questions & answers: general japan travel

jr nationwide pass & jr all kyushu pass

JR Nationwide Pass & JR All Kyushu Pass

Hi there,

We (two of us) will be heading to Kyushu for 7 full days from 13-19 May, flying in to/out from Fukuoka. This is our first time in Kyushu.

We will be travelling from Fukuoka to Yufuin/Beppu, Mt Aso, Kurakawa Onsens, Kumamoto, Kagoshima/Ibusuki (may not be in that order as we are still planning - it's a rather last min impromptu trip).

We have a few questions below, which we hope you can help us with. Do pardon us if these had been asked before.

(1) If all our 7 days will be spent in Kyushu and no other parts of Japan, would a 7-day JR All Kyushu Pass be sufficient or must we purchase a 7-day JR Nationwide Pass? Does JR All Kyushu Pass allow us to take all the trains (shinkansen, limited express, etc.) that will allow us to fulfil our tentative itinerary listed above?

(2) For all the above destinations, we will be each lugging our ~25" luggage along with us. We plan to visit Mt Aso, before staying a night at Kurakawa Onsens. At the Mt Aso JR Station, will there be lockers big enough for each of our 25" luggage? We understand that we can only get to Kurakawa Onsens by bus, is it inconvenient to bring our two big luggage onto the bus with us to the onsen or should we pack a small backpack & leave our luggage at Mt Aso JR station?

(3) We are trying to book a nice and not-too-expensive onsen (with breakfast & dinner provided) at Kurakawa Onsens, but there're so many of them on the list that we are a bit lost. Would you be able to recommend one or two? Also, we have attempted to book some but most of them are quite fully booked the week we are there. What alternatives do we have?

Thanks in advance for your help with our questions!

piglet
piglet

Hi there,

Both the JR Nationwide Pass & JR Kyushu Pass are valid around Kyushu.I think that the latter is the better option since you only travel around Kyushu. Both passes allow travel to most of the places in your itinerary. Only Kurokawa Onsen is not reachable by train and you will have to use a bus from Kumamoto or Aso (not covered by either pass). I guess you already know this from reading your other questions.

2.) I believe the bus to Kurokawa is an express bus and has a special luggage compartment is you should be okay bringing your luggage. Mount Aso is a very small station so I don't know if you could store your luggage there for a longer period of time.

3.) As for recommending accommodations in general. This is always hard, since we all have different wishes, budgets and so on. Personally I always use booking websites that allow customers to leave a review after booking. This way you can read what other people think of a place and match it to your own wishes. My recommendation would be to have a look at websites that really focus their expertise on travelling in Japan. Such as Rakuten travel and Japanican. These generally have better rates and more availability that general websites that serve hotels worldwide.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Thanks so much for your helpful reply.

Pardon me but I need further help & clarifications.

1) So far, our itinerary is most likely going to be in this order:

Fukuoka => Kagoshima/Ibusuki (2 nights) => Aso/Kurakawa Onsen (1 night) => Kumanto (1 night) => Yufuin (1 night) => Fukuoka (2 nights)
(The reason for the reverse Aso/Kurakawa Onsen & Kumanto stays is due to availability of our onsen on a certain date only.)

Qn: We realised that the JR All Kyushu Pass only has 3-day and 5-day options. Is there a 7-day pass? For our 7 days trip, what we have to buy 3-day + 5-day passes?

2) We hope to do Mt Aso first, then overnight at our Kurakawa Onsen. Noted that we may not be able to store our luggage for a long period of time at Aso Station.

Qn: However, there are still lockers big enough to store our size of luggage for at least our Mt Aso tour for half a day, right?

Qn: Also, what is the name of the bus we should be taking from Aso station to Kurakawa Onsen? I can't seem to find the bus schedule in English as I would like to determine the bus departure timings from Aso & Kurakawa Onsen (vice versa) so that we can decide if we should do Mt Aso first, then Kurakawa Onsen or Kurakawa Onsen first, then Mt Aso.

Thanks so much!

piglet
piglet

Hello again,

If you plan to travel around for 7 days, than I think it may be better to buy a 7 day JR Pass. This because a 7 day JR Pass (¥29,110) is cheaper than a 3 day Kyushu pass (¥14,400) + 5 day Kyushu (¥17,490) pass. An other option you could consider is a 5 day Kyushu + Northern Kyushu Area (¥7,200) if you stay within its covered area.

2.) Yes there are lockers available at both Aso station and the Aso visitor center, so you could take your luggage with you in the bus to Aso and store it there.

3.) The bus is called Sankobus, you can find the time table here, its in Japanese only so I would recommend putting it in Google translate.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

Hi Daniel,

Thanks so much once again.

Pardon my ignorance & stupidity, but I'm having problems understanding the bus schedule. I've translated the time table below.

Destination No. 1(Yufuin Bus Centre) No. 3 (Kurakawa Onsen) No. 5 (Aso Station) No. 7 (Beppu Station)

Aso Station [arriving] 9:46 11:28 12:59 14:39
Aso Station [outgoing] 9:56 11:38 | 14:49
Kurokawa Onsen 10:44 12:26 | 15:37

This is my interpretation of the timetable. There are 4 buses I can take.
When going from Aso to Kurakawa Onsen (KO), I can take bus #1 leaving at 9:56 or bus #2 leaving at 11:38 or bus #7 leaving at 14:49.
How about vice versa, when I leave KO for Aso Station the next morning? The bus schedule doesn't seem to work. Can you enlighten me, please?

Thanks!!!

piglet
piglet

Hi Again,

阿蘇駅前【発】 = the Departure time from Aso-san departing at 9:56 ,11:38 and 14:49.

The time table for the way back can be found here.
http://www.kyusanko.co.jp/sankobus/kyushu_odan/table/tt2.html

I think that you interpreted it good.

Hope this helps!
Daniel

72a8815842aa5db137c135807bd6bb11?s=50&d=mm
Daniel-san
Expert_button_2

You are a saviour, Daniel.
Very grateful for all your help! :)

piglet
piglet

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