Culturally rich Kyoto is a popular destination for visitors sojourning the Land of the Rising Sun.

This Japanese city, which lies but a stone’s throw from Osaka, is famous for its Buddhist temples, beautiful gardens, imperial palaces, traditional wooden houses, kaiseki dining, and geishas in its Gion district.

You can take a short train ride from Osaka to get to Kyoto, but Hankyu Railway wants to make you feel like you’ve already arrived in the charming destination the moment you step on board its train. That’s where its new ‘Kyotrain Garaku’, set to begin operations in March 2019, comes in.

Unlike the mundane interiors of conventional commuter trains, that of ‘Kyotrain Garaku’ has been designed to mirror traditional ryokan inns and Kyoto machiya townhouses.

Passengers will be greeted by classy deep brown wood, embellished with elegant tan tatami reed panels and miniature gardens.

Each car on ‘Kyotrain Garaku’ follows a specific seasonal theme. The first car is inspired by autumn with its maple leaf motifs, while the second car is based on winter. The third car follows spring and pays homage to Japan’s famous sakura cherry blossoms. The fourth car boasts geraniums to celebrate summer. The fifth and sixth cars feature pampas grass that ushers in early autumn and plum blossoms iconic of early spring, respectively.

For those of you who enjoy taking in the passing views, cars two and five offer seats that intentionally face outwards. The design stems from the inner garden viewing porches of royal Japanese residences.

‘Kyotrain Garaku’ will run between Kyoto’s Kawaramachi and Osaka’s Umeda stations starting March 2019, with stops at stations Karasuma, Katsura, Awaji, and Juso along the way. The train runs seven times a day but will only operate on weekends and public holidays.

The total journey lasts about 45 minutes and costs JP¥400 (US$3.50). The JR rail pass does not cover Hankyu Railway.

[via SoraNews24, images via Hankyu Corporation Press Release]

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