Riders of Fukuoka kitchen train can enjoy sights, crafts of prefecture

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Staff serve French toast prepared in a cooking car of a Rail Kitchen Chikugo train.

FUKUOKA — Kitchen trains have appeared on the railroad in the southern region of Fukuoka Prefecture and are gaining popularity among women in particular.

The Tenjin-Omuta Line of the Nishi-Nippon Railroad — usually called Nishitetsu — connects Tenjin, the Kyushu region’s largest business and shopping district, with Omuta, the southernmost tip of Fukuoka Prefecture, and runs 74.8 kilometers north to south. The entire trip takes about one hour each way on the limited express. The line is also connected to Dazaifu, famous for Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, by the Dazaifu Line.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

In March 2019, Nishitetsu’s operator launched three special kitchen trains called The Rail Kitchen Chikugo. Chikugo is the name for the southern region of Fukuoka Prefecture, through which these trains pass.

Each kitchen train is a three-car train with 52 seats and reservations are required. The trains are equipped with electric ovens for baking pizza and have checker-pattern exteriors made to resemble a kitchen cloth.

The interior of the cars makes use of the many specialty products from the Chikugo area along the route — furniture from Okawa, art made of Kurume kasuri textiles, bamboo crafts from Yame and more.

There are three types of trains that take different routes and serve different meals, though they all depart from Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station. The train to Dazaifu Station serves as a cafe and the train to Omuta Station offers lunch. Dinner can be enjoyed on the train that turns back at Hanabatake Station.

Menu items include French toast and pizza with seasonal vegetables.