Japan Reveals Plans For An “Invisible Train”

Kazuyo Sejima/Seibu Group

Japan is known for its harmony between technology, design and nature. It also has a pretty awesome train network that boasts the world’s fastest train. So, it's perhaps no surprise that a Japanese rail network is in the midsts of designing an express train that seamlessly blends in with its environment.

Renowned architect Kazuyo Sejima has been commissioned by Seibu Railways to design a concept of an “invisible train.” Of course, there’s no sorcery involved – the train will actually give this impression using a semi-reflective mirrored exterior to reflect its surroundings. Although the project is currently still in its concept stage, they say seven of these trains could be rolling through the idyllic countryside and bustling cities of Japan as early as 2018.

While this is Sejima’s first foray into designing trains, she has a wealth of experience designing buildings of a similar reflective style, which have earned her the Pritzker Architecture Prize – often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of the architecture world.”

In a news release, Sejima said: "The project concept was introduced to me as 'a new limited express train like nothing seen before.'"

She added: "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. I also would like it to be a limited express where large numbers of people can all relax in comfort, in their own way, like a living room, so that they think to themselves 'I look forward to riding that train again.'"

See you there (or not).

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