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Exploring Kyushu with the JR Kyushu Rail Pass: Your Ultimate Guide

Are you planning a trip to Kyushu, Japan's enchanting southern island? If you're looking for a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the region, the JR Kyushu Rail Pass is your ticket to seamless travel. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about using the JR Kyushu Rail Pass, from its benefits and types to how to make the most of this invaluable travel companion.


So, hop aboard and get ready to uncover the wonders of Kyushu with ease and flexibility!


Yufuin No Mori Express Train
Yufuin no Mori is a luxurious express train that travels in Kyushu between Fukuoka and Yufuin. It is covered by the JR Kyushu Pass.

What is the JR Kyushu Rail Pass?

The JR Kyushu Rail Pass is an exclusive ticket that allows unlimited travel on the extensive JR Kyushu railway network. With this pass, you can hop on and off trains, including shinkansen (bullet trains), local, and express trains, without the hassle of purchasing individual tickets.


Available in different durations, such as 3, 5, and 7 days, the JR Kyushu Rail Pass offers exceptional value for money and convenience.


What are the types of JR Kyushu Rail Passes?

1. JR Kyushu Pass (All Kyushu)

JR Kyushu Rail Pass All Kyushu Map
Area of coverage for JR Kyushu Rail Pass (All Kyushu). Photo credit: JR Kyushu

The JR Kyushu Rail Pass (All Kyushu) is the most versatile option, offering the widest coverage across the Kyushu region. With this pass, you can explore the entire island, from the bustling city of Fukuoka in the north to the breathtaking seaside towns of Miyazaki and Kagoshima in the south.


The JR Kyushu Rail Pass (All Kyushu) provides you with the opportunity to choose from various durations to suit your travel plans. Whether you opt for a 3, 5, or 7-day pass, you'll have the freedom to traverse Kyushu and experience its diverse attractions at your own pace. Embark on a memorable journey and discover the wonders of Kyushu with the JR Kyushu Rail Pass (All Kyushu).


2. JR Kyushu Pass (North/South Kyushu)

JR Kyushu Pass Map North & South Kyushu
Areas of coverage for North (left) and South JR Kyushu Passess. Photo credit: JR Kyushu

In addition to the JR Kyushu Rail Pass (All Kyushu), there are also two other options available for exploring Kyushu: the North Kyushu and South Kyushu JR Kyushu Rail Passes.


The North Kyushu JR Kyushu Rail Pass allows you to discover the vibrant cities and scenic landscapes of northern Kyushu. From Fukuoka, the region's bustling hub, you can easily access destinations such as Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Oita, each offering its own unique attractions and cultural experiences.


On the other hand, the South Kyushu JR Kyushu Rail Pass opens up a world of adventure in the southern part of the island. From Kumamoto, you can journey south to explore captivating destinations such as Miyazaki and Kagoshima. Discover pristine beaches, ancient shrines, and stunning volcanic landscapes that define the charm of southern Kyushu.


The North Kyushu JR Kyushu Rail Pass is available in both the 3 or 5-day pass, while the South Kyushu JR Kyushu Rail Pass only has the 3-day pass available.


JR Kyushu Shinkansen
The JR Kyushu Shinkansen connects Hakata and Kagoshima with numerous stations in between.

Which JR Kyushu Rail Pass should I get?

The JR Kyushu Rail Passes are unique in the sense that there are options with different areas of coverage. As a first-time visitor to Kyushu, I found the North Kyushu Pass to be the most worthwhile as it covers the main cities of Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Beppu, and also the scenic onsen town of Yufuin.


But if you do plan to cover more cities, especially those in the southern coast, then the All Kyushu Pass will probably make the most economic sense while giving you all the flexibility you need to explore Kyushu to the fullest. For you to make a quick comparison, here's a table to summarise what they cover:

JR Kyushu Pass (All Kyushu)

JR Kyushu Pass (North Kyushu)

JR Kyushu Pass (South Kyushu)

Validity & Price

  • 3 Days (¥17,000)

  • 5 Days (¥18,500)

  • 7 Days (¥20,000)

  • 3 Days (¥10,000)

  • 5 Days (¥14,000)

  • 3 Days (¥8,000)

Area of Coverage

All of Kyushu

North Kyushu

South Kyushu

Seat Reservation Limit

Unlimited

6 Times

6 Times


Benefits of the JR Kyushu Rail Pass:

  1. Unlimited travel: Enjoy unlimited travel on JR Kyushu's extensive railway network, including their sightseeing Design & Story Trains.

  2. Flexibility: Hop on and off trains as you please, allowing you to explore Kyushu at your own pace and visit multiple destinations within the pass's validity period.

  3. Cost savings: The JR Kyushu Rail Pass provides significant savings, especially for those planning to visit multiple cities or embark on day trips.

  4. Convenience: Say goodbye to the hassle of purchasing individual tickets at each station. Simply show your pass at the manned gates and board the train.

  5. Reserved seating: While the pass grants access to non-reserved seating, you can also make free reservations for specific train departures, ensuring a comfortable journey.


JR Kyushu Pass Hakata Station
You can redeem your JR Kyushu Pass at the JR Hakata station in Fukuoka, and also make your seat reservations. Photo credit: Klook

How to use the JR Kyushu Rail Pass:

  1. Purchase the pass: Buy your JR Kyushu Rail Pass before arriving in Japan. It's available for purchase online or at selected online travel agencies, such as Klook.

  2. Redeem the pass: Upon arrival in Kyushu, head to any JR Kyushu station's designated counter to redeem your pass. You'll need to present your passport and electronic exchange order.

  3. Plan your itinerary: Map out your travel destinations and identify the trains you'll be using. Check the train schedules and reserve seats if necessary.

  4. Boarding the train: Simply enter the station through the automatic ticket gate using the JR Kyushu Rail Pass and proceed to the platform. If you've reserved a seat, locate the corresponding car and seat number on your ticket.

  5. Exiting the station: When you arrive at your destination, simply pass through the ticket gates and you can start exploring.



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