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Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/25 13:29
Kim, you mentioned:

> My favorite Kyushu trains are the ones that run between Kumamoto and Kagoshima, but that is a complicated trip that requires considerable research and may not even be available right now.

Which particular train were you referring to?

So far I got tickets on two different trains: A Ressha de Ikou Kumamoto-Misumi https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/chinese/train/atrain.html, and Kamasemi Yawasemi Mojiko - Hakata (on 2 different days).

I also saw this ad: https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/booking/pdf/00_363_201016.pdf about Kyushu Express. I was thinking to try either that, or Aru Ressha https://www.jrkyushu-aruressha.jp/en/ (even though it's kinda expensive).

I am going to Kagoshima later, but have a few days to ride around the area first.
by snowytokyo rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/25 15:37
Hisatsu Line between Yatsushiro and Hayato is close to to flood damage.

Isaburo-Shinpei, Hayato No Kaze, Kamasemi-Yamasemi and SL Hitoyoshi all are not operating on this line.

Isaburo-Shinpei and Kamasemi-Yamasemi are running between Hakata and Mojiko currently on weekends instead.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/25 18:59
Yes :( I just found out that Aru Ressha is cancelled until November because of typhoon damage. I didn't realize it was that horrible this summer :(

And the 36+3 is a new train, its first run is mid October lol
by snowytokyo rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/25 21:34
I am no expert on the Kyushu sightseeing and limited express trains, unfortunately. I just don't get there very often. The ride that I enjoyed the most was between Kagoshima and Kumamoto using the Hayato no Kaze and Isaburo-Shinpei, and then a couple of years ago adding the Kawasemi-Yamasemi. (I never took the SL Hitoyoshi, although it's possible to include this as part of the series.) I took that ride once from south to north and once from north to south, the first time predating the introduction of the Kawasemi-Yamasemi. It was a nuisance to plan and set up, especially the last time when I included the Kawasemi-Yamasemi. Connections, layovers, and availability of tickets get pretty complicated, and the Hayato no Kaze doesn't run every day. But you don't have to worry about all that, with the Hisatsu Line being closed (too bad, but hopefully the line will be restored by the next time you go to Kyushu...). I'm glad you got a ticket on the Kawasemi-Yamasemi, though, as the train itself is a real kick. The route they are running it on right now is completely different and you won't get the splendid scenery and interesting details of the usual route, but I think it's well worth taking anyway. I expect you will have fun riding it.

I don't know anything about the "A Train" but it looks like fun. I considered it on my last trip but I just didn't have enough days there.

As I mentioned earlier, the Ibusuki no Tamatebako (Ibutama) is kind of fun. It is very touristy (although so is the Kawasemi-Yamasemi), but it isn't very long. If you take it, try to get one of the seats that face the ocean (the ones all in a row, and not the paired regular seats; I believe if you ask for "umigawa" they will know what you mean, although those seats sell out first). You probably don't want to take it unless you come up with plans for something to do out there (basically requiring buses), unless you really love train riding for itself, in which case I guess you could just do a round trip. I took the Nanohana train on that line one way last year (it is not really a sightseeing/tourist train but is nicely painted on the outside, and more importantly it stops less often than the regular local trains, which I wouldn't particularly recommend).

Basically any of the operational trains are worth considering, if you ask me. It sort of depends on where you are staying. I have done Nagasaki as a day trip from Fukuoka, and Beppu is also not a bad destination. (Many foreigners find Beppu "trashy" but I really enjoyed visiting some of the hells there, and also the place where they the cook food for you using an onsen facility is fun. My memory is bad this morning and I forgot the name. You pick out various food items and then they put it into a steamer. It's not haute cuisine, but the entertainment value is pretty high.) Anyway, just the plain limited express trains to places like those are an okay ride and you can have a nice excursion with them. With the Kyushu Shinkansen available "free" with the JR pass, there are so many options on that side of Kyushu. (I have never been to Miyazaki or Oita and don't know anything about that side of the island.) By the way, be prepared for the fact that the Kyushu Shinkansen itself is not all that great in terms of scenery (enormous number of tunnels). Its virtue is its speed, and of course it is very comfortable.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/26 13:03
Is there a place on the JR East website (or any official JR website) that talks about residents being able to buy the Japan Rail Pass?
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/26 16:51
Kim thanks for the recommendations!

Kawasemi-Yamasemi was amazing! The train itself was packed especially going from Hakata to Mojiko, with even more people taking pictures of it from the platforms. If anyone plans to take it, you can grab a bento box at one of the stations (I think it's Orio). Sells out quickly though.

Mojiko is quite nice as well. I'd spend a few hours more if the schedule allowed. You can cross over the under-water tunnel near the Kanmon bridge, to the other side of the strait. On the other side, there's a restaurant ƒ with great soba and sashimi of some fish I've never had before. It has an incredible view over the strait. Takes about 15 min to reach it from Mojiko tunnel entrance.

I'll probably take the Yufuin no Mori next if it's available. Otherwise, I'll go to Nagasaki or Kagoshima.

Rabbityama: unfortunately, the JR pass is not available for Japanese residents. I meant that it's available for foreign tourists to buy it when they are already in Japan (until a few years ago you could only buy it while still abroad).
by snowytokyo rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/26 18:34
Yufuin no Mori goes only as far as Bungo-Mori station due to flood damage also. Well last I checked a week ir two ago. JR Kyushu has the details anyway.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/26 19:30
So glad to hear you enjoyed the Kawasemi-Yamasemi! Not sure how many birds there are on that new alternate route, but maybe some nice sea birds. (Well, I didnft see a single kingfisher when I rode it, but the river was just stunning that day, like a mirror. Quite memorable.) Thanks for the information on Mojiko. Sounds fun and Ifll make a point of checking it out the next time I have a chance. Could be a while, sigh...

If you can use a recommendation for Nagasaki there is a restaurant I like a lot there, Bistro Bordeaux. You can find it on Google Maps and see if it strikes your fancy; it isnft for everyone, I would say. I really enjoyed the ambience and the turko-fu rice there. (They have several variations of turko rice on the menu, but also other things if youfre not interested in turko rice.) Itfs near the Shianbashi tram stop and one real plus is that it is open from 11 a.m. and throughout the afternoon for lunch (lunch menu until 5). In fact, it can get busy so itfs best to avoid the lunch and dinner rushes.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/27 00:46
Thanks!

Yes, Yufuin No Mori requires a ~50 minute bus connection to Yufuin, and there's no forecast about when the railtrack will be fixed (so I suppose at least not this year). Between the earthquake and the flood Kyushu railway is really difficult to maintain.

The time available in Yufuin without an overnight stay is quite short, due to the bus connection. So I'll skip Yufuin-no-Mori this time, and hope to ride it when it's fully revived; I hope I'll visit Kyushu again. Instead I'll head to Kagoshima earlier.

by snowytokyo rate this post as useful

Re: Recommendations for a JR pass trip 2020/9/29 12:26
>>Is there a place on the JR East website (or any official JR website) that talks about residents being able to buy the Japan Rail Pass?

The only one I've ever seen for Japan residents (and foreign passport holders) is the JR East Tokyo Wide Pass.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

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