This will be on sale in March, 2015 and will replace currently selling Sanyo Area Pass. This pass includes all Sanyo Area Pass coverage area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. This pass also includes Sanin area (Matsue, Izumo, Tsuwano), Hikone, Maibara, Tsuruga, Wakayama and even part of Shikoku. It is wider coverage area, cheaper price and longer duration.
I feel JR West try to penetrate overseas travellers market deeper and deeper. It improve the product.
JR West will release new three deals in March, 2015. Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass is one of these three deals. This is the first pass that cover only Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, and Shinkansen to Hakata. If you arrive in Fukuoka airport and only stay in Kyushu but want to travel to Hiroshima, this pass helps you. It is the perfect option for the trip to Hiroshima from Hakata, Kyushu.
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. Continue reading →
Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. But Sanyo Shinkansen is connected with Tokaido Shinkansen (from Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo) at Shin-Osaka and Kyushu Shinkansen (from Kumamoto and Kagoshima) at Hakata.
Most of trains run from Tokyo (Nozomi and Hikari) are operated by Tokaido Shinkansen fleet, 700 series or N700 series. If you look for the images of these trains, please see Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery.
Shinkansen (新幹線) is high speed train service that is operated by JR. It is one of the fastest train in world and sometimes called “Bullet Train”. JR has this high speed train network throughout Japan. You can save lots of your trip time by using this train system.
Most of you use this train system in your trip. I would like to share the basic information about this train system, Shinkansen. Continue reading →
*This deal will be sold until February 28, 2015 and can be exchanged until May 31, 2015. On March 1, 2015, this deal, Sanyo Area Pass will be replaced by Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass.
This pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.
If you have round trip from Osaka to Hakata, this pass is much cheaper than single fares. But if you travel outside of Kansai area or just go to Hiroshima, you may consider other deals.
In this post, I tell you the details about this deal. And also I compare Sanyo Area Pass, Japan Rail Pass and Kansai WIDE Area Pass. Continue reading →
Kyushu is located in south part of Japan. That’s why the climate is very mild and it is very popular destination in all season. Some of the travellers may arrive/depart at Fukuoka airport or other airports and travel only in Kyushu.
In this post, I would like to show you several kinds of Kyushu rail passes for both visitors and resident in Japan. It is impossible to get same deals as visitors for residents. But there are some deals for the residents too. I will tell you about the pass that anyone can purchase. Continue reading →
Fall is very popular season to travel in Japan for local tourist too. JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during this season and increase the number of trains. I show you seasonal trains information mostly for October and November, 2012 in this post. If you are looking for the information of seasonal train that is operated in September only, please see 2012 summer seasonal trains information.
It is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot. Continue reading →
JR Kyushu is trying to get more tourist in the last stretch of summer vacation. They will start to sell Kyushu Shinkansen 2 days unlimited ride ticket on August 20, 2012. You can ride non reserved ordinary seat of Kyushu Shinkansen and any trains on conventional lines run parallel with Kyushu Shinkansen. This is very similar to unlimited ride ticket that was sold in this past March. But it was only one day ticket and kid price is 2000 yen. This ticket gives you much better deal. Continue reading →
*This deal will be sold until February 28, 2015 and can be exchanged until June 30, 2015. On March 1, 2015, this deal will be discontinued.
JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass was released on the same day as Kansai WIDE Area Pass on April 10, 2012. This pass is the combination of existing JR West Sanyo Area Pass, JR Kyushu Rail Pass and unlimited ride in Shikoku. This is the first rail pass that cover most of west part of Japan. Especially this is the first pass that include Shinkoku other than Japan Rail Pass.
Let’s see the details of this pass and compare between this pass and JR West Sanyo, JR Kyushu pass. Continue reading →
I will leave Japan today and head back to Vancouver, Canada. I stayed in Japan for 9 nights and spend 5 days for my trip. It was crazy busy trip. I tried to take a train as many as I could. Continue reading →
Some of you may arrive at Fukuoka International Airport (FUK) from your countries directly. You may transit at Haneda and take domestic flight to Fukuoka. I have received questions about Fukuoka airport and Hakata (博多) station. I have just visited Fukuoka airport by subway. I would like to share what I got with you. Continue reading →
This coming March 17 will be one year anniversary day of Kyushu Shikansen completion. JR Kyushu have just started to sell one day unlimited ride pass of Kyushu Shikansen between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo. Continue reading →
JR Kyushu have been planning to operate a deluxe overnight train. According to some major newspapers in Japan, JR Kyushu seem to complete the plan. They may start to take a reservation in this coming summer.
This is the first multi-day cruising train trip in Japan. Probably this is much more luxury than Twilight Express and Cassiopeia. I don’t think I can afford this train trip. But it is very interesting. So I would like to share all information that I know at this point. Continue reading →
N700 series was introduced for Kyushu Shinkansen in this past March. The fleet is the newest and the fastest on Kyushu and Sanyo Shinkansen. If you will use Japan Rail Pass, you may take this train as Sakura from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, Kumamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo.
This series is basically on same types of N700 series on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen. But this series is strictly called N700-7000/8000. The exterior is not much different between N700 and N700-7000/8000. But the interior is quite different. This N700-7000/8000 is much better than original N700. Of course this has the best facility on Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen. Some of my frequent visitors rate Green class of this series higher than even the highest seat in Japan, Glan class of E5 series on Tohoku Shinkansen. Let’s see the interior images of this beautiful train. Continue reading →
Limited express “Midori” connects the gateway city in Kyushu, Hakata with very historical port city Sasebo. Some of trains are operated with Limited Express “Huis Ten Bosch” that is most popular theme park in Kyushu. When you go to Sasebo or Huis Ten Bosch, take Shinkansen to Hakata and change these trains.
Of course, these express trains can be used by Japan Rail Pass without any restriction. So let’s see the details. Continue reading →
This itinerary includes all part of Kyushu and covers many popular spots in Kyushu island in 7 days. So you can simply use Japan Rail Pass 7 days. You may start this itinerary either from Tokyo or from Osaka. But if you can start this from Tokyo, you need to skip Sasebo and Saikai National Park because of the time. And also you need to take the overnight train Sunrise Seto/Izumo if you start this from Tokyo on 7th day. Otherwise you cannot complete this itinerary. As long as you catch “Nobi Nobi seat” on Sunrise Seto or Izumo before the date change, you can continue to travel without any extra charge. (Please refer Japan Rail Pass official site, “Notes regarding use” point 6.)
These trains connect Hakata (博多) with Yufuin (由布院) and Oita (大分) or Beppu (別府). Yufuin is one of the most popular hot springs resort in Kyushu. This is the train that you need to take when you go to Yufuin. Of course these train’s name are named from Yufuin. “Yufuin no Mori” means Yufuin’s forest. These two trains are operated on same route and can be used by Japan Rail Pass. But Yufuin no Mori is operated by the specialized car, KIHA71 or 72 series. This express train is one of the best in JR Kyushu train. So I strongly recommend to take Yufuin no Mori, not Yufu.
So let’s learn about route, schedule and accommodations of these trains. Continue reading →
This itinerary includes Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima and North part of Kyushu (Hakata, Nagasaki, Aso and Beppu). This starts from Tokyo and your Japan Rail pass will be started to use from Tokyo station. You may start this itinerary from Shinagawa station, if you arrive at Haneda airport early morning. And of course, you can start this itinerary from Osaka or Kansai airport too. Osaka and Kansai airport are much closer to Kyoto than Tokyo. If you start this itinerary from Osaka, the itinerary is more smooth and easier.
I have received the email from JR West. They confirmed Japan Rail Pass can be used for Kyushu Shinkansen. But Japan Rail Pass can be used for only Sakura that is the second fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. We cannot take Mizuho that is the fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo by Japan Rail Pass. JR West and Kyushu applied same fare table as Nozomi. So Japan Rail Pass does not cover even the basic fare. If you take Mizuho, you have to pay the full fare.
As probably you know, Kyushu Shinkansen will be opened all section between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo on Mar 12, 2011. JR Kyushu released the tentative schedule. You can see the timetable here(PDF).
But this timetable is only in Japanese. So I made some sample timetable with Japanese-English translation. Before you take a look at the timetable, please click this image.
This timetable consists of 4 page as PDF file. Each page has two directions. The top half of the page is the timetable for Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima-Chuo via Hiroshima, Hakata and Kumamoto. The bottom half is the timetable for Kagoshima-Chuo to Shin-Osaka via Kumamoto, Hakata and Hiroshima.
We will have four round trips for the fastest train, “Mizuho”. We will have Mizuho or Sakura mostly once an hour between Shin-Osaka and Kaghoshima-Chuo. It takes 3 hours and 46 minutes by Mizuho from Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima-Chuo. It takes about 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes by Sakura between Shin-Osaka and Hakata.
We will have four departures an hour between Hakata and Kumamoto, and two departures between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo.
Unfortunately JR Group did not announce anything about Japan Rail Pass validity to take these new trains, Mizuho and Sakura. I will let you know right after I get an information.
Kyushu Shikansen will be scheduled to operate all part of line on March 12, 2011. It will be connected with Sanyo Shinkansen at Hakata station. JR Kyushu and JR West will start to operate new express train service between Shin-Osaka (新大阪) and Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央).
Mizuho will be the fastest train service. It will stop at Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kokura, Hakata and Kumamoto. It will take 3 hours and 45 minutes. 4 round trips will be scheduled to operate. Sakura will stop at some more stations, Himeji (姫路), Fukuyama (福山), Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口), Shin-Tosu (新鳥栖), Kurume (久留米) and Shin-Yatsushiro (新八代). It will be operated once an hour. After Sakura will be operated, the similar train service, Hikari Rail Star, will be stopped to operate.
This limited express train is one of most popular limited express train that is serviced by JR Kyushu. This connects Hakata and Kokura with Oita and Saeki. If you go to the popular hot springs resort, Beppu, this train is that you need to take after you get off Shinkansen at Kokura or Hakata. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.
This train is operated by JR Kyushu’s newest fleet 885 and 883 series. I would like to share the information about the accommodations. Let’s see the details about this train.
Route, schedule and time required
This express train connect Hakata with Oita in 2 hours and 30 minutes, and connect Kokura with Oita in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Sonic services run every 20 to 40 minutes for daytime. 32 round trips a day are operated.
Kamome is operated three types of trains, 885 series and 883 series. 885 is the newest and fastest. But 883 series has better interior and seat. So if you have a time when you book a reserved seat, check which train will be used for your train. Try to avoid 885 series.
Sonic serviced by this series is called “White Sonic” (=白いソニック=Shiroi Sonic). 885 series equip the leather seat for both Green and Ordinary. It looks good and have very sophisticated atmosphere, but this seat is very slippery and has very strong leather smell.
The seat configuration on Green class 1+1+1 and the seat pitch is 1150mm. The seat pitch on Ordinary class is 980mm. Every single ordinary class seats on car #2 have the power outlet. If you want to charge your batteries or use your laptop, try to get the seat on car #2. Car #3 is called “Ochitsuki Kukan” (=落ち着き空間=Calm and quiet space). This car has dark painted wall and less lighting. And you will see lots of Japanese modern art in this car. You can enjoy this car as Art Gallery.
This train is called “Wonderland Express”. When this train was introduced, the eccentric design was in the news. But now this train was renovated. This eccentric design had gone. But you will still see some originative items in the car. Green class has a lounge space just behind cockpit. You will get the power outlet at window seat on car#1, both Green and Ordinary. If you want to charge your batteries or using the laptop, try to get a window seat on car#1.
*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on this train.
I took Hikari Rail Star from Okayama to Hiroshima on the way to Miyajima. This Hikari has a different paint from the regular Hikari. It is gray and orange.
Hikari Rail Star is operated only from Shin-Osaka to Hakata every one hour. The departure time at Shin-Osaka is every one hour on the 59th. The departure time at Hakata is every one hour on the 4th. This Hikari does not have any Green car (First class car). But the reserved ordinary seat provide you same type of seat. I will show you how much difference between a reserved ordinary and a non-reserved ordinary.
All ordinary seat of regular Hikari and a non-reserved seat of Hikari Rail Star offer 3+2 seating. It is not very tight. It is much more spacious than an economy class seat on the flight.
The reserved ordinary seat of Hikari Rail Star offer 2+2 seating. It is so spacious. If you travel between Shin-Osaka and Hakata, I strongly recommend to take Hikari Rail Star. Please be sure that you Hikari is Rail Star or not when you reserve your ticket!!!
When you think about buying Japan Rail Pass, you may compare the price of Japan Rail Pass and a single fare. But it is very hard to get an exact fare because the fare rule of Japan Railway is so complicated. So I will give you some examples and consider which way has greater value. Continue reading →