Special and wonderful trains for a one-of-a-kind Japan Rail experience
The title of "Joyful Train" in Japan refers to many different kinds of trains, but all with the same purpose of making a simple train trip a lot more special.
tatami-floor train: the first joyful train
The first joyful train started in the early 1960s, when a vintage turn-of-the-century train was outfitted with tatami floors for a traditional Japanese zashiki feel. You can still find these kind of interiors in joyful trains today, too! Sit on cushions around a table with a few friends, or on zaisu legless chairs along a long, traditional table, or...
the kotatsu train
...You can even keep warm and toasty and travel in style in a kotatsu joyful train! Kotatsu are tables with a heater on the underside and a blanket covering them, a very traditional (and widely used) method of keeping warm during cold Japanese winters. Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan boasts this fun-looking kotatsu train.
yufuin no mori
Other trains are less about novelty and more about the experience of where you're going. The Yufuin no Mori (and its newer sibling the Shin-Yufuin no Mori) train takes travellers to the famous Yufuin hotsprings near Beppu, in the island of Kyushu. The dark wood interior makes the trip through the southern forests a beautiful, nature-inspired journey.
the toy train
Although the train itself is not a toy, nearly everything inside is! The toy train, or omocha densha, features a toy store, coin vending machines that sell toys, and an interior designed for children, including a crib for infants.
Joyful trains also include other fun trains such as character-themed trains and extreme luxury trains. Be sure to check out our other articles for more information!