Japan’s third largest island, Kyushu is blessed with amazing landscapes and natural scenery. It is home to the country’s most active volcano, Mt. Aso; top notch natural hot spring resorts, most notably Beppu; and islands with lush and untouched forests, such as Yakushima. It also is where you can find some of Japan’s most important historic and cultural sites, like the Kumamoto Castle and the Nagasaki Peace Park.
To help you better explore this region of Japan on your next visit, you can get a Kyushu Rail Pass. With it, your train journeys become easier and more convenient. Read further to learn more about its benefits.
The Kyushu Rail Pass is a regional pass offered by JR Kyushu to non-Japanese passport holders. It allows unlimited rides on JR trains in the Kyushu region for certain numbers of days. It is very cost-effective if you plan to base yourself in one city for a few days, and then make a couple of day trips to other cities and towns just a couple of hours away.
The Kyushu Rail Pass comes in different types and prices.
|Types of Kyushu Rail Pass|
|5-Day Pass||3-Day Pass|
|All Kyushu Area Pass||18,000 yen||15,000 yen|
|Northern Kyushu Area Pass||10,000 yen||8,500 yen|
|Southern Kyushu Area Pass||7,000 yen|
|Fukuoka Wide Area Pass||3,000 yen|
If you are already in Japan, it is available at various JR Travel Service Centers in Kyushu.
|Where can you buy the Kyushu Rail Pass?|
|Fukuoka Airport – JTB Global Counter||Hakata Port International Terminal|
|Miyazaki Airport||Hakata Station|
|Kokura Station||Mojiko Station|
|Saga Station||Nagasaki Station|
|Sasebo Station||Beppu Station|
|Oita Station||Kumamoto Station|
|Kagoshima-chuo Station||Miyazaki Station|
Alternatively, you can buy an e-ticket or exchange order online from the Kyushu Rail Pass official website. You need to have it printed out, so that you can exchange it for the actual pass at any of the JR Travel Service Center locations mentioned above.
When you buy a Kyushu Rail Pass, you will be asked to choose the date for when you want to start using your pass. The starting date will count as day 1 of the validity period, and the expiration date will be midnight of day 2, day 3, or day 5, depending on which pass you have.
The following are the major train lines covered by the Kyushu Rail Pass:
- Kyushu Shinkansen Line (Mizuho, Sakura, and Tsubame)
- Limited Express Line (Sonic, Kamome, Midori, Huis Ten Bosch, Yufuin no Mori, Yufu, Kyushu Odan Tokkyu, Aso Boy, Kawasemi Yamasemi, A-Train, Nichirin seagaia, Nichirin, Hayato no Kaze, Ibusuki no Tamatebako, Umisachi-Yamasachi, and Kirishima)
- SL Hitoyoshi
During your Kyushu Rail Pass’ validity period, you can enjoy unlimited train rides on many JR lines in the Kyushu region. Every time you are at a train station, you simply show your Kyushu Rail Pass to a staff at a manned ticket gate to enter and exit.
Depending on the type of your Kyushu Rail Pass, you can get a certain number of seat reservations for free. A 5-day pass entitles you to up to 16 seat reservations, while a 3-day pass gives you up to 10 seat reservations, all free of charge. You can make advanced seat reservations online on the Kyushu Rail Pass official website.
All Kyushu 3-Day Pass Sample Itinerary
Day 1: Fukuoka to Nagasaki
From Hakata Station in Fukuoka, take an early morning limited express train to Nagasaki Station. The one-way trip takes two hours, and is fully covered by your All Kyushu 3-Day Pass. (Note: Without the pass, it costs about 5,000 yen.)
A day in Nagasaki should give you enough time to explore the Nagasaki Peace Park, the Glover Garden, the Dutch Slope, the Dejima district, and try delicious local specialties in Chinatown. If you have more time, you can also visit the Sofukuji Temple and the Confucian Shrine. Use the city’s tram service to get around faster.
You can be back to your hotel in Fukuoka by midnight if you catch the limited express train departing Nagasaki Station before 10 pm.
Day 2: Overnight in Beppu
Pack your bags and get ready for a fun onsen experience in Beppu. To get there from Fukuoka, you can catch the limited express line at Hakata Station. In two hours and 10 minutes, you should arrive in Beppu. The trip is fully covered by your All Kyushu 3-Day Pass. (Note: Without the pass, it costs about 6,000 yen. And, at this point of the journey, your pass should already break even.)
In Beppu, you can try steam cooking, which is a way to cook food that utilizes the hot steam coming from the natural hot springs. The Jigokumushi Kobo Steam Cooking Center welcomes tourists who want to prepare their own food via steam cooking. You can bring your own ingredients, and rent a steam chamber and some cookware from the facility. Once you are done, you can enjoy your freshly prepared meal in their outdoor terrace.
As the city has a wide selection of natural hot springs scattered around, you can go onsen hopping to your heart’s delight, or tour the Hells of Beppu.
Spend the night in a ryokan for a traditional Japanese lodging experience.
Day 3: Return to Fukuoka
Before leaving Beppu to go back to Fukuoka, you can check out some other attractions offered by city, such as the Takasakiyama Monkey Park to meet more than a thousand curious, wild Japanese macaques; the Oita Prefectural Art Museum for some unique, contemporary art exhibits; and Mount Tsurumi for overlooking views of the city and surroundings.
To return to Fukuoka, take the limited express train from Beppu Station to Hakata Station.
For more information on the Kyushu Rail Pass, visit the JR Kyushu Rail Pass official website.