Imagine a train that is completely covered in gold. Now imagine that train being filled with all of your favorite sweets in the world. There you go. Now you have an image of the ARU Train aka the Sweet Train.
This Sweet Train is the brainchild of the Kyushu Train Company and J.G. Brill and Company (both prominent train makers in their countries). In 1906, the Kyushu Train Company ordered a luxury train to be made by Brill Co, but after the Kyushu Train Company became a public train company, it became difficult to carry out the luxury train idea. But after 110 years, the ARU (Amazing Royal Universal) Train has been remade. During the trip, you can encounter various landmarks in Kyushu as well as enjoy various sweets and meals.
The exterior of the train was designed by Eiji Mitooka and his research unit. The original design was made by worldly renowned train model maker Nobutaro Hara, and Mitooka successfully transformed his original model into a full-scale luxury train.
The interior has an overall theme of romantic and classical shapes and colors. While the regular seats (pictured above) are made of maple wood, the seats in the compartment rooms are made from a darker walnut.
Fun fact: If you want to look at the interior of the Sweet Train without actually going to Kyushu, or if you already bought tickets and can’t wait to scope out the gorgeous train that you will be riding, there is actually a street view of the interior of the train available via Google Maps here
There is a very clear reason as to why this train is called the Sweet Train and that is obviously due to the amazing sweets made by the world-class chef in charge of the desserts served on board the train. Yoshihiro Narisawa is the director of the desserts on the Sweet Train. He makes his three sweets from various seasonal ingredients mostly grown in the Kyushu area. So the desserts served in the Sweet Train come in a course of three dishes.
(What is served in these courses are subject to change)
A tea pudding with sweet sauce and caramel mousse.
A warm crepe with fresh citrus fruit and chocolate sauce.
A series of three mignardises consisting of, for example, a dry fig baked into a pie.
Unfortunately, this train only makes one round in between Sasebo and Nagasaki a day and is almost entirely booked up for March, 2016. But from April to June 2016, this train will run between Ooita and Hita, and will once again run between Sasebo and Nagasaki from July to September. In each of these courses, you will be able to see the various historical landmarks around Ooita and Nagasaki and is a great option if you need to travel around but also want to see various tourist locations in these areas.
2017 update: Please note, this train only makes one round in between Sasebo and Nagasaki per day, from October 7 2017, to March 31, 2018.
From Sasebo to Nagasaki: 9:49→12:10
From Nagasaki to Sasebo: 14:53→17:35
Fee and sales method here