Express train to Oita and Beppu from Fukuoka (Hakata). Limited Express Sonic

Limited Express Sonic (883 series)Hakata, Kokura
Limited Express Sonic (883 series)

This limited express train is one of most popular limited express train that is serviced by JR Kyushu. This connects Hakata and Kokura with Oita and Saeki. If you go to the popular hot springs resort, Beppu, this train is that you need to take after you get off Shinkansen at Kokura or Hakata. Of course this train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass.

This train is operated by 885 and 883 series. I would like to share the information about this train in this post.

Route, schedule and trip time

This express train connect Hakata with Oita in 2 hours and 30 minutes, and connect Kokura with Oita in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Sonic services run every 20 to 40 minutes for daytime. In most of season, more than 30 round trips are operated a day.

You can check the timetable at JR Kyushu website (English).

View Sonic in a larger map


Hakata (博多)x
Yoshizuka (吉塚)*
Kashii (香椎)*
Fukuma (福間)*
Togo (東郷)*
Akama (赤間)*
Orio (折尾)x
Kurosaki (黒崎)x
Yahata (八幡)x
Tobata (戸畑)*
Kokura (小倉)x
Shimosone (下曽根)*
Yukuhashi (行橋)x
Unoshima (宇島)*
Nakatsu (中津)x
Yanagigaura (柳ヶ浦)*
Usa (宇佐)*
Kitsuki (杵築)*
Kamegawa (亀川)*
Beppu (別府)x
Oita (大分)x
Tsurusaki (鶴崎)x
Ozai (大在)x
Kosaki (幸崎)x
Usuki (臼杵)x
Tsukumi (津久見)x
Saiki (佐伯)x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop


Sonic is operated two types of fleets, 885 series and 883 series. 885 is newer than 883. But 883 series has a good seat and more popular.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

885 series

Limited Express Sonic (885 series)

Sonic which is serviced by this series is called “White Sonic”. 885 series equip the leather seat for both Green and Ordinary. It looks good and have very sophisticated atmosphere, but this seat is a bit slippery and has leather smell.

The seat configuration on Green class 1+1+1 and the seat pitch is 1150 mm. The seat pitch on Ordinary class is 980 mm. The seat in car #2 of some train sets have the power outlet. You will see lots of Japanese modern art in this car. You can enjoy this car as art gallery.

Train formation


Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

Common space

883 series

This train is called “Wonderland Express”. When this train was introduced, the eccentric design was in the news. But now this train was renovated. This eccentric design had gone. But you will still see some originative items in the car. Green class has a lounge space just behind cockpit. You will get the power outlet at window seat on car#1, both Green and Ordinary.

Train formations


*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on this train.

Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

Common space


  1. May Kwan says:

    Hi Takeshi-san

    I will be getting the All Kyushu Area Pass and noticed that there is a clause stating *The pass cannot be used for the portion between Hakata and Kokura.
    I will be travelling from Beppu to Hakata station. The train route recommended in Hyperdia shows that I will need to change train at Kokura station. And from Kokura, take Shinkansen Nozomi/Kodama to Hakata. Does this means that Shinkansen Nozomi/Kodama is not covered by the All Kyushu Area Pass? Is there any other way to get to Hakata without transit at Kokura?

  2. Kotori says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    Thank you for a nice and insights overview of the Sonic Series. I am wondering if this train has some luggage space in the cabin. I am traveling with my parents and we packed all our stuff in one 28” bag. I had no problem finding luggage storage on Yufuin-no-Mori but i’m not sure if this train is the same.

    Thank you

  3. Simon says:

    Hi Takeshi, yes, I can read that. That’s great. Thanks, for the thousandth time!

  4. Steve says:

    Will there be extra train services from Hakata to Oita for the Rugby World Cup quarter finals? With a lot of supporters staying in Fukuoka I expect there will be greater demand for train transport

    Thanks Steve

  5. Tsu 800 says:

    Hello, bit of an odd question but is it possible to see the 883 series on the Kagoshima Main Line south of Hakata? I’m thinking maybe heading to the Kumamoto maintenance depot. I am building an n scale layout based on my favourite Kyushu trains and want to include the 883 but only if it would be seen in real life south of Hakata. Thanks.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Tsu 800,

      883 series run between Hakata ana Oita only. It does not run on other segment except very special operation. You cannot see this train set in Kumamoto.


      Takeshi /

  6. Chris says:

    Is there a specific time or train number to be able to take 883 Sonic? I will have a Green Pass and Green Car on 883 is much nicer than 885. Or is it based on luck?

  7. Rin says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    I will be getting the Northern Kyushu 3 day Rail Pass for my trip to Fukuoka this September.

    I think I can only exchange the pass at the JR Counter when i reach Japan. Can i reserve the seat for both Yufuin no Mori & Sonic Train online first?

    Thank you!

  8. Rykiel says:

    Hi Takeshi san,
    I’m looking to get the JR All Kyushu 3 day pass as I’m thinking of making a day trip to Kagoshima from Hakata and the another day trip to Beppu from Hakata. Would this be the best ticket to purchase ?

    Also, I noticed that I can make online seat reservations for this ticket but it does not cover the Kyushu Shinkansen (for Hakata/Kagoshima) and Limited Express Sonic (for Hakata/Beppu). How do I make a seat reservation for those trains or is it not covered by the All Kyushu pass ?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Rykiel san,

      Kyushu Rail Pass is the best choice. You can book a seat for Shinkansen and Sonic when you exchange the pass. It’s quite easy to book these trains because these trains run very frequently.


      Takeshi /

  9. Sandy says:

    We be in Fukuoka for 7 days. Travel around that area and to beppu
    What ticket recommended for cheaper price

  10. brenda says:

    is it worth to buy a jr pass for my plan trip to osaka (flying in osaka), kyoto, nara then to fukuoka , beppu all with return trip.
    what type of jr pass do i need and can i buy the pass on arrival at osaka airport or online.

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