A Trip through Kyushu on a limited express train

Urakami Area, Sasebo Area, Kumamoto

Trips by rail are very popular in Kyushu as there are plenty of railways such as the Shinkansen with various kinds of limited express trains running throughout the prefecture. As Kyushu is abundant with nature and has a rich history and culture as well as plenty of sights to see, here are some of the many places that you can visit along the westbound limited express route and longitudinal Kyushu Shinkansen route. Travelling on a unique railway makes your trip full of appeal.

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Day 1 - Nagasaki

Hakata -- <JR Nagasaki Main Line Limited Express 120 mins.> -- Nagasaki -- <Nagasaki Electric Tramway 25 mins.> -- Oura Tenshudo-shita -- [Oura Tenshudo Catholic Church] -- <by walk> -- [Glover Garden] -- <Nagasaki Electric Tramway 25 mins.> -- Nagasaki -- <Rapid Sea Side Liner 90 mins.> -- Sasebo

*The times required with public transportation are approximate.


Fukuoka is the center of politics and economy in Kyushu. Among the various locations in Fukuoka, Hakata is an entertainment district with a long history. It is highly recommended that you take a look at some of the sights in Hakata if you have time.

Limited Express Kamome

The limited express train that connects Hakata and Nagasaki is the “Kamome”. The cars have recently been replaced by new models colored white, and are affectionately referred to as “Shiroi Kamome (White Seagull)”. The cars, which are all unified in the Japanese modern style, produce an extravagant look and feel with its wooden floors and leather seats. Staring out the window from such a train makes your trip a luxurious one.


The port city that blossomed as the gateway to abroad long ago. It was an international city where Dejima, the only trading island in Japan during the Edo era (1603 – 1868), was located. The townscape that retains its old atmosphere combined with its hilly streets surrounded by the ocean and mountains creates unique scenery.

Oura Tenshudo Catholic Church

The Oura Tenshudo Catholic Church, designed by French priests in 1864, is the oldest existing Christian building in Japan built by Japanese. There was a time when Christianity was banned in Japan; however, the flame of the faith was never entirely extinguished.

Glover Garden

Nine Western-style buildings have been grouped together at the former enclave for foreign residents and were improved to form a park. When the long period of national isolation ended in 1859, Nagasaki was opened as a port for free trade along with Yokohama and Hakodate. Initially, however, foreigners were permitted to reside only in one tightly controlled area, which was this small enclave.

It is situated on a hilly site, providing a view over the Port of Nagasaki. It is also open at night, during the summer.

Nagasaki Electric Tramway (streetcars)

Streetcars are a good way to travel when sightseeing. They are unaffected by heavy traffic, run smoothly, and four of the lines come every five to eight minutes. You do not have to wait very long to board them and the fare system is easy to understand and convenient as they run on flat fares no matter how far you want to travel. Why not include streetcars as part of your travel by train?

Rapid Sea Side Liner

A rapid-transit train that is popular for its nostalgic atmosphere. It runs between Nagasaki Station and Sasebo Station. The scenery through the window as it runs along the eastern coast of Omura Bay is one that you cannot take your eyes off of.

Huis Ten Bosch


The train also stops at Huis Ten Bosch Station on your way from Nagasaki to Sasebo. Located in Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Huis Ten Bosch is the largest theme park and resort in Japan that replicates a Dutch townscape. The structures and townscape that are reminiscent of Europe can also be seen from outside.


A town that served as a military port for the former Japanese Navy. It still known today as a shipbuilding town. It is also a sightseeing city with tourism resources such as Huis Ten Bosch, Sasebo Naval Base, and various kinds of food to enjoy.

Sasebo Naval Base

Sasebo has a U.S. Navy base, a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force base, and the area where such military facilities are located is known as Sasebo Naval Base. The ships such as the escort vessels that are moored at the port are worth seeing.

Sasebo Burgers

These are the famous hamburgers of Sasebo. There is no standard “Sasebo burger”, and all hamburgers made by hand in this style and served in Sasebo are called Sasebo burgers. They are so popular that dozens of Sasebo burger shops can be found within the city.


Day 2 - Kumamoto

Sasebo -- <JR Limited Express Midori 85 mins.> -- Shin-Tosu -- <Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura 30 mins.> -- Kumamoto -- <20 mins. by bus> -- [Kumamoto Castle] -- <20 mins. by bus> -- Kumamoto -- <Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura 60 mins.> -- Kagoshima-Chuo -- <20 mins. by bus> -- [Shiroyama] -- <15 mins. by bus> -- [Sengan-en] -- <25 mins. by bus> -- Kagoshima-Chuo -- <Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura 90 mins.> -- Hakata

Limited Express Midori

It runs from Sasebo to Kumamoto. Take the Limited Express “Midori”, which runs between Sasebo Station and Hakata Station, until you reach Shin-Tosu to transfer to the Shinkansen. See how elegant-looking the beautiful cars are.


Kumamoto has one of the three greatest castles in Japan – Kumamoto Castle. Its unique scenery where streetcars run through a townscape rich in history still retaining its old castle town essence along modernistic structures is one of its appeals.

Kumamoto Castle


Built in the Middle Ages, it took on its current appearance about four hundred years ago. Visitors can enter and observe the interior. The castle grounds are 5.3 kilometers in circumference and 980 thousand square meters in area. The Kumamoto Castle Loop Bus is convenient for visiting various areas of the castle.

Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura


The Kyushu Shinkansen opened all railway services on the Kagoshima route in 2011. The interior is filled with a traditional sense of Japanese aesthetics as the seat covers are made with Nishijin brocade methods, the blinds are made with cherry wood grown in Kyushu, and so on.


Get on board the Shinkansen and go to Kagoshima Prefecture – the southern edge of the Kyushu mainland. It is a temperate land rich with subtropical plants.


A small mountain standing at the center of the streets of Kagoshima City. There is an observation deck at the peak that commands a view of the entire city area.

Sengan-en (Iso Teien)

The former villa and garden of the Shimadzu Family – the feudal lords of Kagoshima. There are many events such as annual festivities associated with the Shimadzu Family and those filled with traditional Japanese culture held here.


Sakurajima, which is said to be the symbol of Kagoshima, is a world-famous composite active volcano split into the konide-type Kita-dake (northern peak), Naka-dake (central peak), and Minami-dake (southern peak), and still continues to shoot volcanic smoke and ash. Be sure to visit the island as it is accessible from Kagoshima-Chuo Station by bus and ferry in just thirty minutes.


Day 3

Kagoshima-chuo -- <JR Kyushu Shinkansen 77min.> -- Hakata