The Japanese countryside is beautiful in winter, spring, summer, and fall, and one of the best ways to appreciate the changing scenery is by riding the rails. Now, a Japanese rail company is developing a new train that won’t interfere with admiring the landscape or disrupt the view—because it’s practically invisible.
To celebrate the Seibu Railway group’s 100th anniversary, the company commissioned Pritzker Prize-winning designer Kazuyo Sejima to create a “limited express” train, according to Architectural Digest.
“The limited express travels in a variety of different sceneries, from the mountains of Chichibu, to the middle of Tokyo, and I thought it would be good if the train could gently coexist with this variety of scenery,” said Sejima. To create a train that blends into the surroundings, Sejima designed a sleek, beautiful vessel with a mirrored exterior that reflects whatever landscape it rolls through, letting it integrate seamlessly into both urban setting and country scenes.
The Seibu Group hopes that the innovative “invisible” trains are more than just a way of marking their anniversary, noting they represent something other than just a fashionable way of getting from one point to another. “This will be an express train for everyone, like an intimate living room where people can spend their free time in their own way,” the group said in a statement. “We aim to provide a new public space, almost parklike, where people will come together. It’s more than just a means of movement, it’s a destination in its own right. The train will serve commuters, people seeking relaxation, and tourists drawn by its unique appearance.”
The invisible trains should be ready to roll by 2018, meaning there’s still plenty of time to book a ticket to Japan. In the meantime, check out this video for inspiration. – Mellissa Locker, Smithsonian.com