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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.

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.

Summery of all available passes

All passes do not include the ticket to Kyushu. These cover the trains in Hokkaido only.

Types Northern Area All Area Remarks
3days 5days 3days 5days
7000 9000 14000 17000 Visitor status with Foreign passport only. Child (6-11yrs) half price
7000 14000 Foreign student status only
Actvie 65 8000 15000 Available for 65 yrs old or older (*some exception)
10500 Available for anyone. Local or rapid trains only

Most of pass have two types, Northern area and All area. Basically All area cover all JR lines in Kyushu island except Sanyo Shinkansen between Kokura and Hakata/Hakata-Minami. Northern area type covers Houhi line between Kumamoto and Oita and to the north of this line. I will explain the details about each passes below.

Kyushu Rail Pass

If you are a foreign tourist and enter in Japan as “temporary visitor”, you are eligible to purchase this pass. The price range is from 3 days Northern area pass at 7,000 yen. The price for child (6 to 11 years old) is half price. It is free for under 5 years old as long as child travel with the adult passenger who have a pass.

Please see the details about Kyushu Rail Pass.

JR Kyushu Foreign Student Pass (JR九州留学生パス)

If you are in Japan as “Exchange Student” or “Student”, you are eligible to purchase Foreign Student Pass. You need t oshow the certificate of alien registration or Residence Card when you purchase. JR Kyushu have only Japanese website about this pass.

JR Kyushu Foreign Student Pass (JR九州留学生パス)

The price is same as Kyushu Rail Pass, Northern area 3 days at 7,000 yen and All area 3 days at 14,000 yen. Rules and conditions are very similar to Kyusuhu Rail Pass. You can take any JR trains in Kyushu except Sanyo Shinkansen between Kokura and Hakata/Hakata-Minami. But this Foreign Student Pass do not cover any reserved seat. (Kyushu Rail Pass does) Most of trains have both reserved and non reserved seat. But you need to pay reserved seat fee when you take the following trains because there is no non reserved seat. And child rate is not available.

This pass do not cover any Green class seat and any JR Bus lines either. But the price is very reasonable. If you have round trip to Kagoshima from Hakata, All area pass much cheaper than single fare. If you have round trip to Kumamoto from Hakata, Northern area pass is much cheaper than single fare. You can find some fare standards in the post about Kyushu Rail Pass. This pass gives you a great deal.

You can purchase this rail pass at most of stations in Kyushu and JR Kyushu travel center in Kyushu. You cannot purchase it in other than Kyushu area.

Actvie 65

SL Hitoyoshi runs between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi is one of the popular cruising train in Kyushu. But you need to pay extra to take it by Active 65 ticket.

This ticket is unlimited Kyushu train ride pass for the residents in Japan. But this pass is not available for anybody. Traveller must be 65 years old or older. Married couple ticket is available also. If husband or wife travel with the traveller who is 65 or older, husband or wife must not be more than 65 years old. But married couple must travel together all time. Only one ticket is issued per couple. Common-law couple can purchase this pass too. The prices are Northern area pass at 16,000 yen and All area pass at 30,000 yen. The prices of couple ticket is just double. Of course child rate is not available.

This pass is very similar to Kyushu Rail Pass. The condition of this pass is different from Kyushu Rail Pass. The biggest difference are the following:

  • Reserved seat can be covered by this pass. But it is up to 6 times and there are some exception. Not unlimited.
  • Reserved seat of Kyushu Shinkansen Mizuho is not covered. You can take non reserved seat, but if you want to take reserved seat, you need to pay full limited express surcharge.
  • SL Hitoyoshi and Panorama seat/Shiroi Kurochan seat on Limited Express Aso Boy! are not covered. Because the reservation ticket fares of these seats are higher than regular reserved seat fare. You need to pay full limited express surcharge when you take these seats by this pass. There is no non reserved seat on these trains.
  • Any Green seat is not covered. But if you pay Green seat supplement, the pass cover basic fare.

This ticket will be sold by March 31, 2013. But you have to complete to use 3 consecutive days by March 31, 2013. So you need to purchase by March 29, 2013. You can start to use this pass at the same time of purchasing.

You can purchase this rail pass at most of stations in Kyushu and JR Kyushu travel center in Kyushu. You cannot purchase it in other than Kyushu area.

Kyushu Mankitsu Kippu (旅名人の九州満喫きっぷ)

Unfortunately there is no unlimited Kyushu train ride pass for anybody. This is only available unlimited ride ticket for anybody. But this ticket is completely different for other above pass. The biggest difference are the following:

  • Only local and rapid trains are covered. The pass does not cover even basic fare when you take express trains.
  • This pass COVER ALL NON JR Lines in Kyushu, such as Nishinihon Railway, Hisatsu Orange Railway,
  • You don’t need to use this pass in 3 consecutive days. You can pick any 3 days in three month since you purchase a ticket.
  • You can even share a ticket with other person. So three person can use a ticket as one day unlimited pass.
  • Torokko train of Minami Aso Railways is not covered by this pass.
  • If you pay reserved seat surcharge, you can take reserved seat of rapid or local trains, such as SL Hitoyoshi and Isaburo/Shinpei.

The price is 10,500 yen. If you use 3 days by yourself, you need to make a plan carefully. But if you share this pass with other two persons, it is much simpler to use. 3,500 yen per person is the cost of your trip. The sample fare standard is the following:

Street car runs in Nagasaki, Kumamoto and Kagoshima.

  • Single fare for one way trip to Kumamoto from Hakata — 2,070 yen
  • Single fare for one way trip to Nagasaki from Hakata — 2,730 yen
  • Single fare for one way trip to Hitoyoshi from Kumamoto — 1,770 yen
  • Single fare for one way trip to Miyazaki from Kagoshima-Chuo — 2,420 yen

As you see the above sample fares, it is not hard to use more than 3,500 yen worth. And the street car is available in several cities in Kyushu and is covered by the pass. It makes you to get your money worth easier.

I understand this ticket is not suitable to anybody. But it may be your choice when you travel in Kyushu.

This ticket was started to sell on April 1, 2012. JR Kyushu have not announced the end of sales. The ticket can be purchased at most of stations in Kyushu and JR Kyushu travel center in Kyushu. You can use this ticket for Fukuoka subway technically. But when you arrive at Fukuoka airport, you cannot purchase a ticket at the airport. So you need to purchase a single ticket to get JR Kyushu Hakata station first.

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

  1. lily says:

    Please assist me regarding my trip in Kyushu. I arrive into Fukuoka airport at 19.30 and this is my itinery. Stay 1 nite in Fukuoka.

    I will buy5 days North Kyushu pass to go Kumamoto, Aso, Beppu Yufuin, Kagoshima and back to Fukuoka. Can this pass be use on Kyushu odan bus ? I also like to take special train to see nice scenery do I need to buy Sun Q pass? I will return to Fukuoka, please teach me is it better to end my travel in Kagoshima and then take train or bus back to Fukuoka? how many hours is the travelling time?

    Thank you

  2. Afia Fatin says:

    Hello. I have a question regarding the JR Kyushu Foreign Student Pass. Can we use it for 3 non consecutive days? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

    P/s : Your website have been very helpful to me. Thank you very much and keep up the good work! =)

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Afia,

      Thanks for your comment about my website. I’m very happy that my website help you to plan your trip.

      This pass is available for 3 consecutive days. Once you have to start to use it, you have to finish in 3 days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

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  • I am not a travel agent. Please do not ask me to make an itinerary. I can check your itinerary and give you suggestion. I think making an itinerary is a part of your travel. Please try to make it by yourself. Enjoy! :)
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  • If you are looking for the information about timetable, please refer Japan Railway's timetables.
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  • If you are looking for the information about reservation, please refer, How to reserve seat.
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