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