Japan’s railway network can seemingly do no wrong.
It has ultra-fast bullet trains – and it operates this extraordinary living room on wheels.
The interior has sofa-like seats, soft lighting and huge panoramic windows. Plus there’s an artificial marble floor in the entrances so guests feel extra special.
The outside is quite something too.
It’s coated with aluminium – apparently so it blends in with both urban and countryside landscapes – and the cab features a large curved window with a radius of 1.5 metres.
The fact that the train, which is operated by Seibu for commuters, looks so striking is perhaps less surprising once the person behind the design is revealed – Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima.
She’s never designed a train before, but certainly seems to have got the hang of it.
She said: ‘I was approached to develop a train car concept, as never seen before.
‘This is my first time to design a train and the most obvious difference with building design is that the train can move to different places.
‘This train moves through Tokyo to the mountains of Chichibu and I thought it would be nice for the train to be able to respond and softly blend into the surroundings.
‘Also, I wanted to make a train that feels like a living room where passengers can freely relax and feel motivated to ride the train every day.’
The train is called Laview – ‘L’ for luxurious living, ‘a’ for speedy like an arrow and ‘view’ for the panoramic views – and has operated in eight-car sets between Tokyo’s Ikebukuro station and Chichibu in neighbouring Saitama prefecture since March.
The train has operated in eight-car sets between Tokyo’s Ikebukuro station and Chichibu in neighbouring Saitama prefecture since March