This is a collaboration of Shinkansen and very popular Japanese Anime “New Generation Evangelion (link to Wikipedia)” as Sanyo Shinkansen 40 years anniversary special project. This unique Shinkansen fleet has very different exterior that is painted by Evangelion color. And also it has Evangerion exhibition in car #1. There are many more Evangerion characters and designs in the trains. If you know this anime, you must be excited. Even if you are not familiar with this anime, you will be impressed by these decorations.
This will be on sale in March, 2015 and will replace currently selling Sanyo Area Pass. This pass includes all Sanyo Area Pass coverage area, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. This pass also includes Sanin area (Matsue, Izumo, Tsuwano), Hikone, Maibara, Tsuruga, Wakayama and even part of Shikoku. It is wider coverage area, cheaper price and longer duration.
JR West will release new three deals in March, 2015. Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass is one of these three deals. This is the first pass that cover only Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, and Shinkansen to Hakata. If you arrive in Fukuoka airport and only stay in Kyushu but want to travel to Hiroshima, this pass helps you. It is the perfect option for the trip to Hiroshima from Hakata, Kyushu.
Kyushu Shinkansen runs between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo. But many trains run from Shin-Osaka and carry many passengers from Kansai area to Kyushu. This is the best way to get Kyushu from Osaka and Hiroshima. But some trains are not covered by JR Pass. I would like to show you about this Shinkansen system in this post.
Sanyo Shinkansen is operated between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. But Sanyo Shinkansen is connected with Tokaido Shinkansen (from Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo) at Shin-Osaka and Kyushu Shinkansen (from Kumamoto and Kagoshima) at Hakata.
Most of trains run from Tokyo (Nozomi and Hikari) are operated by Tokaido Shinkansen fleet, 700 series or N700 series. If you look for the images of these trains, please see Tokaido Shinkansen image gallery.
The Shinkansen (新幹線) is a high speed train service that is operated by JR. It is one of the fastest trains in world and sometimes called “Bullet Train”. JR has this high speed train network throughout Japan. You can save lots of your trip time by using this train system.
*This deal will be sold until February 28, 2015 and can be exchanged until May 31, 2015. On March 1, 2015, this deal, Sanyo Area Pass will be replaced by Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass.
This pass covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Himeji, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Hakata. You can take any trains in the coverage area with a few exception. If you will be a temporary visitor, you are eligible to purchase this deal.
If you have round trip from Osaka to Hakata, this pass is much cheaper than single fares. But if you travel outside of Kansai area or just go to Hiroshima, you may consider other deals.
Kyushu is located in south part of Japan. That’s why the climate is very mild and it is very popular destination in all season. Some of the travellers may arrive/depart at Fukuoka airport or other airports and travel only in Kyushu.
Fall is very popular season to travel in Japan for local tourist too. JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during this season and increase the number of trains. I show you seasonal trains information mostly for October and November, 2012 in this post. If you are looking for the information of seasonal train that is operated in September only, please see 2012 summer seasonal trains information.
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.
JR Kyushu have been planning to operate a deluxe overnight train. According to some major newspapers in Japan, JR Kyushu seem to complete the plan. They may start to take a reservation in this coming summer. This is the first multi-day cruising train trip in Japan. Probably this is much more luxury than Twilight Express and Cassiopeia. I don’t think I can afford this train trip. But it is very interesting. So I would like to share all information that I know at this point. Continue reading Luxury overnight cruising train trip in Kyushu
N700 series was introduced for Kyushu Shinkansen in this past March. The fleet is the newest and the fastest on Kyushu and Sanyo Shinkansen. If you will use Japan Rail Pass, you may take this train as Sakura from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, Kumamoto or Kagoshima-Chuo. This series is basically on same types of N700 series on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen. But this series is strictly called N700-7000/8000. The exterior is not much different between N700 and N700-7000/8000. But the interior is quite different. This N700-7000/8000 is much better than original N700. Of course this has the best facility on Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen. Some of my frequent visitors rate Green class of this series higher than even the highest seat in Japan, Glan class of E5 series on Tohoku Shinkansen. Let’s see the interior images of this beautiful train. Continue reading Kyushu Shinkansen N700 series for Mizuho, Sakura and Tsubame image gallery
Limited express “Midori” connects the gateway city in Kyushu, Hakata with very historical port city Sasebo. Some of trains are operated with Limited Express “Huis Ten Bosch” that is most popular theme park in Kyushu. When you go to Sasebo or Huis Ten Bosch, take Shinkansen to Hakata and change these trains.
This itinerary includes all part of Kyushu and covers many popular spots in Kyushu island in 7 days. So you can simply use Japan Rail Pass 7 days. You may start this itinerary either from Tokyo or from Osaka. But if you can start this from Tokyo, you need to skip Sasebo and Saikai National Park because of the time. And also you need to take the overnight train Sunrise Seto/Izumo if you start this from Tokyo on 7th day. Otherwise you cannot complete this itinerary. As long as you catch “Nobi Nobi seat” on Sunrise Seto or Izumo before the date change, you can continue to travel without any extra charge. (Please refer Japan Rail Pass official site, “Notes regarding use” point 6.)
These trains connect Hakata (博多) with Yufuin (由布院) and Oita (大分) or Beppu (別府). Yufuin is one of the most popular hot springs resort in Kyushu. This is the train that you need to take when you go to Yufuin. Of course these train’s name are named from Yufuin. “Yufuin no Mori” means Yufuin’s forest. These two trains are operated on same route and fully covered by JR Pass. But Yufuin no Mori is operated by the specialized car, KIHA-71 or 72 series. This express train is one of the best in JR Kyushu train and very very popular. So I strongly recommend to take Yufuin no Mori, not Yufu.
This itinerary includes Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima and North part of Kyushu (Hakata, Nagasaki, Aso and Beppu). This starts from Tokyo and your Japan Rail pass will be started to use from Tokyo station. You may start this itinerary from Shinagawa station, if you arrive at Haneda airport early morning. And of course, you can start this itinerary from Osaka or Kansai airport too. Osaka and Kansai airport are much closer to Kyoto than Tokyo. If you start this itinerary from Osaka, the itinerary is more smooth and easier. Continue reading West Japan (Kyoto, Hiroshima and Kyushu) 7 days sample itinerary by Japan Rail Pass 7 days
I have received the email from JR West. They confirmed Japan Rail Pass can be used for Kyushu Shinkansen. But Japan Rail Pass can be used for only Sakura that is the second fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. We cannot take Mizuho that is the fastest train between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo by Japan Rail Pass. JR West and Kyushu applied same fare table as Nozomi. So Japan Rail Pass does not cover even the basic fare. If you take Mizuho, you have to pay the full fare.
As probably you know, Kyushu Shinkansen will be opened all section between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo on Mar 12, 2011. JR Kyushu released the tentative schedule. You can see the timetable here(PDF).
But this timetable is only in Japanese. So I made some sample timetable with Japanese-English translation. Before you take a look at the timetable, please click this image.
This timetable consists of 4 page as PDF file. Each page has two directions. The top half of the page is the timetable for Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima-Chuo via Hiroshima, Hakata and Kumamoto. The bottom half is the timetable for Kagoshima-Chuo to Shin-Osaka via Kumamoto, Hakata and Hiroshima.
We will have four round trips for the fastest train, “Mizuho”. We will have Mizuho or Sakura mostly once an hour between Shin-Osaka and Kaghoshima-Chuo. It takes 3 hours and 46 minutes by Mizuho from Shin-Osaka to Kagoshima-Chuo. It takes about 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes by Sakura between Shin-Osaka and Hakata.
We will have four departures an hour between Hakata and Kumamoto, and two departures between Hakata and Kagoshima-Chuo.
Unfortunately JR Group did not announce anything about Japan Rail Pass validity to take these new trains, Mizuho and Sakura. I will let you know right after I get an information.
Kyushu Shikansen will be scheduled to operate all part of line on March 12, 2011. It will be connected with Sanyo Shinkansen at Hakata station. JR Kyushu and JR West will start to operate new express train service between Shin-Osaka (新大阪) and Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央).
Mizuho will be the fastest train service. It will stop at Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kokura, Hakata and Kumamoto. It will take 3 hours and 45 minutes. 4 round trips will be scheduled to operate. Sakura will stop at some more stations, Himeji (姫路), Fukuyama (福山), Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口), Shin-Tosu (新鳥栖), Kurume (久留米) and Shin-Yatsushiro (新八代). It will be operated once an hour. After Sakura will be operated, the similar train service, Hikari Rail Star, will be stopped to operate.
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.