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.

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. Jo says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    I plan to travel to Fukuoka and Shinjuku in end Jan.
    Here is my tentative itinerary:
    1) reach Fukuoka – 24 jan
    2) Dazaifu and Yanagawa – 25 jan
    3) Day trip to Tosu outlet – 26 jan
    4) Day trip to Kumamoto – 27 jan
    5) Day trip to Mojiko port retro district – 28 jan
    6) Hakata to Shinjuku – 29 jan
    7) Shinjuku & Tokyo – 30 jan – 1st feb
    8) Depart from Narita Airport – 1st feb

    Appreciate if you can advise what passes to purchase for the itinerary above.

    Thank you.
    Jo

  2. kamal says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    for Jr Kyushu pass it is not cover for Nozumi, Hikari and kodoma. if i want to go Nobeoka from Hakata what the earliest train that can i use with JR kyushu pass.

  3. AJ says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    May I know the best way to travel from Takachicho direct to Kagoshima using the Kyushu South JR pass?

  4. MuiSiew says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks for all the great info on JPRail all these while 🙂
    It makes my japan trip planning easier!
    I’m planning to explore northern kyushu this round, so will be buying the 5-days northern pass.

    I will be going to Nakatsu from Hakata and staying at Nakatsu for 2 nights. So I will be taking the Limited Exp Sonic by using the pass. And from Nakatsu I would like to travel to Beppu & Oita, so I can also be using the same pass too.

    After that, I’ll be traveling to Kumamoto from Nakatsu on the 3rd night. So I will need to take the Limited Exp Sonic back to Hakata and transfer to Shinkanzen Mizuho.

    Is the above transportation methods work for my travel plan?

    Many thanks for your advice!

  5. AJ says:

    Hi Takeshi, recently I have been looking at many brochures. All the brochures only mention north Kyushu and all Kyushu rail pass, but not South Kyushu pass. Can I confirm if I can indeed purchase the south Kyushu rail pass when I reach Fukuoka airport? Where else can I purchase the pass ?

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

      Hi AJ,

      You cannot purchase Southern Kyushu rail pass in Fukuoka. Please see the link below to find it:
      http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/railpass/railpass.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • AJ says:

        Hi Takeshi,

        I am confused as to where exactly can I purchase the South Pass. The website says “The pass can be purchased at JR Kyushu Travel (●) and Travel Service Center (■) located in the station as well as at certain JR stations. However, a Southern Kyushu Area Pass cannot be purchased at JR Kyushu Travel Kumamoto Branch and Miyazaki Branch”.
        It indicates that South Pass can be purchased at Kumamoto (●) . May I know where in Kumamoto? I have a problem as I need to start using the pass to travel from Nobeoko to Miyazaki.

  6. Whitty says:

    Hello Takeshi

    I would greatly appreciate if you could help with the following:

    I am planning a 10 day trip to North Kyushu in November and would like to visit the following places:
    1] Beppu, Himeshima; Kitsuki; Nakatsu, Kitsuki; Saiki & Konoke (Suspension Bridge);
    Should I consider staying in Beppu ?

    2] Kumamoto city; Asosan-nishi; Kurokawa Onsen; Kikuchi Onsen, Hitoyoshi, etc
    Should I stay in Kurokawa, Kikuchi or Hitoyoshi ?

    North Kyushu Pass only covers 5 days, should I & can I buy two passess? Or plus a Sun Q bus pass?

    Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you.

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

      Hi Whitty,

      1. Beppu or Oita is a good place to stay.

      2. If you really want to stay in one place, Kumamoto is the best place. But in my opinion, you should stay in Kumamoto and Kurokawa.

      Train does not run between Kumamoto and Aso because of the damage by earthquake in the last year. Kurokawa and Kikuchi cannot be accessed by train. I have no idea how we access to Konoke by public transports. Sun Q pass may be better but at this point, you haven’t decide where you stay and how many days you will spend at each spot. I cannot say which pass is the best. But I guess, Kyushu rail pass does not work.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Mak says:

    Hi

    Can you check whether the itinerary below works:

    October 18, 2017
    Hakata to Kumamoto 13:51 Tsubame 327
    Kumamoto to Hakata 23:17 Sakura 414

    October 19, 2017
    Hakata to Shin-Tosu 07:35 Tsubame 311
    Shin-Tosu to Sasebo 08:02 Midori 1
    Sasebo to Tabira-Hirado-Guchi 09:27 Imari
    Tabira-Hirado-Guchi to Sasebo 16:45 Matsuura Railway
    Sasebo to Hakata 19:52 Midori 30

    October 20, 2017
    Hakata to Oita 08:45 Yufuin no Mori 91
    Oita to Miyaji 14:06 ASO Boy
    Miyaji to Beppu 16:20 ASO Boy ( I take this again as I want to spend more time on ASO Boy)
    Beppu to Hakata 20:20 Sonic 60

    Please kindly advise.

    Best regards
    Mak

  8. AJ says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    May I know which are the common JR stations covered by both the Kyushu South and North rail pass?

    I plan to use the South pass on the 3rd day for Kagoshima Chuo- Yoshimatsu (Hayato no Kaze )- Hitoyoshi (Isaburo/ Shinpei )- Kumamoto (Kawasemi Yamasemi)- Kumamoto.

    Then I need to change to the North pass for the next 3 days to travel to Bungo-Nakamura and back to Fukuoka to explore the north.

    Some of the guest house are nearer to Kami Kumamoto Station or Minami Kumamoto Station instead of Kumamoto Station. Hence need to find out the common JR stations to decide where is the most convenient place to stay.
    Regards

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

      Hi AJ,

      Both Kami-Kumamoto and Minami-Kumamoto are just outside coverage area of southern pass. You can get Kumamoto by the pass but after you reached there, you need to use northern pass or add single fare. Single fare is around 200 yen. It’s not costy. If you don’t want to start using northern pass, you just add the fare to get these stations.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • AJ says:

        Do u mean Kamamoto is the only common JR station ?
        If I need to reserve the seats for Kagoshima Chuo- Yoshimatsu (Hayato no Kaze )- Hitoyoshi (Isaburo/ Shinpei )- Kumamoto (Kawasemi Yamasemi)- Kumamoto, do I need to purchase the JR pass in advance once I reach Kyushu ? Does it have the flexibility for me to amend the start date later if there is unexpected changes to my travel schedule ?

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

          Hi AJ,

          All three stations are JR station. I meant only Kumamoto station is covered by southern pass. Other two stations are not covered by southern pass.
          When you purchase a pass, you need to decide the date when you want to start using. The date will be stamped on the pass. Once the date is stamped, you cannot change the date. And you need to have a pass when you want to book a seat.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • AJ says:

            sorry, do you mean of all the JR stations in Kumamoto, only one Kumamoto station is covered by southern pass?

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

              Hi AJ,

              Kumamoto is north end of the coverage area of southern pass. If you go to south from Kumamoto, it’s covered. But both stations which you mentioned is not located to the south.
              Anyway if you travel from south to Kumamoto, southern pass does not cover any more from Kumamoto to north and to west.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. AJ says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Is JR Bungo-Nakamura station covered under Kyushu North or South rail pass?

    Regards

  10. Georgia says:

    Hi Takeshi

    Thank you so much for this information.

    I am just wondering, does the standard JR Railpass cover Kyushu limited express trains such as SL Hitoyashi and Aso Boy?

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