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

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

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.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

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. Gerald Schuller, Vienna says:

    Dear Takeshi!

    i have a problem concerning my “all kyushu area pass” voucher. my travel agent just told me ,that exchanging the voucher for a valid rail pass is only possible at certain kyushu railway stations – wich makes things very difficult for me.

    we are a group of seven people arriving on the 7th of august with plenty of time to arrange things in tokyo.

    the next day we take a direct flight to yakushima. that means we will have no access to a JR kyushu ticket office for a the rest of the week. after that, we want to continue our trip by sakura shinkansen from kagoshima to hakata.

    i´m deeply worried that we won´t be able to reserve seats on the same day we get off the ferry! Is there any possibility to exchange our “kyushu all area” vouchers on the day of arrival somewhere in Tokyo? Is there any other solution to my problem?

    many thanks in advance, geri

  2. AJ says:

    Hi Takeshi
    Is Mojiko Retro Train Shiokaze-go covered by JR Kyushu North Pass?

    Regards

  3. AJ says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I tried to post this in the forum, but can’t find the post, not sure if it was sucessful, so decide to repost in this forum which is more appropriate.

    I will be in Kyushu for full 16 day. I would like to seek your advice if below itinerary is the most efficient use of time and JR pass. Could you also advise the best combination use of North and South Kyushu pass and SUNQ pass.

    I have read through all you postings under Kyushu. It really helps me in planning as I will be following quite closely.

    Reach Fukuoka at 8am- Nagasaki (1 night)
    Nagasaki- Mount Unzen- Nagasaki (1 night)
    Nagasaki- Shimabara, take the Ferry to Kumamoto-Yufuin- Mount Yufu/ explore town and onsen (1 night)
    Yufuin- Kuju Mountain- Yufuin (1 night)
    Yufuin- Beppu/ Oita (1 night)
    (Which stretch should I take Yufuin no Mori?)
    Beppu/ Oita-Aoshima- Sun Messe-Michi no eki phoenix-Udo Jingu- Obi- Aoshima (1 night)
    Miyazaki- Nobeoka (Takachicho Gorge)- Miyazaki- Aoshima (1 night)
    Aoshima- Kagoshima- Shiroyama Observatory/ Sakurajima/ Dolphin Port/ Tenmonkan (1 night)
    Kagoshima- Yakushima Island (2 nights)
    Kagoshima- Kaimondake hike- Ibusuki- Kagoshima (1 night)
    (Possible to take Ibusuki no Tamatebako?)
    Kagoshima- Kirishima- Kagoshima (1 night)
    Kagoshima- Yoshimatsu (Hayato no Kaze )- Hitoyoshi (Isaburo/ Shinpei )- Kumamoto (Kawasemi Yamasemi)- Fukuoka (Shinkansen)
    Is this doable within one day?
    Day trip to Kitakyushu
    Day trip to Dazaifu and Yanagawa (optional)

    Thank you in advance!

  4. Yap Yen says:

    Hi, one question:

    Does the JR Northern Kyushu pass cover the JR Hohi line from Kumamoto?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Yap Yen,

      It’s covered by this pass. But you cannot reach to Mt. Aso because this segment has been closed since earthquake hit Kumamoto in last year.
      Currently the segment between Higo-Otsu (outside Kumamoto) and Aso is closed. The damage is huge. At this point, JR Kyushu has not announced how long it will recover this segment. I don’t think it will open in this year.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • LCL says:

        Hi Takeshi,

        For the Higo-Otsu to Aso rail segment, since it is currently closed, are there any bus replacement for the Higo-Otsu to Aso segment? If yes, can we use the Northern Kyushu Rail Pass for the bus ride between Higo-Otsu and Aso?

        Please advise, thanks.

        LCL

        • Hi LCL,

          As far as I know, even bus service is suspended because the primary bridge was destroyed and not recovered yet. If you use Kyushu rail pass to get Aso, you need to get from Beppu/Oita.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail

  5. NinaJan says:

    Hi, I’m traveling to Osaka this coming march. But I will make a short trip to Hakata. From Osaka – Himeji – Hiroshima – Hakata. May I know is the Sanyo San’in Pass enough to cover all these place? If I would like to extend my trip to Kumamoto Castle, which pass should I choose?

  6. Mak says:

    Hi can jr kyusu 5day pass cannot use the subways within fukuoka?

  7. Doris Tan says:

    HI Takeshi,
    My itinerary in April:
    13/4 – arrive Fukuoka
    14/4 to 15/4 – travel Yufuin No Morin to Yufuin Onsen
    15/4 – travel Yufuin via Oita/Beppu via Kokura to Hakata
    16/4 & 17/4 – Self drive around Fukuoka & Saga

    I would like your suggestion with regards to 15/4 whether we should stop over at Oita/Beppu/Kokura before continuing journey back to Hakata. What interesting places that are within walking distance and what kind of foods would your recommend.
    As for self drive itinerary, I have in mind to go Karatsu to try squid sashimi, saga beef In Fukuoka probably Yanagibashi market, strawberry picking & some shopping.
    One more question, is it easy to find parking when driving?
    Whatever comment would be greatly appreciated.
    Best Regards,

    • Hi Doris,

      Beppu is most recommended between Yufuin and Hakata. It’s one of the most famous Onsen towns in Japan.
      http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4700.html

      Actually I have never dropped by Kokura and Oita. My experience is not enough to talk about these cities.

      I have never driven car in Japan for the last 15 years because I don’t live in Japan now. If you drive outside cities, parking is not an issue but I think it’s sometimes hard to find it in the city, like Hakata.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Cristina Doi says:

    Dear Takeshi,

    We are planning to have 5 days in Kyushu and below is our itinerary. Please advise us if this is possible and which rail pass we should buy to save the cost. Thank you so much for your help!

    28/4 Manila – Fukuoka: arrive at 8.30 , check in then dinner at Food Stalls ( Yatai),
    29/4 Wisteria Tunnel => Kokura STation => Beppu via Sonic ( is there any way cheaper? by bus ?)
    Arrive at about 4 PM, stroll around Beppu. ( what is your suggestion from 4PM to 10PM? )

    30/4: 8 Hells of Beppu => Beppu Station => Beppu Ropeway ( Mount Tsurumi ) to have the night view then go to Yufuin ( is there any way to go directly from Beppy Ropeway to Yufuin?)

    1/5: Yufuin – Kumamoto => Kumamoto Castle Honmaru Palace , Aso Geopark, Hosokawa Residences.

    2/5: Kumamoto – Nishitestu Yanagawa station . Here I will buy 1 day pass Fukuoka => Cultural Center =>Tosu Premium Outlet=>Dazaifu Station => Fukuoka, check in

    3/5 Nokonoshima Island => Kushida Shrine=>Tochoji Temple >Fukuoka Castle Remains >
    3/5 6 PM check in to come back Manila

    Thank you so much for your guide and help! Deeply appreciate and look forward to hearing from you.
    Cristina

    • Hi Cristina,

      Northern Kyushu Rail Pass 5 days is recommended. It’s cheaper than single fare.
      As far as I know, there is no way to get Yufuin from Beppu ropeway. You need to go back to Beppu staiton to take train.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Cristina Doi says:

        Hi Takeshi,
        Thanks for your reply. Just one more question. Can Northern KYushu Rail Pass be used for the local train within/ inside each city of Northern Kyushu, or it is only applicable for the railway connecting the cities only?

        Thank you!

        • Hi Cristina,

          It covers all JR trains in/out of the cities. But it does not cover subway and other non JR trains, like Nishitetsu.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • Cristina Doi says:

            Dear Takeshi,

            Thanks a lot for useful information. It really helps!

            Regards,
            Cristina

          • Cristina Doi says:

            Hi Takashi,

            I have some more question so I come back to ask:) Hope that you can help me.

            Im planning to buy Northern Rail Pass. How they count the time of purchase? By exact time and date, or just only date? For example, I claim my JR Kyushu pass (3days) at 8PM on April 28, is it possible to use it on May 1? If they count the exact time, I can use it. If only the date matters, I cant use it anymore.

            I also have the same question for One Day City Tram Pass in Kumamoto and Fukuoka Tourist City Pass.

            Hope to hear the more info from you soon.

            Thanks a lot!
            Cristina

            • Hi Cristina,

              The pass is valid from midnight to midnight. So if you start your pass on April 28, even 8:00 pm, you will spend one of three days for just 4 hours. Your pass will be expired at 23:59 on April 30.

              Most of passes in Japan are same condition as above. City pass in Kumamoto and Fukuoka are same as above.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • Cristina Doi says:

            Dear Takeshi,

            Thanks a lot for this valuable information.

            So I think we have to buy 5 days pass though it is only useful for the first 3 days.

            One more question, is Fukuoka Tourist City Pass 1340 Y covers the fee for Yoshinogari Historical Park? I saw there map but they just mention only Daizafu. Is it possible if we reach there with Nitshitetsu Bus of Tourist City Pass? If in that case, maybe we just purchase the 3 day pass.

            Thanks a lot for your help!

            • Hi Cristina,

              Yoshinogari is not in the coverage area. It’s located in Saga prefecture. JR Kyushu train is the best way to get there. But this pass covers until you get Takeshita station on JR Kyushu line. That is just one station away from Hakata. You can get Daizaifu by Nishitetu railway but it’s different direction.

              Of course you can get there by Northern Kyushu Rail pass.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • Cristina Doi says:

            Dear Takeshi,

            Thanks a lot for your answer 🙂 It will help us a lot to save the money.

            Thank agains:)

  9. Charlene says:

    Dear Takeshi-san,

    I have finalised my itinerary for my 11 day trip to Kyushu + Hiroshima. Hope you can advise me on my itinerary. Many thanks! 🙂

    Day 1 (Fukuoka / Hakata):
    – Arrive at Fukuoka Airport at 2005H. Since we arrive late, we would basically have lost one day.

    Day 2 (Hakata):
    – Canal City Hakata
    – Tenjin Chikagai / Tenjin Loft / Mitsukoshi

    Day 3 (Nagasaki):
    – Nagasaki Peace Park
    – Gunkanjima
    – Huis Ten Bosch – Kingdom of Light / Huis Ten Bosch Tulip Festival

    Day 4 (Nagasaki):
    – Kujukushima
    – Mount Inasa

    Day 5 (Kumamoto):
    – Mount Aso
    – Kusasenrigahama

    Day 6 (Oita):
    – Beppu Beach Sand Bath / Hot springs
    – Oita Fragrance Museum
    – Kuju Flower Park

    Day 7 (Kagoshima):
    – Sakurajima
    – Shiratani Unsuikyo / Yakushima / Jomonsugi / Yakusugi Land

    Day 8 (Miyazaki):
    – Takachiho Gorge
    – Aya Teruha Suspension Bridge
    – Lake Fudo
    – Aoshima Island

    Day 9 – 10 (Hiroshima):
    – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum.
    – Miyajima (Itukushima Shrine)
    – Half day kayaking at Miyajima
    – Mount Misen / Sandankyo Gorge / Kamu no Sato Rokutan

    Day 11 – We have no plans yet but I think my itinerary may be a bit packed for the 10 days so we can stretch out our itinerary for the last day?

    Many thanks!

    Regards,
    Charlene

    • Hi Charlene,

      I think it’s very hard to make Gukanjima, Nagasaki and Huis Ten Bosch in one day. You will spend 3-4 hours to see Gukanjima, 1-2 hours for Magasaki. And then Huis Ten Bosch is a huge theme park. Half day may not be enough.

      On day 8, I think it’s impossible, but if you intend to drive, it will be okay. Where do you start this trip and finish? All places are in Miyazaki, but those places are not closed each other. I have no idea to get Aya Teruha and Lake Fudo by public transportation.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Will says:

    Hi! Thanks for your helpful and informative blog!

    I’m visiting Kyushu this winter (January 16-25) and using the Kyushu Rail Pass for some of it. This is my itinerary:

    Sat-Sun: Fukuoka
    Mon-Wed: Nagasaki
    Thur: (JR Kyushu Pass): Nagasaki to Hakata, Hakata to Beppu (Yufuin-no-Mori)
    Fri: Beppu/ Oita
    Sat: Beppu to Hitoyoshi (Kyushu-Odan-Tokkyu 1), Hitoyoshi to Yoshimatsu (Isaburo 3), Yoshimatsu to Kagoshima (Hayato-no-Kaze 3)
    Sun: Kagoshima
    Mon: Kagoshima to Hakata (Shikansen)

    I really like scenic train rides, and unfortunately this schedule doesn’t fit specialties like Aso Boy or SL Hitoyoshi. But do you think I’m using the pass well? Are there any excellent train experiences in Kyushu that I’m missing with this plan? And one more question (sorry!): will these tickets sell out before I enter Japan to get my pass? Thanks!

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