which left with 33 passengers on its maiden voyage from Tokyo on Monday (May 1), features traditional tatami rice straw mats and bathtubs made from hiroki cypress wood in its executive suites.

Glass ceilings and walls are built into two observatory coaches at the front and rear of the train for the passengers to watch the scenery pass by.

The journey includes stops in the northeast Tohoku region, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

"We also want to empower the disaster-hit northern Japan for their recovery effort through the operation of Shiki-shima," East Japan Railway Chief Executive Tetsuro Tomita said at the launch.

The train is fully booked until March 2018.

Demand for high-end train travel is growing in Japan, with several railway companies introducing new services.

Kyushu Railway Co launched its Seven Star luxury coach four years ago, and JR West is set to launch its Twilight Express Mizukaze in June.