See a New Side of Kyushu on One-of-a-Kind Trains

Savor Sumptuous Sweets in a Posh Décor

Lavishly elegant décor of the Aru Ressha
The décor of the Aru Ressha
a variety of confections made from locally sourced ingredients
A sample of the sweets served on board

Kyushu’s “Aru Ressha” luxury passenger train was originally scheduled to go into service around 100 years ago, but plans failed. In 2015, the Aru Ressha was finally realized. Also known as the “JR Kyushu Sweet Train”, passengers can delight in a variety of confections made from locally sourced ingredients while they travel in a lavishly elegant train carriage. The seasonal JR Kyushu Sweet Train will continue to operate between JR Oita station and JR Hita station until September 24 2017. (Tickets must be reserved at least 10 days in advance. A one-way adult ticket between Oita and Hita costs ¥24,000* (*Price based on pair seat reservation for two people. For solo travelers, please inquire directly.) The Oita station terminus is only a 10-minute ride from the hot spring town of Beppu on the JR Nippo Main Line. Why not make it part of your journey?

Stained-glass windows and fully stocked bar on Limited Express A-Train
The bar on the Limited Express A-Train

In Kumamoto Prefecture, the “Limited Express A-Train” runs between JR Kumamoto and JR Misumi stations. Travel back in time amidst the rich wooden interior, stained-glass windows and fully stocked bar. In these jazzy, luxurious surroundings you’ll forget you’re on a train altogether. (A one-way adult ticket between Kumamoto and Misumi costs ¥1,880).

An Amusement-Packed Train Your Kids Will Love

Illustrated exterior of the “Limited Express Aso Boy!” train
Illustrated exterior of the “Limited Express Aso Boy!” train
Parent-child pair seats
Parent-child pair seats with kids next to the window
The train featuresplay equipments
A wooden ball pit is just one of the amusements inside the train

Families with kids can’t get enough of Kyushu’s “Limited Express Aso Boy!” theme train. The train features parent-child pair seats, panorama view seats, as well as play equipment and a children’s book library. There’s a café for mom and dad too. Beginning early July 2017, the Aso Boy! Line will stop at Aso Farm Land natural theme park. (A one-way adult ticket between Aso and Oita costs ¥3,580).

A Beautiful Train with an Elegant Wooden Décor

Vedar interior that will make you feel like you’re chilling at a resort.
Swivel chairs offer great views on the “Limited Express Ibusaki no Tamatebako” line

Trains bound for hot spring towns are immensely popular. Running across southern Kagoshima Prefecture, the “Limited Express Ibusaki no Tamatebako” features a teak and cedar interior that will make you feel like you’re chilling at a resort. The word “Tamatebako” refers to a magical treasure box from Japanese legend. The final stop on the line is the hot spring town of Ibusaki. Experience a new type of detox by burying your body from head to toe in spring-heated sands. (A one-way adult ticket from JR Kagoshima-Chuo station to JR Ibusaki station costs ¥2,140).

Classically designed wood-paneled line
Interior of the “Limited Express Yufuin no Mori” train carriage

If you’re serious about hot spring relaxation, hop on the “Limited Express Yufuin no Mori” train which runs from Hakata, through Yufuin, and onto aforementioned Beppu. Yufuin is particularly popular with women, and this classically designed wood-paneled line will take you there in smooth style. The double-decker design offers passengers an elevated view of the region’s natural scenery. (A one-way adult ticket from JR Hakata station to JR Yufuin station costs ¥4,560).

The wood-paneled exterior of the train
The wood-paneled exterior of the “Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi” train
Polished cedar-lined interior of the“Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi”train
Interior of the “Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi” train

In the southern district of neighboring Miyazaki Prefecture, the “Limited Express Umisachi-Yamasachi” boasts both picturesque mountain and ocean views from its polished cedar-lined interior. There are plenty of reclining seats and sofas throughout the spacious carriage, providing a relaxing journey. Along the way, you’ll pass old samurai residences in the historical town of Obi – known as “the Kyoto of Kyushu”. (A one-way adult ticket from JR Miyazaki station to JR Nango station costs ¥2,320).

There are a variety of unique “Design & Story” sightseeing trains in Kyushu, but it’s best to make reservations in advance. Visit the below websites to create your itinerary today! For overseas visitors planning to travel within Kyushu, the JR Kyushu Rail Pass offers unlimited travel on both standard trains and the special sightseeing trains introduced in this article (excluding Aru Ressha). Consider purchasing a pass to get much more out of your stay.
Note: Prices mentioned in this article are valid as of May 2017 but are subject to change.