Food - Drink
The Sake Tasting Train That Runs Through Japan's Niigata Prefecture
By CLAIRE REDDEN
Niigata Prefecture is one of the smaller sake-producing regions in Japan, but is also regarded as the source of the highest-quality sake in the world. In celebration of the sake houses in Niigata, the East Japan Railway Company runs the Koshino Shu*Kura line, a sake-themed train that offers beautiful scenery and drink tastings to riders.
On the train, passengers take in Niigata Prefecture's scenery as they travel along Japan's western coastline, with views of the East Sea to the west and fields of rice paddies to the east. The train has various seating options from car to car, including boxed tables, paired observation seating options, and traditional aisle seating.
There is a selection of local sake served on board, to be enjoyed while looking out of the train's large windows, which offer a glimpse into local life as the train passes through city stations. The Koshino Shu*Kura's first and third cars are specially designed for the passenger's comfort, but the second car carries the sake theme most strongly.
The second car, available to visit by all passengers, is designed to look like a sake warehouse, with standing tables resembling sake casks along with a Kuramori service counter offering a curated selection of local sake, snacks, and bento boxes. Passengers can also enjoy live music, and sake is served from different brewers each day.