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.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Area

There are two types of pass available, Sanyo-Shikoku-All Kyushu ver and Sanyo-Shikoku-Northern Kyushu ver. Both All Kyushu and Northern Kyushu cover all JR lines in Shikoku and Sanyo area where is between Osaka and Hakata. As you guess, All Kyushu ver. cover all lines in Kyushu and Northern Kyushu ver. cover all JR lines in north part of Kyushu. Please refer the following links to see the area:

Sanyo-Shikoku-Northern Kyushu ver official page.
Sanyo-Shikoku-All Kyushu ver official page.

If you have Sanyo-Shikoku-All Kyushu ver pass, you can go most of places in Kyushu and Shikoku, and Okayama, Hiroshima and Miyajima. But this pass still has the same problem as existing JR West Sanyo Area Pass. The problem is that the pass do not cover Kyoto and Nara. I have no idea why JR West do not include these popular destination. Even though I don’t recommend to use JR lines to go to Kyoro, the pass should include Kyoto and Nara.

Anyway, you need to pay extra if you want to go to Kyoto and Nara. Please see my post, How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area to get the details about the pass in Kansai area.

Valid period

This pass was started to sell on April 10, 2012. Now you can purchase and use this pass in all year round.

Sunrise Seto / Sunrise Izumo
Technically you can take Nobi Nobi sear of overnight train Sunrise Seto from Takamatsu in Shikoku by this pass. But this train goes to Tokyo. It is not realistic to use this train.

Valid trains

You can get on any trains’ reserved seat. Even Nozomi and Mizuho that are not covered by Japan Rail Pass are covered by this pass. Green seat pass is not available. If you want to take a Green seat, you have to pay Green seat surcharge and express surcharge too. There is no overnight train in the area where is covered by this pass. So this pass is available for only daytime train only.

Price

Duration is fixed at 5 consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night. The prices are the following:

Types Adult Child
(6-11 yers)
JR Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass
Sanyo-Shikoku-Northern Kyushu ver.
22,640 yen 11,320 yen
JR Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass
Sanyo-Shikoku-All Kyushu ver.
25,720 yen 12,860 yen

These prices are very attractive. Because if you have a round trip between Shin Osaka and Hakata by Shinkansen Nozomi/Mizuho, the single fare is 29,780 yen! It is cheaper than All Kyushu ver. pass! But if you have only Shin Osaka and Hakata round trip, existing JR West Sanyo Area Pass is available at 20,000 yen for 4 days. So if you go to Kyushu from Osaka, you can get your money worth anyway.

In case that you go to Shikoku, you can still get your money worth easily. Please see the sample fares below:

Round trip for Shin Osaka-(Shinkansen Nozomi/Mizuho)-Okayama-(Ltd Exp Shiokaze)-Matsuyama — 22,140 yen
Round trip for Shin Osaka-(Shinkansen Nozomi/Mizuho)-Okayama-(Ltd Exp Nanpu)-Kochi — 20,880 yen
Round trip for Shin Osaka-(Shinkansen Nozomi/Mizuho)-Okayama-(Ltd Exp Uzushio)-Tokushima — 19,920 yen

You can get your money worth of Northern Kyushu pass for even Shin Osaka-Matsuyama round trip. Even if you don’t have any plan to go to Kyushu and just travel to Shikoku from Osaka, use Northern Kyushu Pass at 22,000 yen.

And also this pass do not cover Kyoto and Nara. But you can use this pass for the transfer between Kansai airport and Osaka. One way trip fare from Kansai Airport to Shin Osaka by Limited Express Haruka is 2,470 yen. If you arrive in Kansai airport, you can get your money worth easily.

Compare JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass and other passes

If you travel in Kyushu and/or Shikoku from Osaka, this JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass is the best choice for you. But if you travel in only Kyushu or travel only from Osaka to Hakata, you need to consider about other passes.

Compare JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass and JR Kyushu Rail Pass

The only difference is area that the pass cover. Kyushu Rail Pass cover JR lines in Kyushu area only. And also Kyushu Rail Pass do not cover Sanyo Shinkansen between Hakata and Kokura. Sanyo Shinkansen is owned by JR West. But this pass is managed by JR Kyushu. So even though this section is in Kyushu, it is not covered by JR Kyushu Rail Pass.

I show you all adult prices and compare among these passes.

Area Type 3 days 5 days
Northern Kyushu Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass N/A 22,000 yen
Kyushu Rail Pass 7,000 yen 9,000 yen
All Kyushu Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass N/A 25,000 yen
Kyushu Rail Pass 14,000 yen 17,000 yen

If you arrive/depart in Fukuoka and travel in Kyushu only, your choice is Kyushu Rail Pass obviously. However if you trip to somewhere outside of Kyushu, you need to consider about JR Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass. For example, if you want to go to Hiroshima from Hakata, round trip fare by Shinkansen is 17,400 yen. Please look at the difference. The biggest difference is 15,000 yen between Northern Kyushu Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu 5 days and Norther Kyushu Area Pass 3 days. This biggest difference is still smaller than single fare. If you trip from Hakata to farther than Hiroshima, Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Rail Pass is the right choice.

Compare JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass and JR Sanyo Area Pass

Sanyo Area Pass cover only Kansai airport-Osaka-Okayama-Hiroshima-Hakata only. If you go to Hakata, Hiroshima or Miyajima from Osaka or Kansai airport only, this pass is the right choice. But if you want to have even small trip in Kyushu or Shikoku, Sanyo Area Pass is not your choice anymore. Look at the price difference between Sanyo Areal Pass 4 days (20,000 yen) and Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass Northern Kyushu 5 days (22,000 yen). It is only 2,000 yen.

If you have a small trip to Takamatsu in Kyushu from Okayama in Sanyo area, just round trip basic fare (by local train) is 2,940 yen. This small trip makes you get your money worth. We have same situation in Kyushu too. If you have a trip to Nagasaki from Hakata, just round trip basic fare (by local train) is 5,460 yen. You don’t need to think about the combination of Sanyo Area Pass and single ticket. Sanyo Area Pass do not have a great deal.

Conclusion

As I mentioned to you, this pass is useless for sightseeing in Kansai, like Kyoto and Nara. However, if you think about trip to Kyushu or/and Shikoku from Osaka, this pass can be your choice. I think JR lines is the best way to explore in Kyoto and Nara. Please see the details about the rail pass in Kansai at “How to choose discount railway ticket and pass in Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara) area”.

If you travel in both Kansai area and Kyushu/Shikoku, you can travel to Kyushu and/or Shikoku at the first part of your itinerary. Because you can use this pass for the trip from Kansai airport to Osaka area. If you still have a time after arrival, you can go Hiroshima, Hakata, somewhere in Kyushu or Shikoku. You can save your days of the pass. After you finish your travel in Kyushu and/or Shikoku, stay in Osaka or Kyoto or somewhere in Kansai and enjoy your trip there by other Kansai rail passes.

When you think about the combination of Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Area Pass and other Kansai Rail Passes, don’t forget that Japan Rail Pass 7 days is 28,300 yen. Your total cost (Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Area Pass and other Kansai Rail Passes) may be higher than 28,300 yen. However, even if your total cost is higher than Japan Rail Pass 7 days, Japan Rail Pass may not be your right choice. Because you may spend your budget for some transfer that is not covered by Japan Rail Pass, such as Kyoto subway and bus services. Please read my post, “Japan Rail Pass is the best way to explore Kyoto? How to use Japan Rail Pass in Kyoto“.

10 thoughts on “The newest JR West rail pass for Sanyo, Kyushu and Shikoku, JR Sanyo Shikoku Kyushu Rail Pass”

  1. hi,
    Thanx for the very useful info. anyhow I still cant decide to whether I will need JR Pass or buy Willer Bus Pass + combine some local pass ones.
    Basically I wanna go to
    Osaka /Kyoto
    Kobe
    Nara
    Hiroshima
    I dont mind skipping Osaka/ Kyoto coz I was there last time.
    But I will also need to be in Tokyo for Fujisan Marathon. and because the race is on November 27 and my flight back is on Nov 30, I think I’ll be in Tokyo and around for the last four days.
    So, do you think the JR pass is worth it? thanx anyway

        1. Hi Ina,

          If you are sure to visit Hiroshima, 14 days JR pass will work. If you can complete Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima in 7 days, that will be much better and you can get a big saving because you need only 7 days pass.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. I was looking at the Sanyo + Kyushu North Pass and it was initially VERY attractive. Unfortunately, it’s not available to ANY Japanese citizens, even if they are permanent residents in another country and are accompanying a foreign spouse. The HUGE benefit is being able to ride Nozomi and Mizuho trains. Sakura services usually only run hourly, so being able to book Nozomi can mean saving a lot of time. The Trip to Hakata is also 15 minutes faster and there is a direct train (Mizuho) to Kagoshima!

    The GOOD news is that the KYUSHU only pass can be purchased by Japanese citizens (assuming they can prove residency in another country and have proof that they are visiting Japan.

    So, we will Japan Rail Pass and ride Sakura. Our itinerary is:
    Osaka – Hakata
    Hakata – Yufuin
    Yufuin – Beppu
    Beppu – Hiroshima
    Hiroshima – Osaka

    This would normally cost ¥45,000 so we’re still saving.

    As for Kyoto and Nara, I have always found the Kintetsu line FAR more convenient. Better station locations and cheaper.

  3. I just got back from Japan. I used my 7 day rail pass and had 2 trips on the Nozomi. I understand that this is not possible, but the JR personnel booked me on the Nozomi. Of course I did not pay anything extra.

  4. This new pass still has one aspect which I cannot understand. Why is the whole of the JR West network not included, for instance Sanin.

    My Wife and I will be touring the Japan Sea coast area of Chugoku next week, Hence for us the 7 day JR pass made more sense, If however the Sanyo, Kyushu, Shikoku pass became the JRwest, JR kyshu, JR shikoku pass it would make more sense.

    1. Hi Andy,
      I agree with you. And also Kanazawa and Hokuriku region are in JR West network too. JR East have the pass that include whole of their area. Why JR West cannot do same thing?
      But JR West had only two passes, Sanyo area pass and Kansai area pass. Now they are trying to do new things. I hope they keep trying to expand their market and release another rail passes.
      Cheers,
      Takeshi / JP Rail

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