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Direct access to Fukuoka (Hakata), Kumamoto, Kagoshima from Osaka. Kyushu Shinkansen

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

Click to enlarge the image of map (C) Hisagi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Click to enlarge the image of map (C) Hisagi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Station Mizuho Sakura Tsubame
Hakata (博多) x x x
Shin-Tosu (新鳥栖) - * x
Kurume (久留米) - * x
Chikugo-Funagoya (筑後船小屋) - * x
Shin-Omuta (新大牟田) - * x
Shin-Tamama (新玉名) - * x
Kumamoto (熊本) x x x
Shin-Yatsushiro (新八代) - * x
Shin-Minamata (新水俣) - * x
Izumi (出水) - * x
Sendai (川内) - * x
Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央) x x x

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.

800 series

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.

1 2 3 4 5 6

R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat

Ordinary seat
Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series
Sanitary space
Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series Kyushu Shinkansen 800 series

N700-7000 series is new fleet to use for Sakura and Mizuho.

N700-7000 series is new fleet to use for Sakura and Mizuho. (C) Mitsuki-2368

N700-7000/8000 series

This type is used for all Mizuho, Sakura that is go through Sanyo Shinaksen and some Tsubame.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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.

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21 Comments to “Direct access to Fukuoka (Hakata), Kumamoto, Kagoshima from Osaka. Kyushu Shinkansen”

  1. Lady Ychow says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    2 of us plan to go to Mt Aso fr Kumamoto on 7 Mar 15 in the early morning but the train time table doesn’t seem to be available. Do you have any departure time between 7am-9am? We are leaving Kumamoto for Kagoshima in the afternoon so need to go early.


  2. Ronnie Poh says:


    If I purchase 2 weeks JR Pass can I use it for the bullet train from Kogoshima to Kumamoto.

    Ronnie Poh

  3. Ronnie Poh says:


    I wish to travel from Kagoshima to Kumamoto by fastest bullet train. Please advise me the time taken and how much does it cost me.

    Ronnie Poh

  4. Caryn says:

    Hi takeshi,

    I will travel to Japan on coming March with my baby.
    I want to go visit my foster parents in kochi town area, Kumamoto.
    My last destination is at Osaka & want to travel to Kumamoto by Shinkansen…
    I would like to ask.. Your recommendation will it be more convenient to travel with Shinkansen direct to Kumamoto or taking a domestic flight to Fukuoka then bus to Kumamoto…
    I’m eager to try out Shinkansen.. But location of the shinkasen train station is it far from airport in Osaka?
    Traveling with baby is quite challenging with I need your advise which will be more convenient for me & most direct n probably…more economical way as well..

    • Hi Caryn,

      Are you going to arrive in Kansai airport (KIX)? If so, Jetstar has direct flight from Kansai to Kumamoto. I think this is the easiest way.

      If you want to take Shinkansen, it takes 1 hour from Kansai airport to Shin-Osaka by express Haruka.

      I don’t recommend to take flight to Fukuoka and take bus to Kumamoto. I think direct flight to Kumamoto or Shinkansen is your option. It’s the easiest for you and your baby.

      I have 5 years old daughter. I understand it’s very challenging.:)


      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • caryn says:

        thanks Takeshi for the input.

        i’m most probably will be taking jetstars japan from osaka to kumamoto.. then, bus/taxi to my foster parents’s house.

        however, i would like to check with you..
        if my flight back to home is at 11 am..
        will shinkasen be a good option to go for..?

        • Hi Caryn,

          Do you mean you will take a flight from Kansai at 11:00 am?
          If so, you cannot reach airport by your flight time. If you take the earliest Shinkansen, you will be there around 10:30. The earliest flight from Fukuoka departs there at 8:00 am and arrive KIX at 9:00. I think this flight is still too late. Because you have to pick up baggage and check in there again.

          As far as I know, you have to stay in Osaka. 11:00 am is too early to get there from Kumamoto.


          Takeshi / JP Rail

          • caryn says:

            Dear Takeshi,

            i meant, my flight at 11 am.. meaning i need to depart from kumamoto as early as 6am * maybe…

            but , anyway.. now, i’ll stay over a night in Osaka to wait my flight back home the next morning at 11am..

            oh… do you have good/baby friendly yet economy hotel nearby the osaka airport to recommend to me? = ) sorry.. if i’m overly request/inquiry on my matter.. =)

            p/s: YEHOOO>>> JAPAN I”M COMING TO YOU~~ hahaha!!

          • Hi Caryn,

            Unfortunately I don’t have any info about hotel in Osaka. My hometown is Osaka and I don’t need to stay in hotel there.

            Enjoy your trip!


            Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Emily Carmy says:

    We will be travel to Japan on March 28.
    Wants to know how can we get to Kagoshima from Wakayama (April 4 )?
    I will buy JR Pass in the US .

  6. Emma says:

    I am trying to figure out how to get to Fukouka airport from Kumamoto gakuen university to get an early flight.
    how early do the trains run?

    • Hi Emma,

      The first Shinkansen departs from Kumamoto at 6:10 and arrive Hakata at 7:00. It takes another 10-15 minutes to get airport from Hakata by subway. So the earliest connection takes you to the airport around 7:30.

      If you cannot take your flight by this train connection, you have to stay overnight in Hakata.

      If you take this earliest connection, I think you have to take taxi from Kumamoto Gakuen to JR Kumamoto station. There are local line and street car in Kumamoto city. But I don’t think it does not run yet because of early morning.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Wong says:

    Greetings from Hong Kong. I am planing a trip from Fukuoka to Kumamoto & Mt Aso area in Sepember. I have been advised by the hotel to travel from Hakata to Kumamoto by bullet train, then book a taxi to guide me around the city & Mt Aso area, another option is to hire a sightseeing taxi from hotel in Fukuoka which might be conveinent and cheaper.

    I would appreciate your advice.

    Thank you.

  8. Cecilia Lee says:

    I am flying from Hong Kong to Fukuoka and will be staying in Kagoshima. Can I take the train from Fukuoka to Kagoshima? Or, is it possible to take a bus/limousine bus from Fukuoka to Kagoshima?

  9. John says:

    Hi again,

    just to clarify… The JR Pass does NOT allow you on the Nozomi without paying full fare.
    However, does the JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass (5 days) allow you to travel on the Nozomi or Mizuhu?


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