If you will travel in Kyushu only, JR Kyushu offers unlimited train travel at very reasonable rate. This offer, Kyushu Rail Pass should be the best choice for you. JR Kyushu sells two types of passes, All Kyushu Pass and Northern Kyushu Pass. If you travel in only northern area of Kyushu, you can get much better deal. But if you travel in other cities and areas, even just staying in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, you may consider about other passes. You should compare and make sure which one is more suitable for you.
In this post, I show you the details about both Kyushu Rail Pass All area type and Kyushu Rail Pass Northern area type. And I will compare Kyushu Rail Pass and Japan Rail Pass. And I check the difference between Kyushu Rail Pass and JR Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass as well.
Covered area by Kyushu Rail Pass
Kyushu Rail Pass All area type covers all JR lines in Kyushu island except Sanyo Shinkansen between Kokura and Hakata/Hakata-Minami. This line exists in Kyushu island. But this is operated by JR West. Kyushu Rail Pass is offered by different company, JR Kyushu. That is reason why Sanyo Shinkansen is not covered by this pass.
Kyushu Rail Pass Northern area type covers Houhi line between Kumamoto and Oita and to the north of this line. So you cannot go to the south of Kumamoto, to the south of Oita, and anywhere in Miyazaki and Kagoshima by this pass. On the other hand, you don’t have any problem with going to Nagasaki, Aso, Yufuin, Beppu, Kumamoto, Oita, Sasebo, Huis Ten Bosch and off course, Hakata.
Once you step out to the east from Moji that is the border station, that means you step out form covered area, Kyushu. You need to pay extra.
Valid trains and bus lines
The rule of Kyushu Rail Pass is very similar to Japan Rail Pass. But there are some difference.
- Kyushu Rail Pass does not cover any JR bus lines. JR Pass covers some lines.
- The fastest train on Kyushu Shikansen, “Mizuho” is covered by Kyushu Rail Pass. JR Pass does not.
- No Green Pass, only Ordinary type is available. JR Pass have Green type and Ordinary type.
First of all, there are not many bus lines available in Kyushu area. So I don’t think this is a disadvantage.
Next, regarding Green car, if you want to use Green car, you need to pay not only Green car supplement but also Limited Express surcharge. Limited Express surcharge is included in the pass. So you need to pay a big extra when you take Green. Green car accommodation on some of Kyushu trains have very good reputation. I really wish JR Kyushu sells Green type pass too.
This pass do not cover any overnight trains either. But there is no available overnight trains both in Kyushu and Tokyo/Osaka connected trains. So it does not mean anything.
Types and prices
Kyushu Rail Pass have two types, All area pass and Northern area pass. Each types have 3 days and 5 days. I would like to compare these prices and single fare.
|Types||All area||Northern area|
|3 days||14,000 yen||7,000 yen|
|5 days||17,000 yen||9,000 yen|
The passes must be used in consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night. Child (6-11 years) is half price. Under 6 years is free.
ex) If you start to use 3 days pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 3.
Before I compare the prices, I would like to show you some regular fare standards (Limited Express reserved seat surcharge and basic fare):
- One way trip from Hakata to Kumamoto by Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura/Tsubame — 4,990yen
- One way trip from Hakata to Kagoshima-Chuo by Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura/Tsubame — 11,170yen
- One way trip from Kumamoto to Kagoshima-Chuo by Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura/Tsubame — 6,760yen
- One way trip from Hakata to Nagasaki by Limited Express Kamome — 4,580 yen
- One way trip from Hakata to Sasebo or Huis Ten Bosch by Limited Express Midori/Huis Ten Bosch — 3,770 yen
- One way trip from Hakata to Beppu or Oita by Limited Express Sonic — 5,420 yen
- One way trip from Hakata to Yufuin by Limited Express Yufuin no Mori/Yufu — 4,430 yen
- One way trip from Oita to Miyazaki by Limited Express Nichirin — 5,830 yen
- One way trip from Miyazaki to Kagoshima-Chuo by Limited Express Kirishimas — 4,120 yen
- One way trip from Kumamoto to Miyaji (Mt. Aso) by Limited Express Aso Boy! — 2,380 yen
If you have round trip to Kagoshima-Chuo from Hakata, it is already more expensive than All Area 5 days pass. How about Northern Area Pass? Even Hakata to Kumamoto round trip fare is more expensive than 5 days pass. This pass can be used for a small trip too. If you have a trip to Nagasaki for 2 nights from Hakata, you can use Northern Area 3 days pass. It is way cheaper than single fare.
These passes give you such a great deal!
Compare Kyushu Rail Pass and Japan Rail Pass
Kyushu Rail Pass is a perfect choice for the tourist who travel in Kyushu island only and fly in and out Kyushu, such as Fukuoka. But if you go other areas, like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, you should make sure a total cost. Japan Rail Pass may be cheaper. I show you some samples.
Extra fare for round trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima on Kyushu Rail Pass
Hiroshima is the closest city in well known sightseeing spots in Japan. It is one hour away from Hakata by Shinkansen. Hiroshima cannot be accessed by Kyushu Rail Pass. If you go to Hiroshima by Shinkansen, round trip fare is 8,700 x 2 = 17,400 yen.
You may add Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass. That is much cheaper choice.
In case of staying in Tokyo or Osaka and fly to Kyushu
Mostly combination of Kyushu Rail Pass and extra cost for airport access is cheaper than Japan Rail Pass minimum price, 28,400 yen. First of all, Let’s check the fare for airport access in Tokyo and Osaka.
- Single fare for one way trip to Tokyo from Narita Airport by Narita Express — 2,940 yen
- N’EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket — 4,000 yen
- Single fare for one way trip to Shinagawa from Haneda Airport by Keihin Kyuko — 400 yen
- Single fare for one way trip to Hamamatsucho from Haneda Airport by Tokyo Monorail — 470 yen
- Single fare for one way trip to Shin-Osaka from Kansai Airport by Limited Express Haruka — 2,980 yen
- Round trip ICOCA and Haruka — 4,000 yen
If you arrive at Haneda and depart from Haneda for Kyushu, you don’t spend much for access. But you need to spend at least 1,000 yen. And also you need to think about the fare for sightseeing. If you purchase Suica and Monorail, it includes round trip by Monorail and 1,500 yen e-money preloaded. You can use local JR line to explore in Tokyo. Even if you will spend some more, this deals and Kyushu Pass combination is much cheaper than Japan Rail Pass.
If you arrive at Narita and depart from Narita, you may spend about 5,000 to 6,000 yen. But there is N’EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket at 4000 yen. It is much cheaper than regular fare. The highest price of Kyushu Rail Pass is 17,000 yen. If you add Narira access extra cost on Kyushu Rail Pass 17,000 yen, it is still cheaper than Japan Rail Pass 7 days 28,400 yen.
If you arrive at Kansai and depart from Kansai, ICOCA and Haruka is available. It includes round trip by Haruka and 1,500 yen preloaded e-money in ICOCA. It is same story as Narita. This extra and Kyushu pass combination is cheaper than JR Pass.
Unless you use trains many many times in Tokyo or Osaka, Japan Rail Pass in not your choice. Of course if you arrive Narita or Haneda and then go to Kyushu by train, Japan Rail Pass is your choice.