JR Hokkaido to Produce New Tourist Trains ‘Red Star’ and ‘Blue Star’: Designer Eiji Mitooka’s Final Work

JR Hokkaido will start operating new tourist trains, ‘Red Star’ and ‘Blue Star’, in spring 2026.

Both will be remodeled from the KiHa 143 series (4-car trains). The vehicle design will be handled by designer Eiji Mitooka. The two sets will have different grades; the Red Star will be ‘Luxury Class’ and the Blue Star will be ‘Premium Class’. The Red Star will have a capacity of about 100 people, offering various seating types such as private rooms, semi-compartments, and box seats, in addition to a lounge, tea room, and observation room. The Blue Star will have a capacity of about 200 people, featuring seats with large windows and observation rooms. As a common specification, a number of woods, including those produced in Hokkaido, will be used.

The Red Star will mainly operate on the Senmo Main Line, and the Blue Star will mainly operate on the Furano Line. They are also considering using them as cruise trains that tour around Hokkaido.

Mitooka has worked on the design of many JR Kyushu Group’s vehicles and facilities, such as the cruise train ‘Seven Stars in Kyushu’ and the Fukuoka-Busan high-speed ferry ‘QUEEN BEETLE’. In a press release, he hinted that designing the Red Star and Blue Star trains would be his last job, leading to his retirement.

Red Star

▲Red Star’s semi-compartment

Red Star

▲Red Star’s lounge, bar, and convenience shop

Blue Star

▲Blue Star’s seating

Blue Star

▲Blue Star’s observation room

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