Kyushu Area Pass user guide. The best deal to travel Kyushu by train.

Kyushu Area
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Kusasenri at Mt.Aso can be accessed by Aso or Miyaji station on Houhi line. ©JNTO

If you will travel in Kyushu only, JR Kyushu sells Kyushu Area Pass which offers unlimited train travel at very affordable price. There are four types of passes, All Kyushu, Northern Kyushu, Southern Kyushu and Fukuoka Wide. You can choose one of these four types by your trip plan.

In this post, I show you the details about all types of Kyushu Area Pass. And I will compare Kyushu Rail Pass and a regular fare. You may find the way to get the worth of the pass.

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Types and prices

Kyushu Area Pass have four types, All area pass, Northern area pass, Southern area pass and Fukuoka wide pass. Each types have 3-day and 5-day. I would like to compare these prices and single fare.

Types/Price5-day3-day2-day
All area18,330 yen
Child 9,160 yen
15,280 yen
Child 7,640 yen
Northern10,190 yen
Child 5,090 yen
8,660 yen
Child 4,330 yen
Southern7,500 yen
Child 3,750 yen
Fukuoka
Wide
3,060 yen
Child 1,530 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) rate is half price. Under 6 years is free.

e.g.
If you start to use 3-day pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 3.

Coverage area

Kyushu Area Pass coverage area

Kyushu Area Pass All area type covers all JR lines in Kyushu island except Sanyo Shinkansen between Kokura and Hakata/Hakata-Minami. This segment of Sanyo Shinkansen runs in Kyushu. But this is operated by JR West which is a different company from JR Kyushu.

Northern Kyushu area pass coverage area (blue shaded area)

Northern Kyushu Area Pass covers Nagasaki, Aso, Yufuin, Beppu, Kumamoto, Oita, Sasebo, Huis Ten Bosch and Hakata.

Southern Kyushu Area Pass coverage area (red shaded area)

Southern Kyushu Area Pass covers Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima.

Kyushu Area Pass Fukuoka Wide coverage area (yellow shaded area)

Kyushu Area Pass Fukuoka Wide covers Hakata, Kokura and surrounding area.

Hotels in Nagasaki
Hotels in Aso
Hotels in Yufuin
Hotels in Beppu

How to buy Kyushu Area Pass

You may purchase either a travel agent or online before coming to Japan. You also can purchase a pass at the station after you arrive in Japan. The price is same between online, travel agent and station.

If you buy a travel agent, most JR Pass authorized agent sell Kyushu Area Pass too. Please see the link below to find the list of the authorized agent:

JR Pass authorized travel agent list

If you want to buy it online, there are many choices. One of JR Kyushu authorized agents is Klook. It is one of major online sites to sell many tickets:

Kyushu Area Pass from 7,500 yen (book at Klook)

ACP Rail is one of major train ticket online site. It is the authorized retailer of JR East too:

Kyushu Area Pass (book at ACP Rail)

Validity

Kyushu Area Pass does not cover any JR bus lines, city bus, private railway, tram and subway. The condition of Kyushu Area Pass is similar to JR Pass. But JR Pass does not cover Mizuho on Kyushu Shinkansen. Kyushu Rail Pass covers Mizuho.

Kyushu Area Pass covers a reserved seat fee and a base fare. Green seat pass is not available. If you want to take a seat in Green car, you have to pay full fare of seat fee. Kyushu Rail Pass covers only a base fare.

e.g.
Hakata – Nagasaki
the base fare 2,810 yen
Ordinary reserved seat fee 1,900 yen
Gree seat fee 2,950 yen

Kyushu Area Pass covers 2,810 yen base fare and 1,900 yen Ordinary reserved seat fee. If you take a Green seat, you have to pay 2,950 yen. The extra charge is not 1,050 yen (2,950 yen – 1,900 yen) which is the difference of Green seat and Ordinary seat.

Compare Kyushu Area Pass and a regular fare

Before I compare the prices, I would like to show you some regular fares. This fare includes a limited express reserved seat fee and a basic fare. You can find how much you have to use to get the worth of the pass:

Departure
station
Arrival
station
Approximate
Fare
HakataKumamoto5,300 yen
HakataKagoshima
Chuo
10,600 yen
KumamotoKagoshima
Chuo
7,000 yen
HakataNagasaki4,800 yen
HakataSasebo4,000 yen
HakataBeppu or
Oita
5,900 yen
HakataYufuin4,700 yen
OitaMiyazaki6,200 yen
Kagoshima
Chuo
Miyazaki4,500 yen
NobeokaMiyazaki3,300 yen

And the following faretable shows you a base fare and a limited express non reserved seat fee. You may use this faretable for Fukuoka Wide pass

Departure
station
Arrival
station
Approximate
Fare
HakataKokura2,000 yen
HakataKurume1,500 yen

If you have a round trip to Kagoshima-Chuo from Hakata, you can get the worth of 5-day All Kyushu Area Pass. Northern Kyushu Area Pass is cheaper than a round trip fare for Hakata to Kumamoto. Southern Kyushu Area Pass is available for 3-day only. But the price is almost same as Kumamoto to Kagoshima-Chuo by Shinkansen one way fare. In summary, it is quite easy to get the worth of these passes.

Kyushu Area Pass Fukuoka Wide is a bit different from other Kyushu Area Pass. It does not cover a reserved seat fee. You have to take a seat in non reserved car. Shinkansen is not covered. However it is easy to get the worth as well. If you make a round trip to Kokura or Mojiko, it is paid off.

Seat reservation

As I mentioned above, Kyushu Area Pass Fukuoka Wide does not cover a reserved seat fee. Other Kyushu Area Pass covers a reserved seat fee. But there is a maximum limit.

5-day3-day
16 times10 times

As long as you travel normally, this is enough. You cannot reach the maximum number of booking. But if you reach the maximum number and you cannot book a seat any more, you still can take a seat on non reserved seat car. Your seat is not secured and you may not be able to get a seat. You have to stand up in the train.

Compare Kyushu Area Pass and Japan Rail Pass

Kyushu Area Pass is a perfect choice for the tourist who travel in Kyushu island only and fly in and out Kyushu. But if you go other areas, like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, you should make sure a total cost. I will show you some samples.

Round trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima on Kyushu Area Pass

It is one hour away from Hakata by Shinkansen. If you go to Hiroshima by Shinkansen, the round trip fare is 8,940 x 2 = 17,880 yen.

You may add Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass which is cheaper than a regular fare.

Kansai area and Kyushu trip

You can fly between Osaka and Fukuoka or other airports in Kyushu. You can use Kyushu Rail Pass in this case. You can use other deal in Kansai area:

Kansai ticket guide

But if you take a train between Osaka and Kyushu, you may use other choice. If you travel only northern part of Kyushu, Sanyo-Sanin Area Pass and Northern Kyushu Area Pass are recommended.

If you travel all part of Kyushu, JR Pass is recommended:

I hope this post will help you to travel in Kyushu area!

Comments

  1. niki says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    Really appreciate your advice.
    Would it be more economical to buy the 7 day JR pass & 3 day northern kyushu pass for below trip?
    Kumamoto -1 day
    Beppu-1 day
    Kurokawa-1 day
    Osaka/Kyoto-4days
    Tokyo-3 days

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Niki,

      I think you can use only 7 days JR pass from departing Kumamoto to arriving Tokyo. Can you reach Tokyo in 7 days after you leave Kumamoto?
      If you explore just downtown Tokyo after you arrive in Tokyo, you don’t need to have JR pass. Subway pass or even single fare is fine.

      If you cannot make it in 7 days, you can use JR pass. But I don’t think you need to have northern Kyushu bus. You have to take a bus to Kurokawa that is not covered by this pass. And there are some bus service available from Kurokawa to Hakata.
      https://www.kurokawaonsen.or.jp/eng_new/access/

      But I’m not very familiar with bus so not 100% sure it’s the best choice for you or not.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi –
    Really confused and badly need your help. We are staying for 21 days and exploring the following:
    6 days Kansai area, Osaka based (I plan to buy icoca + Hakata)
    7 days Northern Kyushu
    5 days Nagano, Gifu, Nagoya
    3 days Back to Osaka-Kansai area

    I’m planning to buy icoca/Hakata to use during my first 6 days in Kansai Area. Then buy a 14 days JR pass to bring me to the rest of the places. Is this the most economical way to use Train passes? Mao

  3. Wobb says:

    Hi Takeshi-San,

    got a question again.

    I’m planning to use JR Kyushu Northern Area Pass on my upcoming trip in December.

    Am I understand correctly that the Kyushu Northern area pass cover as far south as Kumamoto?

    what if I would like to travel beyond Kumamoto on the Kyushu Shinkansen line?

    for example, if I want to take a trip from Hakata to Kumamoto in the morning, then to Minamata in the afternoon. then in the evening travel from Minamata straight back to Hakata.

    My understanding is that the Hakata – Kumamoto would be just normal use of the pass, then from Kumamoto to Minamata I should buy a single ticket.

    Then want about the trip from Minamata to Hakata? Can I reserve seat on Kyushu Shinkansen all the way from Minamata, paying the difference for the Minamata – Kumamoto section?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Wobb san,

      On the way back to Hakata, you can purchase single ticket and Shinkansen surcharge ticket for Minamata-Kumamoto.
      I am not 100% sure, but you may get same seat on same train to Hakata. When you purchase Northern Kyushu Pass, I recommend you to purchase this ticket too. I think this is the easiest way and station staff can understand the situation easily.

      Cheers,

      Taekshi / JP Rail

  4. Lukas says:

    Dear Takeshi san
    Thank you for your earlier reply. I have plans to go to either Yufuin or Beppu on a day trip from Fukuoka. I note your advice that the JR Kyushu pass cannot be used on the Sanyo Shinkansen. However, what about say the Nozomi Shinjansen to Kokura? Is that covered by the pass?
    Of course, based on my check on hyperdia I think the fastest way to get there is to take a Limited Express train instead of shinkansen to Kokura and changing trains at the station.
    I am also wondering if Yufuin or Beppu is a better destination for family, if we just want to sight see.
    Thank you for maintaining this website, it is a wonderful resource!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Lukas,

      Kyushu Pass does not cover any Shinkansen trains to Kokura. Sanyo Shinkansen is line’s name. Nozomi is train’s name on Sanyo/Tokaido Shinkansen. So you can’t take any Shinkansen trains between Hakata and Kokura by Kyushuu Rail Pass.

      I think Beppy is more family friendly. Yufuin is very nice. But it’s a bit more adult oriented. Beppy is more commercial and bigger, but it’s more kids friendly.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Lukas says:

    Dear Takeshi-san
    I will be visiting Kyushu at the end of this month & intend to purchase a 5-day northern Kyushu pass. Will be able to use it to take the Kyushu shinkansen to Kumamoto, and return subseuqently?
    Thank you.

  6. Audrey says:

    Takeshi,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. I understand the basics of making reservations. But I also think that there is a small loop hole in the system.

    You can buy just the reserved seat portion of a trip. You can also get a (partial) refund on this portion of the ticket. Since the cost of the seat reservation is refundable and since JR Pass holders do not have to pay for the seat reservation fee it seems like one would be able to make reservations, present the JR Pass, and then get a partial refund.

    Could I buy the seat reservations, cancel the reservations, then re-reserve the seats using the pass? Surely I can’t be the only person in Japan willing to make reservations on behalf of a pass holder. Has anyone done this before?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi Audrey,

      Technically you can do it. But you have to pay cancellation charge.
      before 2 days 320 yen
      after 2 days 30%

      I understand Japan Rail Pass includes it. But basically when you or your friend purchase a ticket, you have to have a pass or exchange order. And also once you cancel your ticket, someone will take it. In the system, your ticket will be put on the system anyway. And then you have to book again. It will be meaningless.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Audrey says:

    Is the JR Kyushu pass like the JR pass? Do you have to buy a voucher in a foreign country, then exchange the voucher for a ticket in Japan?

    If that is the case, is it possible for a person in Japan to make reservations for someone that purchased a JR Kyushu pass voucher? My parents will be visiting around Golden Week and I want to reserve our seats a full month in advance. However, will I be able to do this for my parents before they exchange the voucher for the actual ticket?

    Will I have to pay for my parents’ reservation fee in order to make advance reservations? If so, can this fee be refunded once they arrive and can show their JR Kyushu passes?

    Lastly, they will arrive at Fukuoka airport at 9 pm. Will any of the exchange sites for the voucher be open that late? We do not live near Fukuoka so exchanging the vouchers that night is likely our only option.

  8. Jessie Soon
    Jessie says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to ask, does this Kyushu Pass include charges like unreserved seats? Because I was checking the fare for train in hyperdia, and I saw that there are charges even for unreserved seats. Does this mean that even if I bought this Kyushu Pass, but I still need to pay for seats charges?

    Thank you!

  9. May says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    I am going to Fukoka / Hakata for 5 days in mid-January and would like to purchase a 3-day Northern Kyushu JR Pass.

    Can I purchase the pass after I arrive in Japan or do I have to purchase it in my home country before leaving for Japan?

    I know that the regular JR Pass must be purchaed outside Japan, but this JR Kyushu website seems to imply I can purchase it in Japan. http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/railpass.html

    Many thanks for your help.

  10. Prisanti Putri – Indonesia. Falls in love with words and colors. Have a nice day :)
    ivy says:

    Hi, Takeshi!

    I’m interested in buying Northern Kyushu Rail Pass. But I want to ask about your statement that “The fastest train on Kyushu Shikansen, ‘Mizuho’ is covered by Kyushu Rail Pass.” Can I take Mizuho to travel between Hakata and Shin-Osaka? I get confused because the designated area in Kyushu Rail Pass clearly shows the Kyushu area only, but they let you ride on Mizuho.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      JPRail says:

      Hi ivy,

      No, you can’t. You can take Mizuho only between Hakata and Kumamoto (Northern area) or Kagoshima-Chuo (All area). I mean if you use Japan Rail Pass, Mizuho is not covered at all.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

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