Aso boy

Access to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto. Kids friendly train, Limited Express Aso Boy!

Aso boy

This train, Aso Boy! connects Kumamoto and Beppu via Aso. When you go to Mt. Aso by a train, take the Shinkansen to Kumamoto and transfer to this train. This is the easiest way to get there.

This train offers not only access to Aso but also a big fun, especially if you travel with child(ren). This train is operated by the refurbished Kiha-183 series. This was completely redesigned by JR Kyushu chief designer, Eiji Mitooka. The facilities of this train make both parents and children enjoy the ride to Aso.

You will find how nice this train is for kids in this article.

Route, schedule and trip time

Aso Boy! runs 2 round trips a day between Kumamoto and Miyaji. If you just need to access to Aso, you can use Trans Kyushu Limited Express too. This train is operated on same route. Aso Boy! connects Kumamoto with Aso or Miyaji in 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can see the timetable at JR Kyushu website (English page).

View Aso Boy! in a larger map



x:All trains stop


Aso Boy! is operated by KIHA 183 series. This train was redesigned just before this train was introduced to operate in 2011. This train has the observation seats with huge windows at both end. And there are many features for the family group and kids.

This train has a character. That is a black puppy that is called “Kuro-chan”. This character is drawn on both interior and exterior. Kuro-chan is everywhere and I am pretty sure that kids like it. This train have lots of playful mind.

The standard seat pitch is 960mm. But there are “Parent and Child seat” and semi compartment seat. These seats are quite different from the standard seat. I will show you all kind of seats below. There is no Green cars on this train. And all seats are reserved seat. You must make a reservation before you ride.

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

Train formation


*P=Panoramic observation seat R=Reserved seat FR=Reserved seat for family (Parent and Child seat)
Smoking is not allowed on these trains.


Car#1 Panoramic observation seat and standard reserved seat

Car#2 Standard reserved seat

Car#3 Parent and Child seat

Car#3 “Kuro Club” Kids play area
There are three facilities, wood ball pool, kids tea ceremony room and library.

Car#3 “Kuro Cafe”
You can buy drink, snack and souvenir. Kuro chan’s souvenirs are very popular. If you want to buy, go and get ASAP.

Car#4 Panoramic observation seat and standard reserved seat

Sanitary space

Passenger’s deck

50 thoughts on “Access to Mt. Aso from Kumamoto. Kids friendly train, Limited Express Aso Boy!”

  1. Hi Takeshi-San,
    I heard a news that the Hohi line between Hogi-Otsu and Aso will be reopened in 8th August. Does that mean the JR Aso boy will also operate again between Kumamoto and Aso after 8th August?

      1. Thank you very much Takeshi -san for the update information. I hope the now suspended trains will be able to operate again by the mid of August.

  2. Hi how do I check the estimated price of return tickets from Miyaji to kumomato via aso boy? I’m planning a trip in June. Does the ticket allow multiple station/trips in a day ?

      1. Hi Takeshi-san, thank you. Can you help me with this?

        Day 1: Arrive at Fuk in morning and pick up car to yufuin. stay 1 night.
        Day 2: Drive to Kuju farms. Stay at Kurokawa 2 nights
        Day 3: Drive to takechiho gorge
        Day 4: Drive to Fukuoka. Stay 1 night.
        Day 5: Rail to Kumamoto. Take Aso Boy! Stay 1 night at Kumamoto.
        Day 6: Rail to Fukuoka. Stay 2 nights.

        Question 1: Can I use 1 single ticket for express+limited express train to do Day 5 and 6?
        Question 2: I don’t have any intended destination on Aso Boy. Only intention is to board this interesting train with the boys. Any suggested stop we should alight given previous days are in the same area too and the return train is just 2 hours later?
        Question 3: It seems more economical to drive from FUK to Yufu and back since we have 10 persons, than buying 2 single trip tickets to Yufu and back to Fuk. What’s your opinion?
        Thanks 🙂

          1. Thanks! Think we’d probably just stop at aso or miyaji and hang around till the train is ready to leave for kumamoto.
            Can we board without reserving? Can anyone use cabin 3 or there’s a need to reserve?

            1. Hi Chris,

              Reservation is required. Especially car#3 is very popular. I recommend you to book right after you arrive in Japan and purchase the pass at Hakata station.
              Online reservation is not available. This is only way to book this train.


              Takeshi /

          2. Thanks Takeshi San

            Just realised the train doesn’t run daily in June. Hope our trip could coincide with the timetable!

            When will the schedule for June be out?

          3. Hi Takeshi, i have a big family with thee children and their grandparents. Can we inter switch to cabin 1, 2 and 3?

              1. Yup swap seats. I saw the seats cater to parent – child only in car 3. I suppose both grandparents cannot occupy parent and child seat configuration.

                Can reservation be done 2 mths plus in advance?

  3. Hello, I am thinking of taking the Aso Boy! train from Kumamoto to Aso on 22nd Dec 2015, and then back to Kumamoto on the same day. Just wanted to experience how the train is like. Can I take this train with the 5 day Northern Kyushu Pass ?

    Understand that the seats must be reserved in advance and that I can’t do this online. Can I do this at any train station when we arrive in Fukuoka on 15th Dec 2015 ?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  4. Hi,

    I would like to ride Aso Boy on 8th Feb 2016. Is it possible that I could get my Japanese friend to make Aso Boy’s seat reservation and I claim the ticket with JR Pass when I arrive Fukuoka?

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    I’m abit confused with the train coverage for Kyushu region with the JR pass. I just want to confirm that is it all the limited express train (eg, Aso boy, umisachi-yamasachi) in Kyushu are not covered by JR Pass? Only JR train such as JR Hohi line which stated ‘JR’ only is covered by JR pass?

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    I plan to visit Mt Aso from Kumamoto on the 17 Nov 2015. Could I able to go with Asoboy? How should i take train from Kumamoto to Mt. Aso? Any available trains ?

    Thanks & regards,

  7. Hello. compliments percla recenzione. I come from Italy and are fond of tourist trains. are the right people to whom I can ask different things. I wanted to book the Aso Boy see MT. kamazouka (you spell that?) and then return with the minaniaso railway. it’s possible? I can not book either of them !!!! I wanted to take or even the SL Hitoshy or the A Train. but I can not nemneno them to book them. I’d hate to get and run straight for osaka / kyoto. in any case I hope to see the Sagano Scenic train, maglev museum, Saitama Museum and the scenic train Watarase

    1. Hi Obiwan1978,

      As you think, there is no way to book outside Japan via online. Unfortunately you have to book after you arrive in Japan. Please see the link below:

      If you really want to book in advance, you have to find the travel agent. However most of travel agents do not want to book only trains because they cannot make enough profit. I don’t know which travel agent can do it for you. But you may ask the travel agent on the list of Japan Rail Pass seller.

      Komezuka is not accessible. There is no public transportation to get there.


      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Hi!

    I’d like to my son to ride on the ASO Boy! to Aso this coming October (2015). May I ask when the fall schedule will be available? Since the train is quite popular among tourists, how many days in advance I can make a reservertion?

    Thank you very much 🙂

    1. Hi Kanokkul,

      I am not sure when it’s coming. But in last year, fall schedule was available in late August.
      Ticket is on sale one month prior to departure day. But online reservation is not available so you cannot book before you arrive in Japan. Sometimes it’s hard to book for this train.


      Takeshi / JP RAil

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