Tag Archives: Kyushu

Schedule of 2014 summer seasonal trains of Japan Railways

Moonlight Nagara is operated by 183 series.
Moonlight Nagara is very popular overnight train because it can be taken without limited express surcharge. (but reserved seat fee applicable)

Summer is not the best season to visit Japan except Hokkaido because of climate. It is very hot and humid. But local demand is quite high. Especially Obon season is one of three busiest period in Japan. Obon period is usually from August 13 to 16. In this year 2014, August 17 is Sunday. So the last day of Obon period is 17 of August. The trains to major cities will be very crowded. On the other hand, trains from major cities will be very crowded on August 13. Some of Japanese will start Obon vacation on August 10, Saturday. Anyway please keep that mid August will be very busy in your mind. You must reserve a seat if you travel in this period. Otherwise you have to stand up on the isle or passengers deck in very crowded train.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. Especially JR Group add lots of the extra trains on those above holidays. 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

Schedule of 2014 spring seasonal trains of Japan Railways

"Ohanami" is very popular outside party with viewing cherry blossom.  © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO
“Ohanami” is very popular outside party with viewing cherry blossom. © Y.Shimizu/© JNTO

Spring is the best season to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom. And also between late April and the beginning of May is one of the busiest period. It is called “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. I recommen you to avoid travelling on those days. It’s not surprised if trains are full.

JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during all spring season. Especially JR Group add lots of the extra trains on those above holidays. 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

Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba

Conventional lines platform (front), Shinkansen terminal (back) (C) Outside view of the Shin Osaka station/Ariake

Shin-Osaka station is the place where you change to/from Shinkansen. If you travel in Osaka, you may use this station at least once. All Shikansen trains stop at this station and many limited express trains on conventional lines stop or depart from this station, Shin-Osaka.

In this post, I would like to show you some images and explain about this station. You will get the information about transfer among trains. Continue reading

How to choose Rail Pass for trip in Kyushu. Many choices for both visitors and residents in Japan.

Nagasaki is one of the highlight in Kyushu.
Nagasaki is one of the highlight in Kyushu.

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

Kyushu Shinkansen 2 days unlimited ride ticket for summer vacation. Kid price is only 1000 yen for 2 days!

Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa
Kyushu Shinkansen Tsubasa

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

Kyushu Train Operation status. Closed sections due to heavy rain in mid July, 2012

Ltd exp Yufuin no Mori was suspended, but it is back to normal now. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Ltd exp Yufuin no Mori was suspended, but it is back to normal now. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Revised, August 4,2013 (Japan time) — All closed section has been opened on this day.

Revised, September 24,2012 (Japan time) — I update these following info when the status has been changed. It seems to take a long time to repair the closed sections on Houhi line and Kyudai line.
*All sections are repaired except the section between Miyaji and Bungo-Takeda on Houhi line. Continue reading

The newest JR West rail pass for Sanyo, Kyushu and Shikoku, JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass

Sanyo / Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura and Mizuho are operated by N700 series. (C) JP Rail

*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

My trip to Kyushu, Tohoku and Hokkaido in 5 days.

Thank you for supporting Japan!
Thank you for supporting Japan!

Dear readers,
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

Luxury overnight cruising train trip in Kyushu

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

Kyushu Shinkansen N700 series for Mizuho, Sakura and Tsubame image gallery

N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura when Kyushu Shinkansen was completed. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
N700 series was introduced for Mizuho and Sakura when Kyushu Shinkansen was completed. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

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

Summary of Japan Railway’s timetable revision in March, 2012

Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Overnight limited Express train Nihonkai will be discontinued as a schedule train. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Japan Railway usually revise the timetable every March. Hayabusa on Tohoku Shinkansen, Mizuho and Sakura on Kyushu Shinkansen were introduced in this past March. All JR six companies released the outline of next timetable revision in March 2012. I will show you the outline about this timetable revision.

Overnight train, Nihonkai and Kitaguni will be discontinued as a scheduled train.

I already mentioned this news on Twitter. Now it is officially confirmed. Continue reading

Access to Oita and Beppu from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Sonic

Limited Express Sonic (883 series)
Limited Express Sonic (883 series)

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 trip time

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.

You can check the timetable at JR Kyushu website (English).


View Sonic in a larger map

Stations

Hakata (博多) x
Yoshizuka (吉塚) *
Kashii (香椎) *
Fukuma (福間) *
Togo (東郷) *
Akama (赤間) *
Orio (折尾) x
Kurosaki (黒崎) x
Yahata (八幡) x
Tobata (戸畑) *
Kokura (小倉) x
Shimosone (下曽根) *
Yukuhashi (行橋) x
Unoshima (宇島) *
Nakatsu (中津) x
Yanagigaura (柳ヶ浦) *
Usa (宇佐) *
Kitsuki (杵築) *
Kamegawa (亀川) *
Beppu (別府) x
Oita (大分) x
Tsurusaki (鶴崎) x
Ozai (大在) x
Kosaki (幸崎) x
Usuki (臼杵) x
Tsukumi (津久見) x
Saiki (佐伯) x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop

Accommodation

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 Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

885 series

Limited Express Sonic (885 series)
Limited Express Sonic (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.

Train formation

1 2 3 4 5 6
G R R R NR NR NR

Images
Green seat Sonic 885 series Green seat Sonic 885 series Green seat Sonic 885 series Green seat Sonic 885 series Green seat Sonic 885 series Green seat

Ordinary seat Sonic 885 series Ordinary seat Sonic 885 series Ordinary seat Sonic 885 series Ordinary seat

Sanitary space Sonic 885 series sanitary space Sonic 885 series sanitary space Sonic 885 series sanitary space Sonic 885 series sanitary space Sonic 885 series sanitary space

Common space Sonic 885 series common space Sonic 885 series common space Sonic 885 series common space Sonic 885 series common space Sonic 885 series common space Sonic 885 series common space Sonic 885 series common space

883 series

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.

Train formations

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
G R R R NR NR NR NR

*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on this train.

Images
Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat Sonic 883 series Green seat

Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat Sonic 883 series Ordinary seat

Sanitary space Sonic 883 series sanitary space Sonic 883 series sanitary space Sonic 883 series sanitary space Sonic 883 series sanitary space Sonic 883 series sanitary space

Common space Sonic 883 series common space Sonic 883 series common space Sonic 883 series common space Sonic 883 series common space