Kyushu Shinkansen runs between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo. But many trains run from Shin-Osaka and carry many passengers from Kansai area to Kyushu. This is the best way to get Kyushu from Osaka and Hiroshima. But some trains are not covered by JR Pass. I would like to show you about this Shinkansen system in this post.
Types of trains
There are three types of trains, the fastest train “Mizuho”, second fastest “Sakura” and “Tsubame” that stops at all station. on Kyushu Shinkansen. All Mizuho and most of Sakura go through Sanyo Shiknasen to/from Shin-Osaka. You can ride a train from Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima without transfer. But the fastest train, Mizuho is not covered by Japan Rail Pass. Mizuho is in same restriction as Nozomi of Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen.
Mizuho connects Shin-Osaka with Kumamoto in just 3 hours and with Kagoshima Chuo in 3 hours 45 minutes.
Sakura is a bit slower than Mizuho. It connects Shin-Osaka with Kumamoto in 3 hours 10 minutes to 3 hours 45 minutes and with Kagoshima-chuo in 4 hours 10 minutes to 40 minutes. It takes much more minutes for taking some of Sakura as it stops at many more stations than Mizuho and faster Sakura.
Tsubame is slowest train on Kyushu Shinkansen now. It is operated between Hakata and Kagoshima-chuo only. This train does not go through Sanyo Shinkansen. It connects Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo around 2 hours. Of course if you need to move to Kagoshima-chuo or Kumamato from Hakata, you can take Sakura, or if you are not Japan Rail Pass user, take Mizuho.
Route and stations
View Kyushu Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in a larger map
x:All trains stop *:Some of trains stop -All trains pass by
There are two types of cars, newer N700-7000/8000 series and JR Kyushu original 800 series. 800 series is used for Sakura and Tsubame. This train does not go through Sanyo Shinkansen. N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura depart from Shin-Osaka.
This type is used for the trains that are operated on Kyushu Shinkansen only. This series does not have any Green class. But even ordinary class provides you 2+2 seat configuration. This is a big difference as the standard in Shinkansen ordinary class is 2+3 seat configuration. And also this series has many Japanese decoration in the train. It gives you very unique Japanese atmosphere.
R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat
This type is used for all Mizuho, Sakura that is go through Sanyo Shinaksen and some Tsubame.
R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat G:Green class
Please refer the post, N700 series for Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho and Sakura for the details about N700 series.