Travel and Leisure – Star Power

It is an average and orderly Saturday morning at Hakata Station in Fukuoka. Clutching their expertly packaged bento boxes, travelers form civilized lines at designated queuing spots as trains arrive and depart with millisecond-perfect precision. Amid this tableau of politesse, however, something out of the ordinary is about to happen. As a guest on the Seven Stars in Kyushu—Japan’s first (and so far only) luxury sleeper train—I had spent the 15 minutes since boarding exploring the plush interiors of one of the world’s most expensive iron horses. So preoccupied had I been with the wall hangings, paper-panel windows and handcrafted furniture in my state-of-the art cabin, I hadn’t noticed that our imminent departure had attracted a whooping mass of onlookers to the previously moribund platform. As we rolled out of the station to a wall of sound created by flag-waving fans, the adulation displayed at every stop gave me a taste of the uplifting and seemingly random nature of Japanese fanaticism.



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