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tridentalx

Week in Kyushu in March

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tridentalx

Hi all,

 

I've booked flights for a week travelling around Kyushu in mid-March. I've visited Tokyo and Kyoto before (I won't claim I have seen it all) and saw a couple of Train Cruise episodes on Kyushu and it looked very interesting. One slight issue is that I think some of the special trains are seasonal and I may be a bit too early for them. At the moment I can only see a timetable up to the end of Feb.

 

So plan is:

 

Day 1 Arrive and Hiroshima

Day 2 Miyajama and Sakura / Sonic trains to Beppu

Day 3 Beppu, Yufuin and Yufuin No Mori train to Kurume. Then Shinkansen Sakura to Kagoshima

Day 4 Sakurajjima

Day 5 Ibusuki No Tamatebako to Ibuskui

Day 6 SL Hitoyoshi (iI'm hoping this is the first day of it running), Isaburo Shinpei and Hayato No Kaze then a rather punishing long trip to Nagoya en route to Tokyo (yes I know I could fly but I have a JR pass).

[if I thought I could get a reservation I'd aim to get on the Sunrise Seto Sleeper but I hear that it is usually fully booked]

Day 7 / 8 Bit of shopping in Tokyo and the Omiya railway museum.

 

I know all the above is a travel heavy schedule but I'm travelling alone and fancy some train rides!

 

Any comments or suggestions welcome. 

 

Paul

 

(oh and a PS - are any of the Kyushu special trains available as models? Will have to bring a few bits home.)

 

Edited by tridentalx

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katoftw

Fairly rushed and not a lot of time for sightseeing.  IF okay with that. All good.

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tridentalx

 

12 hours ago, katoftw said:

Fairly rushed and not a lot of time for sightseeing.  IF okay with that. All good.

 

Fair comment! I actually took a couple of bits out already. Day 5 can be a day of rest if I am running out of energy. And on day 7 I just need to visit a couple of model shops in Tokyo.

 

 

Edited by tridentalx

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Ochanomizu

Hello,

 

I'd certainly be trying to ride a 787 series before they're gone, if you haven't already ridden one.  I really miss the 787 green car.  I used to ride it to Nagasaki. 

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JR 500系

Nice plan! I would be weary of day 6 though, cause the Hitsatsu line full journey (SL Hitoyoshi - Isaburo/Shinpei - Hayato no Kaze) in itself is quite a LONG ride, adding in kinda long ride from Kagoshima Chuo to Shin-Osaka and later to Nagoya is really quite a serious train journey... For us rail fans it's a heaven, be weary of non-rail fans travelling along too... 

 

On ‎10‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 4:22 AM, tridentalx said:

 

(oh and a PS - are any of the Kyushu special trains available as models? Will have to bring a few bits home.)

 

 

Of course! 

 

Yufuin no mori by Tomix, Isaburo-Shinpei and Hayato No Kaze by MA, Aso Boy by MA, 783 series Huis Ten Bosch/ Midori, 883/ 885 series Sonic & Kamome just to name a few… 

 

Oh yes, if it's March next year, the very special seven stars of Kyushu by Kato... 

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Das Steinkopf

I have to agree with Sammy when it comes to hitting the joyful train trifecta on day 6, we did the trip last year and it took a whole day leaving Hakata early in the morning using the Shinkansen to Kumamoto and then the long trip to Kagoshima Chuo, we got there late in the afternoon and had a bit of a look around at the shops before grabbing a bite to eat and then travelling back to Hakata using the Shinkansen again.  

 

If you are after N scale models the Popondetta in Hakata has an extensive range of JR Kyushu models as well as other models, I was surprised with the prices as most Popondetta stores tend to be a bit pricey whilst the Hakata store offered a lot of discounts on items, Kato track for example was cheaper than at Yodobashi. 

 

Another cool thing you should look out for is the ornamental key rings that they sell onboard each train, my wife really enjoyed getting these but sadly she wasn't able to get one for the Kawasemi Yamasemi as the service had been only running for about a week when we got to ride it.

BC0FAD67-3842-4AE2-B0B8-6284134025DC.jpeg

Edited by Das Steinkopf
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katoftw

I think day 6 will work starting from kagoshima. Dinner at Kumamoto. Relax and maybe sleep on shinkansen to Shin-Osaka before transfer.

 

Day 3 is the issue for me. Beppu Yufuin plus 4 hours of travel. Just doesnt all fit in. As you arrive late at Beppu the evening before.

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tridentalx
9 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

Nice plan! I would be weary of day 6 though, cause the Hitsatsu line full journey (SL Hitoyoshi - Isaburo/Shinpei - Hayato no Kaze) in itself is quite a LONG ride, adding in kinda long ride from Kagoshima Chuo to Shin-Osaka and later to Nagoya is really quite a serious train journey... For us rail fans it's a heaven, be weary of non-rail fans travelling along too... 

 

 

Of course! 

 

Yufuin no mori by Tomix, Isaburo-Shinpei and Hayato No Kaze by MA, Aso Boy by MA, 783 series Huis Ten Bosch/ Midori, 883/ 885 series Sonic & Kamome just to name a few… 

 

Oh yes, if it's March next year, the very special seven stars of Kyushu by Kato... 

 

Yep agree that is very long. I'm on my own so can sleep the whole way on shinkansen if i'm tired.

 

Thanks for the model suggestions. Yufuin No Mori will be on the list,  one of the diesel railcar sets and a Sonic.

 

8 hours ago, Das Steinkopf said:

I have to agree with Sammy when it comes to hitting the joyful train trifecta on day 6, we did the trip last year and it took a whole day leaving Hakata early in the morning using the Shinkansen to Kumamoto and then the long trip to Kagoshima Chuo, we got there late in the afternoon and had a bit of a look around at the shops before grabbing a bite to eat and then travelling back to Hakata using the Shinkansen again.  

 

If you are after N scale models the Popondetta in Hakata has an extensive range of JR Kyushu models as well as other models, I was surprised with the prices as most Popondetta stores tend to be a bit pricey whilst the Hakata store offered a lot of discounts on items, Kato track for example was cheaper than at Yodobashi. 

 

Another cool thing you should look out for is the ornamental key rings that they sell onboard each train, my wife really enjoyed getting these but sadly she wasn't able to get one for the Kawasemi Yamasemi as the service had been only running for about a week when we got to ride it.

 

 

I start in Kumamoto so a bit shorter. Thanks for the Popondetta suggestion. Will have a look in there.

 

1 hour ago, katoftw said:

I think day 6 will work starting from kagoshima. Dinner at Kumamoto. Relax and maybe sleep on shinkansen to Shin-Osaka before transfer.

 

Day 3 is the issue for me. Beppu Yufuin plus 4 hours of travel. Just doesnt all fit in. As you arrive late at Beppu the evening before.

 

Doing it south to north i looked at. if the SL Hitoyoshi is running the timings mean it makes very little difference to the end time. if it isn't running then i can head off on Shinkansen earlier. 

 

Any predictions whether SL Hitoyoshi will be running on 16th March?

 

Will look again at Day 3 and pick between Beppu and Yufuin perhaps.

 

Thanks everybody for the suggestions.

 

 

Paul

 

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katoftw

March being after the normal timetable annual update wont be listed yet. You might find a supplimentary timetable a month or two out.

 

But being a Saturday and not the winter months. It should be running.

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tridentalx
5 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

There's schedule posted on JR Kyushu website, but that is only until 28th Feb 2019... 

 

http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/pdf/timetable_20180714_20190228.pdf

 

Thanks. I have that one and it has been useful for general planning and making assumptions about timings.

 

1 hour ago, katoftw said:

March being after the normal timetable annual update wont be listed yet. You might find a supplimentary timetable a month or two out.

 

But being a Saturday and not the winter months. It should be running.

 

Thanks. Fingers crossed. I will keep watching for an updated TT from the end of the year.

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tridentalx

Thanks for all the feedback. My biggest problem now is the long list of Kyushu related trains I want to bring back! 

 

Tidied up the itinerary a bit. I realised that I shouldn't make a trip on the SL Hitoyoshi the defining factor - after all to be honest I am not a great fan of steam engines in the UK - so the plan now is an optional short trip if its running (and if I can get a reservation) otherwise watch it leave and take some photos / video.

 

Day 1 Arrive and Hiroshima

Day 2 Miyajama and Sakura then Sonic to Beppu

Day 3 Yufuin and Yufuin No Mori train to Kurume. Then Shinkansen Sakura to Kagoshima

Day 4 Sakurajjima. Quick trip to Ibusuki if time permits.

Day 5 Hayato No Kaze, Isaburo Shinpei and Kawasemi Yamasemi to Kumamoto.

Day 6 Watch the SL Hitoyoshi depart or do a quick 40m trip on it. Shinkansen to Tokyo (still a long day). 

Day 7 / 8 Bit of shopping in Tokyo and the Omiya railway museum.

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katoftw

The Isaburo-Shinpei normally lines up with the SL Hitoyoshi, so you might catch up with it for photo in Hitoyoshi also.

 

Going by the current timetable.  And I fail to see that it will change much as it ihas been like this for years.  But if you catch the first Hayato No Kaze and Shinpei, then you'll arrive in Hitoyoshi at 1pm.  SL departs at 2:43, and Kawasemi-Yawasemi departs at 1:25pm and 5:something pm.

 

So if you catch the last Kawasemi-Yamasemi, you have time to see the SL come out of its shed and onto the platform.

 

If you do choose to stay in Hitoyoshi for a few hours:- http://maru-piyoko.hatenadiary.jp/entry/2015/10/13/141555  It is just a few minutes walk from the station.

Edited by katoftw

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tridentalx
20 hours ago, katoftw said:

Going by the current timetable.  And I fail to see that it will change much as it ihas been like this for years.  But if you catch the first Hayato No Kaze and Shinpei, then you'll arrive in Hitoyoshi at 1pm.  SL departs at 2:43, and Kawasemi-Yawasemi departs at 1:25pm and 5:something pm.

 

So if you catch the last Kawasemi-Yamasemi, you have time to see the SL come out of its shed and onto the platform.

 

If you do choose to stay in Hitoyoshi for a few hours:- http://maru-piyoko.hatenadiary.jp/entry/2015/10/13/141555  It is just a few minutes walk from the station.

Thanks for the Hitoyoshi link. Never thought to look for local things there.

 

I think the issue with watching the SL at Hitoyoshi is that I'm doing that trip on the Friday and the equivalent week in 2018 the SL only started on the Saturday. Hence the watching trip the next day. If when the 2019 calendar is published I'm wrong then I can replan a little bit.

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tridentalx

Hi all,

 

Thanks to all the feedback and info I am part way through a fabulous trip to Kyushu. In the end the itinerary is: 

 

Hakata - Beppu - Yufuin - Kagoshima - Kumamoto - Hiroshima and Tokyo. 

 

So so far I have ticked off all of the intended trains = Yufuin No Mori (twice), Sonic, Tsubame, Ibusuki no Tametabako, Hayato No Kaze, Isaburo Shinpei, Kawasaki Yamasemi and a couple of extras - Kirishima and Nichirin. 

 

The only train I couldn’t get a ticket for is the SL Hitoyoshi but I am at this moment standing at Kumamoto station to at least grab a few photos.

 

Photos to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Das Steinkopf

I hope you got to enjoy the trip on the Kawasemi Yamasemi, the good thing with it is if you don't get the chance to ride the SL Hitoyoshi is you get to travel the same route and enjoy the beautiful scenery which is one of the main attractions of that trip.

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tridentalx
On 3/16/2019 at 3:07 PM, Das Steinkopf said:

I hope you got to enjoy the trip on the Kawasemi Yamasemi, the good thing with it is if you don't get the chance to ride the SL Hitoyoshi is you get to travel the same route and enjoy the beautiful scenery which is one of the main attractions of that trip.

Yes I did take a trip on that. Very enjoyable.

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tridentalx
Posted (edited)

Back home now. Here are a couple of pictures

 

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K0DzdCpAeJpcBcuXzkb65BAyALRLqR3XiLuTwkYt

 

Edited by tridentalx
add embedded photos
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tridentalx
Posted (edited)

And a few more

 

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ajdDxTawCbaAE9hkYtjNZEmTu6s8m9SlD8B9UJvV

 

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pvI_Zgo1ZtMn64h4QQUBJaw23hIlufOhgHvvfaJ0

 

Edited by tridentalx
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paolo

Hi Paul,

I'm currently planning a trip to South Japan, starting in Kyushu.

I'm happy I came across your post so I know about all those magnificent trains!

So I've modified my itinerary to catch the triplet, Hayato No Kaze, Shinpei and Kawasemi Yamasemi.

 

I have a doubt though. I'll use a Japan Rail Pass of course, like you did.

Are the seats on those trains reserved only? From what I can see on the JR Kyushu website, only the Kawasemi Yamasemi has reserved seats only, the other two do not.

Did you have any issues reserving a seat?

 

Thanks and beautiful pictures!

 

Paolo

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tridentalx

Ciao Paolo,

 

Kyushu is fabulous. You will have a great time. 

 

I booked reservations for all three as soon as I got to Kyushu and had arranged these three trains to be at the end of the week. As you say though only the Kawasemi is reservation only. I had no trouble getting reservations and none of the trains was completely full (but were close to full). However, I think as it gets closer to summer it might be busier and harder to get reservations. There's a form on the JR Kyushu website that you can download and write your reservations on. Most of the staff in the ticket offices speak enough english (but probably not Italian!) to get you by.

 

Aside from these 3 trains my favourite trip (and this may be a shock to fans of special trains) was the early morning Yufu Limited Express from Oita up to Yufuin. All uphill, motoring hard all the way and a front row seat in an empty train.

 

if you're travelling mostly in Kyushu you could buy a JR Kyushu pass and then you can get online reservations. I only bought the JR pass because of an onward trip to Tokyo.

 

If I can answer any other questions let me know.

 

Paul

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tridentalx

To finish off this thread I should compare what I planned to what I did. So here's what actually happened:

 

Day 1 Arrive and Yufuin No Mori to Oita and onto Beppu. I should have hopped off at Yufuin for a walk round just for an hour or two as i found that was enough to have stroll round, see the lake and take some photos.

Day 2 Hells of Beppu and a trip on the Nichirin to Usuki and back. I was underwhelmed by the Hells. Rather too much of a tourist snare than natural attractions. Usuki was worth a visit. Also added in a quick trip on the Sonic.

Day 3 Yufu Express to Yufuin and Yufuin No Mori train to Kurume. Then Shinkansen Sakura to Kagoshima. Yufuin is very pretty but walking around town is only a couple of hours trip

Day 4 Sakurajjima on an early ferry and first bus tour up to the viewing areas. Walk along the Lava Walk. Back to Kagoshima then quick trip to Ibusuki and back.

Day 5 Hayato No Kaze, Isaburo Shinpei and Kawasemi Yamasemi to Kumamoto. Fabulous day!

Day 6 Watch the SL Hitoyoshi depart then Shinkansen to Hiroshima. Drop bag in locker, visit Peace Memorials, boat out to Miyajjima and a brisk stroll to the Tori gate and back to Hiroshima.  Then late Shinkansen to Osaka then Tokyo. A long day but Hiroshima was an absolutely essential visit. 

Day 7 / 8 Bit of shopping in Tokyo, the Omiya railway museum and teamLab Borderless. Omiya museum is superb, well organised, not too busy and a huge range of exhibits. Japanese is really useful for a full understanding but not essential. teamLab Borderless was a late addition but astounding. I got there at 9 expecting to queue for an hour but it opened early and was empty. By 1100 it was utterly packed.

 

Some very busy and long days (even with all the trains I walked 50Km) but i was there to make the most of it so I have no regrets. What a great week !

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54520244_10156470681328495_3829959970070200320_n.jpg

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paolo

Thank you, Paul, for your answers!

 

Unfortunately I'll arrive in Kyushu (Kagoshima) only the day before I'll take the three trains, so I hope there will still be some seats available. It will be at the end of May, so still not high season.

 

I need the JR pass because I'm flying into Osaka; I'll take the Shinkansen to Kyushu right after landing and then I'll spend another week or so making my way back to Osaka.

But I see that there are many 'smaller' JR passes for the different regions, so I'll see if I can avoid getting the JR pass and get the regional ones instead.

 

I'll also take the Yufuin no Mori from Kurume to Yufu and then to Beppu. I love when you can just stand in the first car looking in front, with the train going through the woods. I did that from Osaka to Koyasan on the Nankai Koya line, very nice!

 

Ok, I'll go back researching, thank you again for all the info!

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katoftw

Kawasemi Yamaseni 1 and 2 have a car unreserved in the mornings. 3, 4, 5 and 6 are all reserve only.

 

Isaburo-Shinpei and Hayato no Kaze have a small section of non reserved on all services.

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Keith
18 hours ago, tridentalx said:

teamLab Borderless was a late addition but astounding. I got there at 9 expecting to queue for an hour but it opened early and was empty. By 1100 it was utterly packed.

Hi Paul,

I have to agree, it looked good in the promotions, but once inside it was mesmerising, I stayed a lot longer than I thought I would and my 15 and 17 year olds were just as enthralled. It is a must do if visiting.

keith

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