My trip to Kyushu, Tohoku and Hokkaido in 5 days.

It was still winter in Hokkaido.
Thank you for supporting Japan!

Thank you for supporting Japan!

Dear readers,
I will leave Japan today and head back to Vancouver, Canada. I stayed in Japan for 9 nights and spend 5 days for my trip. It was crazy busy trip. I tried to take a train as many as I could.

I got these following trains:

Sanyo/Kyushu Shinkansen Hikari, Sakura and Tsubame (Shin Osaka to Hakata, Kumamoto and Kagoshima Chuo)
Sonic (Kokura-Hakata)
Kumagawa (Kumamoto-Hitoyoshi)
Isaburo (Hitoyoshi-Yoshimatsu)
Hayato no Kaze (Yoshimatsu-Kagoshima Chuo)
Yufuin no Mori (Kurume-Hakata)

Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari (Shin Osaka-Tokyo)
Tohoku/Akita Shinkansen Hayabusa, Komachi and Hayate (Tokyo-Sendai-Kakunodate-Morioka-Shin Aomori)
Senseki line to Matshima-Kaigan from Sendai
Super Hakucho (Shin Aomori-Aomori)

It was still winter in Hokkaido.

Hamanasu Carpet car (Aomori-Sapporo)
Local/Rapid train to Otaru from Sapporo
Rapid Airport (Sapporo-New Chitose airport)
Hokuro/Super Hokuto (Minami Chitose-Hakodate)
Hokutosei (Mori-Ueno)

I visited Kumamoto castle, Takachiho, Udo-Jingu (Miyazaki Nichinan coastline), Matsushima, Kakunodate, Otaru, Sapporo, Hakodate. And I also was Miyazaki airport, Fukuoka airport (I already posted about this airport) and Haneda airport.

I will share my experience with you. I believe it is most updated information and it will be helpful information. But I have too many pictures and too much information to organize at this moment. I don’t have enough time to post it. I will update sometime in next week.

I also upload most of my pictures on Facebook page. Please check these images at

Takeshi / JP Rail


  1. Tommy says:

    Nice but very rushing trip you have there.

    I am still in Sendai now, it just snowed yesterday night. In my case Ibusuki Tamebako, Hamanasu carpet and Hokutosei are all sold out.

    But I am able to take the 3 kyushu sightseeing car, sunrise seto and next week I am going to try out Hayabusa Gran Class.

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Tommy,
      I was in Sendai on this past Monday. It was snowing too. I move to the north on same day. It was getting harder and harder. Especially when I arrived at Shin Aomori, it was stormy. I could not stand up at the platform!!!
      Actually I booked Hamanasu carpet and Hokutosei one month prior to departure date. I made a call to Odekake net. I needed to pay express charge for Hamanasu carpet even though JR pass cover fully. But I really wanted to try it and surcharge was only 1730yen. I talked to the conductor. He said Carpet car is full everyday.
      I took Hokutosei on March 20. When I booked, all compartment were sold out. I reserved common type B berth anyway. After I arrived Japan, I kept trying to get Solo. I finally got it on Hokutosei departure day at Midori no Madoguchi in Otaru station.
      I found lots of empty space at type B berth. If you are okay with it, get B berth and keep on finding the space at compartment, like Solo.
      I envy you to take Gran class. It was completely out of my budget. 🙂
      Takeshi / JP Rail

  2. Tak says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    You’ve covered many trains only in 5 days! I noticed you tried many trains in Kyushu but SL hitoyoshi is not in the list. Was it full?

    • JPRail says:

      Hi Takuji san,
      Yes, I did! That was crazy busy trip. But I really enjoyed it.
      I would love to take SL Hitoyoshi. But it was started on March 17. I was Kumamoto on March 16. I need to go to Takachiho from Kumamoto on March 17. And also March 17 was Kyushu Shinkansen one year anniversary. JR Kyushu sold unlimited Kyushu Shinkansen pass at 10000 yen. It was very easy to expect that was busy day. So I escaped from the west side of Kyushu. I also would love to take A ressha. But it is not operated on March 16 either.
      However I was so lucky. Because I could get Solo on Hokutosei in last minutes. After I arrived Japan, I tried to get it many times. Finally when I was in Otaru in the morning of departure day of Hokutosei from Sapporo, I got only one left. I got B berth. So I got it without any extra charge.
      We may lose many trains, especially overnight trains, when Hokkaido Shinkansen will reach Sapporo. If I have a chance to go to Japan by 2015, I would like to get Akebono.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Tak says:

        Hi Takeshi san,

        I thought we will lose more overnight trains, but it is a good news that Hamanasu and Hokutosei are so popular. I think either low price like carpet, goronto or expensive luxurious rooms are popular. I guess on the other hand ordinary blue trains are losing popularity. For example, Nihonkai is not a luxurious train, no rooms, no restaurant, no shower. However, they don’t have any discount like goronto or carpet. I think Hamanasu is an interesting example, because customers have choice to pay for bed or save money by carpet or dream car. they even have non-reservation car.

        • JPRail says:

          Hi Takuji san,
          I took Hamanasu on Mar 19 and Hokutosei on Mar 20.
          It was completely sold out for carpet on Hamanasu and all compartments on Hokutosei. But there are lots of empty seat on Dream car, non reserved seat and B berth of Hamanasu, and on B berth of Hokutosei. I expected Hamanasu Dream was very popular. But the reality is a bit different. In my opinion, Carpet is way better than Dream. Carpet car equip pillow and blanket. This is a big asset and attractive for the passengers. I could get very deep sleep there. Yes, it is way better than Sunrise Nobi Nobi too. It does not have any bed linen service.
          If JR can increase this type of accommodation on overnight trains, it will be very attractive. But I’m wondering if they invest for overnight trains.
          Takeshi / JP Rail

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