Home Info A Palace on Rails! – The Kawasemi Yamasemi Sightseeing Train

A Palace on Rails! – The Kawasemi Yamasemi Sightseeing Train

Kawasemi Yamasemi Sightseeing Train

Now this is a pretty train.

The Kawasemi Yamasemi entered into service on March 4th, 2017 and is one of Kyushu’s newest sightseeing trains. The train was meant to be a symbol of recovery for Kumamoto following the devastating earthquakes of 2016.

The train originally ran between Kumamoto City and Hitoyoshi, but due to heavy rains and flooding in 2020 that severely damaged the railways around Hitoyoshi, the Kawasemi Yamasemi was temporarily relocated to a span of track between Hakata (Fukuoka) and Mojiko Port (as of July 2021) and runs linked together with the Isaburo / Shinpei. All seats are reserved, but passengers can move freely between cars.

The train was designed by Eiji Mitooka and his Don Design office and is one of the many collaborations between Mr. Mitooka and JR Kyushu. The train is an excellent example of Mitooka’s trademark style, melding traditional Japanese wood carvings and locally sourced wood panels with detailed patterning evoking a royal European style to create something both opulent yet comfortable.

As with most of JR Kyushu’s sightseeing trains, showcasing local Kyushu is a major theme, and Kawasemi Yamasemi is no different. The refreshment bar offers ice cream and drinks made with local Kumamoto citrus and Kuma Shochu, a regionally designated type of distilled spirit the Hitoyoshi area is famous for. It pairs nicely with the jerky made of horsemeat, another specialty of the Kumamoto region.

Quick Facts

Wifi: Yes
Electrical outlets: No
Food: Yes
Included in JR Rail Pass: Yes
Reservations required: Yes
Extra fee for reservation with Rail Pass: No

Check out all the other special Kyushu trains here.


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