You can board many fascinate Kyushu sightseeing trains which JR Kyushu call “D&S train” (Design and Story) in a limited time. Please note that there is almost no time to sightsee, and the purpose of this trip is boarding these trains.
You can board these following trains and railway lines in this trip plan:
✔ Yufuin no Mori ✔ Aso Boy! ✔ A-Train (A Ressha de Ikou) ✔ Kawasemi Yamasemi ✔ Kumagawa Railroad ✔ Isaburo ✔ Hayato no Kaze ✔ Ibusuki no Tamatebako ✔ Hisatsu Orange Railway ✔ Kyushu Shinkansen
If you are traveling during peak periods, you can add or replace sightseeing trains not included here. I’ll explain this later.
The section of the Hohi line from Aso to Kumamoto was damaged by the 2016 earthquake and has been closed since then, but it is scheduled to resume in August 2020. This plan uses the timetable of Aso Boy !, which was operating before the earthquake. Also, the timetable from Beppu to Aso will be changed when Hohi line will be opened, and it may be possible to move in a shorter time. Anyway, please understand that the schedule from Beppu to Aso and from Aso to Kumamoto is provisional.
Winter is cold in Japan but it is still very popular season. Especially northern and mountain areas, such as Hokkaido, Shirakawago, Echigo-Yuzawa are very popular for Asian tourist to see the snow. And New Year’s holidays from late December to Early January is the busiest season in Japan. This is very challenging to book a seat in New Year’s holidays period. Early February is busy season in Hokkaido because of Sapporo winter festival. And also many Asian tourist come over Japan in Chinese New Years period.
In this post, I show you many seasonal trains that will run in major tourist spots from December 2019 to February 2020.
I think everybody agree that spring is the best season to travel. The cherry blossom is amazing, gorgeous and unforgettable. Therefore this season is very busy. Especially the period from late March to early April is the spring break of the public school in Japan. This period is usually the peak period of the cherry blossom in southside of Japan. It is busy season.
Do not forget “Golden Week”. Japan has many holidays from late April to early May. Especially 2019’s Golden Week will be very special. The emperor will retire and the prince will take over. Please see the link below to find the detailed information about the calendar.
Summer is very hot and humid in Japan. It is not the best season to travel. However summer is very busy travel season. In Japan, most public schools have summer break from July 20 to August 31. This period is busier than usual. Especially mid August is called “Obon”. This is one of the busiest season. Many of Japanese go back to hometown and spend the time with families. It is Japanese tradition. Many of trains are booked out very quickly. Please see the link below to learn more:
Spring is the best season to visit Japan because of the cherry blossom. Spring break of public school in Japan usually starts from the last week of March to the first week of April. This two weeks period is much busier than usual. And also between late April and the beginning of May is one of the busiest period in the year. It is known as “Golden Week” in Japan. April 29, May 3, 4, and 5 are National holidays. If you travel in this period, train may be booked out quickly. Please see the details in the link below:
The limited express Isaburo / Shinpei runs between Kumamoto, Hitoyoshi and Yoshimatsu. This train is also known as one of JR Kyushu’s sightseeing trains. It runs along Kumagawa river between Yatsushiro and Hitoyoshi. And the train goes in the mountain between Hitoyoshi and Yoshimatsu. These segments are very scenic.
This train is called as two train names but this is same train. The only difference is the direction. Isaburo runs from Kumamoto and Shinpei runs from Yoshimatsu. Both Isaburo and Shipei are the name of the key persons when the construction of this section was completed. Isaburo is the named from Isaburo Yamagata who was the minister of transportations and telecommunications. Shinpei is named from Shinpei Goto who was the president of Japanese Government Railways.
I would like to explain about this train in this post.