Kyushu Rail Pass user guide. The best deal to travel Kyushu by train.

Kusasenri at Mt.Aso can be accessed by Aso or Miyaji station on Houhi line. ©JNTO
Kusasenri at Mt.Aso can be accessed by Aso or Miyaji station on Houhi line. ©JNTO

If you will travel in Kyushu only, JR Kyushu sells Kyushu Rail Pass which offers unlimited train travel at very affordable price. There are four types of passes, All Kyushu, Northern Kyushu, Southern Kyushu and Fukuoka Wide. You can choose one of these four types by your trip plan.

In this post, I show you the details about all types of Kyushu Rail Pass. And I will compare Kyushu Rail Pass and a regular fare. You may find the way to get the worth of the pass.

Types and prices

Kyushu Rail Pass have four types, All area pass, Northern area pass, Southern area pass and Fukuoka wide pass. Each types have 3-day and 5-day. I would like to compare these prices and single fare.

Types/Price5-day3-day2-day
All area18,330 yen
Child 9,160 yen
15,280 yen
Child 7,640 yen
Northern10,190 yen
Child 5,090 yen
8,660 yen
Child 4,330 yen
Southern7,500 yen
Child 3,750 yen
Fukuoka
Wide
3,060 yen
Child 1,530 yen

The passes must be used in consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night. Child (6-11 years) rate is half price. Under 6 years is free.

e.g.
If you start to use 3-day pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 3.

Coverage area

Kyushu area pass coverage area

Kyushu Rail Pass All area type covers all JR lines in Kyushu island except Sanyo Shinkansen between Kokura and Hakata/Hakata-Minami. This segment of Sanyo Shinkansen runs in Kyushu. But this is operated by JR West which is a different company from JR Kyushu.

Northern Kyushu area pass coverage area (blue shaded area)

Northern Kyushu Rail Pass covers Nagasaki, Aso, Yufuin, Beppu, Kumamoto, Oita, Sasebo, Huis Ten Bosch and Hakata.

Southern Kyushu Rail Pass coverage area (red shaded area)

Southern Kyushu Rail Pass covers Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima.

Kyushu Rail Pass Fukuoka Wide coverage area (yellow shaded area)

Kyushu Rail Pass Fukuoka Wide covers Hakata, Kokura and surrounding area.

Find your hotels in 218 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels in Nagasaki
Hotels in Aso
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Validity

Kyushu Rail Pass does not cover any JR bus lines, city bus, private railway, tram and subway. The condition of Kyushu Rail Pass is similar to JR Pass. But JR Pass does not cover Mizuho on Kyushu Shinkansen. Kyushu Rail Pass covers Mizuho.

Kyushu Rail Pass covers a reserved seat fee and a base fare. Green seat pass is not available. If you want to take a seat in Green car, you have to pay full fare of seat fee. Kyushu Rail Pass covers only a base fare.

e.g.
Hakata – Nagasaki
the base fare 2,810 yen
Ordinary reserved seat fee 1,900 yen
Gree seat fee 2,950 yen

Kyushu Rail Pass covers 2,810 yen base fare and 1,900 yen Ordinary reserved seat fee. If you take a Green seat, you have to pay 2,950 yen. The extra charge is not 1,050 yen (2,950 yen – 1,900 yen) which is the difference of Green seat and Ordinary seat.

Compare Kyushu Rail Pass and a regular fare

Before I compare the prices, I would like to show you some regular fares. This fare includes a limited express reserved seat fee and a basic fare. You can find how much you have to use to get the worth of the pass:

Departure
station
Arrival
station
Approximate
Fare
HakataKumamoto5,300 yen
HakataKagoshima
Chuo
10,600 yen
KumamotoKagoshima
Chuo
7,000 yen
HakataNagasaki4,800 yen
HakataSasebo4,000 yen
HakataBeppu or
Oita
5,900 yen
HakataYufuin4,700 yen
OitaMiyazaki6,200 yen
Kagoshima
Chuo
Miyazaki4,500 yen
NobeokaMiyazaki3,300 yen

And the following faretable shows you a base fare and a limited express non reserved seat fee. You may use this faretable for Fukuoka Wide pass

Departure
station
Arrival
station
Approximate
Fare
HakataKokura2,000 yen
HakataKurume1,500 yen

If you have a round trip to Kagoshima-Chuo from Hakata, you can get the worth of 5-day All Kyushu Area Pass. Northern Kyushu Area Pass is cheaper than a round trip fare for Hakata to Kumamoto. Southern Kyushu Area Pass is available for 3-day only. But the price is almost same as Kumamoto to Kagoshima-Chuo by Shinkansen one way fare. In summary, it is quite easy to get the worth of these passes.

Kyushu Rail Pass Fukuoka Wide is a bit different from other Kyushu Rail Pass. It does not cover a reserved seat fee. You have to take a seat in non reserved car. Shinkansen is not covered. However it is easy to get the worth as well. If you make a round trip to Kokura or Mojiko, it is paid off.

Seat reservation

As I mentioned above, Kyushu Rail Pass Fukuoka Wide does not cover a reserved seat fee. Other Kyushu Rail Pass covers a reserved seat fee. But there is a maximum limit.

5-day3-day
16 times10 times

As long as you travel normally, this is enough. You cannot reach the maximum number of booking. But if you reach the maximum number and you cannot book a seat any more, you still can take a seat on non reserved seat car. Your seat is not secured and you may not be able to get a seat. You have to stand up in the train.

Compare Kyushu Rail Pass and Japan Rail Pass

Kyushu Rail Pass is a perfect choice for the tourist who travel in Kyushu island only and fly in and out Kyushu. But if you go other areas, like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, you should make sure a total cost. I will show you some samples.

Round trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima on Kyushu Rail Pass

It is one hour away from Hakata by Shinkansen. If you go to Hiroshima by Shinkansen, the round trip fare is 8,940 x 2 = 17,880 yen.

You may add Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass which is cheaper than a regular fare.

Kansai area and Kyushu trip

You can fly between Osaka and Fukuoka or other airports in Kyushu. You can use Kyushu Rail Pass in this case. You can use other deal in Kansai area:

Kansai ticket guide

But if you take a train between Osaka and Kyushu, you may use other choice. If you travel only northern part of Kyushu, Sanyo-Sanin Area Pass and Northern Kyushu Rail Pass are recommended.

If you travel all part of Kyushu, JR Pass is recommended:

I hope this post will help you to travel in Kyushu area!

138 thoughts on “Kyushu Rail Pass user guide. The best deal to travel Kyushu by train.”

  1. Hi Takeshi san
    this Nov just plan go to Kyushu.
    already buy JR Kyushu pass 3 day North and south.
    i would like to catch Yufuin No Mori, Kawasemi, Hayato, Ibutama, isaburo
    did i still need to reserve seat if i already have JR kyushu pass

    1. Hi kamal tz san,

      Yes, you must book a seat before boarding for Yufuin no Mori, Ibutama and Kawasemi Yamasemi. These trains do not have non reserved seat. You cannot get on the train without a reserved seat ticket. Kyushu area pass covers reserved seat fee. So you don’t need to pay but you have to get a reserved seat ticket before boarding. Hayato no Kaze and Isaburo have non reserved seat car. But I recommend you get a reserved seat ticket too.

      You can book a seat at any major JR stations after you get a pass in Japan. Online is available but you have to pay online reservation fee.
      http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/railpass/railpass.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi san,

    Would like to ask is it possible to travel around Kyushu with a 5 day North Kyushu pass and a 3 day South Kyushu pass? Was wondering if that’s possible, to spend more time in north Kyushu, instead of getting a 5 dayAll Kyushu pass which is also more costly.

    Would appreciate if you could advise, before I book my return airfares to Fukuoka. Thank you.

    1. Hi Carmen san,

      You can do it. But if you use Southern Kyushu Rail Pass, you cannot go back to Fukuoka by train. Southern Kyushu Rail Pass does not cover Fukuoka. If you take the Shinkansen to go back to Hakata (Fukuoka), you have to pay about 5,000 yen for the base fare and the seat fee. But it’s still cheaper than using 5-day Northern Kyushu Area Pass + 3-day All Kyushu Rail Pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear Takeshi,

    I’ve been reading on your information on the pass for traveling in Kyushu. Could you advise me on my below itinerary the best pass I should get for 14 days trip:
    Day
    1 Arrival in Fukuoka airport late afternoon
    2 Saga
    3 Saga Arita
    4 Nagasaki
    5 TBD
    6 Kumamoto
    7 Mount Aso / Takachiho
    8 Miyazaki
    9 Kagoshima
    10 TBD
    11 Hiroshima
    12 TBD
    13 Yamaguchi
    14 Fukuoka
    15 Fukuoka – fly out from Fukuoka in the afternoon

    Am I better off to get 14 days JR pass or mixture of Kyushu Rail Pass & Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Sim,

      I think you can use regular fare ticket, Northern Kyushu Area Pass 3 or 5 days for Saga, Arita and Nagasaki. I cannot say which one is better, regular fare ticket, 3 days or 5 days. It depends on how you travel in day 5.

      You may use All Kyushu area pass 5-day for day 6 to 10. And then you can use Hiroshima Yamaguchi area pass.

      These combination is cheaper than JR Pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for your recommendation on the pass combination. I will work closely on my itinerary to fit the combination of the pass.
        Cheers!

  4. Hi Takeshi san,
    Is it possible to cover both north and south Kyushu if I get separate passes ie a 5 day North Kyushu and a 3 day South Kyushu? Or only possible to do so with a All Kyushu pass?
    Thank you.

  5. Hi Mr Takeshi,

    the northern kyushu pass did mention they have cover as above :
    ・Local trains
    ・Limited express trains
    ・Shinkansen(Hakata – Kagoshima-chuo )

    May i know how to determine the local train?

    Thank You.

  6. Takeshi-San, I’m planning a trip to Kyushu; we fly into and stay in Fukuoka first, then Kumamoto for 2 days, then Kitakyushu for another 3 days, then back to Fukuoka for return flight. Should I buy 5 day northern Kyushu pass or 3 day pass then pay for return trip to Fukuoka separately in case the 5 day pass may expire depending on when we leave?

    1. Hi Kenneth san,

      You can go for 5 days pass because it is only 1,500 yen difference between 3 days and 5 days. It you take the limited express train from Kitakyushu to Hakata, it costs more than 2,000 yen.

      I think you can complete Kumamoto and Kitakyushu trip in 5 days. As long as you complete it in 5 days, you can use 5 days pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Mr Takeshi,

    Does the Kyushu Northern Pass cover the following routes:
    1. JR Kagoshima Line from Kokura to Moji
    2. JR Sanyo Line from Kokura to Shimomonoseki

    Thanks!

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