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Visiting Southern Kyushu's hot springs with railroad treasures

2nights,3days Departure from Local Areas(Kumamoto)

Steam locomotives give off a sense of nostalgia. Kyushu has train routes that you can take on sightseeing trains that are considered railroad treasures such as the "SL Hitoyoshi", which blows out smoke as it runs, and the awesome jet-black "Hayato no Kaze" limited express train. They stop by some of the best hot spring areas in southern Kyushu. Take a look at this luxurious trip where you can visit hot spring resorts while riding on these rare trains.

  • 2nights,3days

Kumamoto/SL Hitoyoshi


Kumamoto -- <SL Hitoyoshi 150 mins.> -- Hitoyoshi [Hitoyoshi-onsen Hot Spring] -- <Kumagawa Railroad 21 mins.> -- Okadome Kofuku Station -- <Kumagawa Railroad 13 mins.> -- Taragi -- [Taragi Ebisu Bussankan][Ebisu-onsen Hot Spring Center][Blue Train Taragi]

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.

SL Hitoyoshi

This steam locomotive that blows out smoke as it runs was built over ninety years ago. In addition to a salon observation room, the three carriages include features such as railroad engineer uniforms that children can wear, photography services, and commemorative train passes distributed to passengers that make it fun for even those who are not particularly railroad fans to ride. The Hisatsu Line, which the SL Hitoyoshi runs on, is a reservoir of railroad treasures and is known as the "Hundred-Year Rails".

Kumagawa River

Kumagawa River, which flows along the Hisatsu Line, is the largest river in Kumamoto Prefecture and one of the three most rapid rivers in Japan. In addition to river-rafting, there are many people who come to enjoy fishing. There are even tournaments that are held here. The sweetfish of Kumagawa river is a famous delicacy known for its firm meat.

Kumagawa Railroad

Transfer to the local "Kumagawa Railroad" at Hitoyoshi Station (Hitoyoshi-onsen Station) and head for Taragi.

Okadome Kofuku Station

Okadome Kofuku Station, which is passed along the way, was named so because Okadome Kumanoza-jinja Shrine, which is nearby, was called "Kofuku-jinja Shrine". Shops located adjacently to the station offer Kofuku (happiness) -related goods. Perhaps you can find happiness if you stop by here!

Taragi-onsen Hot Spring

The last stop on the first day of your trip is Taragi Station. Many stone "ishikura" warehouses built to store grain at normal temperatures still remain in this region. This structure is used for various facilities such as a community center and hot spring center. The "Blue Train Taragi" is a popular lodging facility among railroad fans where the "Hayabusa" limited express sleeping cars (Tokyo - Kumamoto) that were discontinued in March 2009 have come back to life as a lodging facility.


1st Day

Kumamoto / Isaburo, Hayato no Kaze


Taragi Station -- <Kumagawa Railroad 36 mins.> -- Hitoyoshi -- <Isaburo 15 mins.> -- Okoba [Switchback] -- <Isaburo 22 mins.> -- Yatake -- <Isaburo 22 mins.> -- Yoshimatsu -- <Hayato no Kaze Limited Express 30 mins.> -- Kirishima-onsen Hot Spring -- <20 mins. by bus> -- [Kirishima Hot Spring Village]


A sightseeing train that was built at the end of the 1800's. The up-train and down-train have different names, with the train going from Hitoyoshi Station to Yoshimatsu called "Isaburo" and the train going from Yoshimatsu Station to Hitoyoshi called "Shinpei".

Okoba Station Switchback

A switchback where the trains travel forward and in the reverse direction in order to climb the steep hill. This is the only loop line (circular) for making a steep incline easier with a switchback in Japan.

Once entering the Okoba station building, you will see business cards pasted all over the wall. It first started when visitors started pasting on their business cards in memory of their trips. It then became customary for visitors to paste on their cards in hopes of success in the future.


Yatake-goe is one of the three most beautiful views from trains in Japan. It is a grand view that includes rows of mountains.

Hayato no Kaze

A train that runs between Yoshimatsu Station and Kagoshima-Chuo Station. It is popular for its magnificent appearance. Kagoshima is a famous production area for sweet potatoes so products such as low-malt beer and pudding made with sweet potatoes are sold on board.

You can see the Kirishima mountain range and the active volcano Mt. Sakurajima through the window while travelling along the edge of Kinko Bay on your way to Kagoshima.

Kirishima Hot Spring Village

The Kirishima Hot Spring Village is a hot spring village with nine small and large hot springs located at 600 to 820 meters above sea level. It is said to be a spot where a god that appears in Japanese mythology descended to, and where the samurai Ryoma Sakamoto, who helped make history during the late Edo era, visited on his honeymoon.

The different scenery of the four distinct seasons can be enjoyed here in addition to the hot springs. The rare hot spring waterfall known as Maruo Waterfall, where the waters of surrounding hot springs get gathered before they fall and produce steam in the winter, is a beautiful sight.


2nd Day



[Kirishima Hot Spring Village] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Kirishima-onsen -- <Hayato no Kaze Limited Express 11 mins.> -- Kareigawa River -- <10 mins. by walk> -- Kareigawa River -- <60 mins. by bus> -- [Ebino Plateau] -- <60 mins. by bus) -- Kareigawa River -- <JR Hisatsu Line 70 mins.> -- Kagoshima

Kareigawa Station

The oldest wooden railroad station in Kagoshima Prefecture, which was built in 1903 and is a registered intangible cultural asset. It is a station with no staff members, but boxed "Kareigawa Station" lunches are sold here on the weekends.

Ebino Plateau

It is known as a treasure chest of abundant natural scenery and is one of the best tourist areas in Kagoshima. The Kyushu Azalea is the representative flower of Kirishima and can only be found in Kyushu. Its beauty when blooming in colors such as pink and purple under the blue sky is enough to take your breath away.


3rd Day

Related Information

JNTO Tourist Information