Premium Express Shimakaze
The Amazing Kintetsu Train to Ise-Shima
Premium Express Shimakaze is a luxury train operated by Kintetsu Railway. It serves Ise-Shima Peninsula, from Ise to Kashikojima, with direct trains from largest cities such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya. The upscale comfort and cutting-edge technology allied in one of Japan’s most beautiful touristic trains.
The private railway company Kintetsu mainly operates in the Kansai area and is a serious competitor to the JR national group in the region. Moreover, it developed its own train pass: the Kintetsu Rail Pass, providing unlimited travels for 1 to 5 days on its networks that include large touristic cities such as Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Nagoya.
In addition to its convenience, Kintetsu is also renowned among train amateurs for its Limited Express special trains, that combine comfort and speed in the same travel. Two touristic trains are particularly noteworthy and offer an authentic train experience the Japanese way: the Blue Symphony and the Shimakaze.
Whereas the former runs deep in Nara prefecture’s countryside down to Yoshino, the Premium Express Shimakaze train runs along the coastline of Ise-Shima Peninsula down to Kashikojima in Mie Prefecture. With direct connections from Kyoto, Osaka, or Nagoya bound for Ise and Shima Peninsula, we highly recommend riding this luxury train, that provides high quality finishing touches and an excellent service overall.
Configuration of the touristic train
Shimazake train benefits from many large windows that offer a comprehensive view of the landscape when traveling and already giving the impression of visiting the easternmost end of Mie prefecture. It is always composed of 6 wagons, with:
- Head and rear cars (n°1 and n°6) that have a panoramic view on the outside as well as on the driver’s cabin, which is totally glassed. Both cars are the passengers’ favorites and therefore quickly booked.
- A dining car 🚙 fitted with 2 restaurants spaces: at the upper floor and downstairs. Green plants complement the place by giving it a warmer atmosphere.
- The middle car dedicated to travelers’ groups (3 to 6 persons) with several private spaces arranged in the Japanese or the Western style.
Upon boarding, it is possible to store luggage in free coin lockers, with large boxes that are ideal for big suitcases. Nearby, spacious, and extremely clean lavatories provide amenities to freshen up as well. A closed room is available for smokers in the middle of the car.
The flooring has been particularly well-thought with a granite floor in the spaces of circulation and carpet in the sitting spaces for a cozier atmosphere.
The layout is similar to a classical JR Shinkansen 🚅, with the addition of several good ideas such as the luggage storages, the private lounges and the use of quality materials in the cars. Shimakaze offers a great sample of refinement in which the train is not only a convenient transportation mean.
Technological comfort of the seats
The seats were designed in the same upscale spirit. Made of beige leather, they are incredibly comfortable thanks to plenty of options to help make them respond to the closest to one’s needs, especially:
- The back tilting that can be set through a switch,
- The firmness of the lower cushion can be set when in need of relieving one’s lower back,
- A footrest that can be slightly elevated, and,
- The integrated massage functions.
The seating feels very good, comfortable and one feels like being at home. Windows are fitted with electric blind that can be adjusted to will: opened for a complete view of the landscape or closed for a more subdued atmosphere.
Each seat benefits from a Wi-Fi connection provided by the railway company and from a screen that allows, among other things, to watch footages from the engine driver’s cabin at the head and the rear of the train.
Local gastronomy served on the plate
The restaurant service is also excellent. Aboard the Premium Express Shimakaze, all dishes are fresh, cooked on the day and highlight the local gastronomy:
- Cooked oyster seasoned with shoyu for appetizer,
- Ise lobster miso soup,
- Seafood course sided with pilaf rice,
- Japanese curry or Matsusaka beef bento.
Prices reflect the quality of the menu (about ¥1,500/ ~US$11.48 on average for the dish of the day) and are therefore more expensive than an ekiben at the station, but still in the affordable range.
The Shimakaze train guarantees an unforgettable trip, and we highly recommend it when visiting Ise and the peninsula. Passengers using the Kintetsu Rail Pass can continue travel on the other local trains of the company whose network offers a good coverage of Mie prefecture.