FrontRunners: Seventh Heaven
Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu is a patchwork of rolling country hills and vibrant beach cities. For passengers aboard the new Seven Stars train (www.cruisetrain-sevenstars.jp), the environs inside the railcars are equally impressive. Debuted in October, the train—which journeys from Hakata to Nagasaki and Kagoshima on one- and three-night itineraries—features 14 suites with hinoki-cypress paneling, hand-painted porcelain sinks, and kumiko-style latticework. Off train, excursions include a hike to the rim of Japan’s largest active volcano; visits to hot springs; and, for passengers on the three-night itinerary (priced from $4,190 per person, including meals), an overnight stay in a traditional ryokan.