All Aboard! The Special Trains of Kyushu

ByWilliam Farrow
Apr 28, 2022

All Aboard! The Special Trains of Kyushu

Japan is famous for its trains and their consistency. Foreign residents often remark that the trains are always neat and reliable. This punctuality is an immense pride point of the industry for sure.

However, Kyushu residents can also travel in style. JR Kyushu has provided them with stylish, themed trains that will make your next travel memories about the journey as memorable as the destination itself.

Today, we look at some of the neat train options Kyushu residents have at their disposal. Please always remember that these trains have limited seats available and be sure to get your tickets in advance whenever possible.

The Limited Express Aso Boy!

This train runs between Kumamoto and Beppu, Oita. The big appeal is the child-friendly atmosphere of the train. There is a cafe, a book collection (though the books are in Japanese), and a wooden ball pool to help entertain children on the three-and-a-half-hour train ride. Here is a link to a brief blog in English detailing the experience.

This train also serves as a fun way to go to the Aso region for those hoping to make a trip out to the caldera. With the kid-friendly amenities and atmosphere, Aso Boy! is the top choice for families traveling between Kumamoto and Oita. Please always double-check the train calendar if you wish to ride, as the train is not guaranteed to run every day.

The Smooth and Jazzy A-Train

Despite being a bit of a mouthful to say, “Let’s Go on the A-Train” (called the A-Train for the rest of the article) provides pure style. The ride is one of the best ways to spend an all-too-brief half hour traveling and runs between Kumamoto and Misumi station. Looking to expand upon the jazz tune of the same name, the A-Train does its best to mimic the jazz bar image its name conjures up.

Adults can order drinks at the bar to fully settle into the experience. The train also has stained glass, which offers a unique aesthetic touch.

All in all, this is a great way to make your way out of Kumamoto city to see other parts of the prefecture.

All Steamed Up! The SL Hitoyoshi

A train that beckons a bygone era, the SL Hitoyoshi (SL being shorthand for “Steam Locomotive”) used to offer a fun way to get out to the city of Hitoyoshi. However, after the Kyushu floods of 2020, the train now runs out to the city of Tosu in Saga prefecture. The train itself gained fame when it was repainted to mimic the train that served as the setting for the Demon Slayer movie.

For anyone who loves the look of steam locomotives, the SL Hitoyoshi definitely will fit the bill. The three-car train also offers excellent views and includes a free space area in the back of the third car.

The train itself also serves lunches, drinks, and more from its “Buffet” section, which will help anyone who gets hungry or thirsty during the two-and-a-half-hour train ride.

There is even a mini steam locomotive museum that is perfect for train fans of all ages.

Did you go on any of the trains? JR Kyushu offers more than just these, so feel free to look around their website (Japanese) for more travel ideas!

Alt winmaerik, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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