Updated on April 2018


The town of Takachiho, famous because of its beautiful gorge, is in the north of Miyazaki prefecture, in center-east Kyushu. However, it is easier to get there from the neighboring prefecture of Kumamoto.

Getting there is less complicated than it seems, but the truth is that, in a country where one immediately becomes accustomed to have a shinkansen to go and buy bread, vicissitudes such as having to change trains and then change to a bus, coordinating that there is only one in the morning to go and another in the afternoon to return, they seem as a little odyssey.

There are more than 30 hotels and restaurants for those interested in overnight stays, usually to watch the Yokagura.


It is the main transport. They are slow, since they circulate in mountain roads, and infrequent, reason why they are usually quite full, not by tourists, but by locals.

  • Express bus Kumamoto – Nobeoka:
    • The majority of tourists will use this option, since it is the most convenient if you intend to go from the usual tourist spots in Kyushu, usually Beppu, Mount Aso, Kumamoto or Fukuoka.
    • There are two companies that operate in combination: Kyushu Sanko (if the ticket is bought in Kumamoto prefecture) and Miyazaki Kotsu (if it is bought in Miyazaki).
    • According to the official website, tickets can not be purchased in advance, but its untrue, you CAN BUY THEM USING THIS LINK.
      Shotscreen of official Sanko Bus website showing that buses to Takachiho are Nonreserved…
      Web bus Kumamoto - Takachiho
      … and shotscreen of official Sanko Bus website allowing you to book on advance

      They are also purchased at bus stations or on the bus itself, first come first served. The exact amount must be given; if you do not have it, the buses are equipped with machines that give change (bank notes over 5000 ¥ are not accepted). You can not buy return ticket, so if you didn’t book on advance, as you jump off the bus in Takachiho, you should go buy your ticket back to Kumamoto, because people who stayed overnight in Takachiho would have bought their tickets early in the morning and the bus may be full.

    • Price per trip:
      • Kumamoto-Takachiho: ¥ 2370 (round trip 4110 ¥).
      • Nobeoka-Takachiho: 1790 ¥.
    • If this express bus is full, there are 4 slow buses a day to Takamori, closest to Takachiho; being the bus full, from there you’ll have to carry on by taxi.
    • There are more intermediate stops than the ones that appear in the following table, but only those of main interest are mentioned. For full schedule, click here:
Kumamoto-Nobeoka Line (from 05/30/2015)

First bus

Second (last) bus

Kumamoto JR Station (bus stop #3)



Kumamoto Kotsu Center (near the Castle) (bus stop #6)



Kumamoto-Aso Airport



Takamori Chuo









Nobeoka-Kumamoto Line (from 05/30/2015)

First bus

Second (last) bus







Takamori Chuo



Kumamoto-Aso Airport



Kumamoto Kotsu Center (near the Castle) (bus stop #6)



Kumamoto JR Station (bus stop #3)



  • Local bus Nobeoka-Takachiho:
    • The most convenient option for those who want to recreate themselves on the quiet and beautiful east coast of Kyushu.
    • It is not an express service, so it has many intermediate stops (which are not reflected in the table) and takes a lot of time.
    • It costs the same as the express, 1790 ¥. There is a one-day pass for 1800 ¥ which allows unlimited travel throughout Miyazaki prefecture; for 10 ¥ more we will have round trip and we can continue using the pass until midnight on other buses. Can be bought at bus stations.
    • * Indicates the old, slowest route. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays there is neither the first nor the last bus.
Nobeoka > Takachiho Takachiho > Nobeoka
6:20* > 7:50 5:24 > 6:35
6:40 > 7:59 6:00* > 7:30
7:30 >
8:31 7:35 > 8:54
8:45* > 10:15 8:15* > 9:45
10:00* > 11:30 9:00 > 10:19
11:00 > 12:19 10:30 > 11:49
11:45 > 13:04 12:09 >
12:40* > 14:10 12:25* > 13:55
13:45 > 15:04 13:30 > 14:49
15:05* > 16:35 14:15* > 14:45
15:30 >
16:31 15:40 > 16:59
16:55 > 18:14 16:30* > 18:00
17:20* > 18:50 17:30 > 18:49
18:15 > 19:34 18:29 >
20:00 > 21:11 19:30* > 21:00
  • Direct bus from Fukuoka:
    • It leaves Hakata Station and passes by Tenjin bus terminal, both in Fukuoka.
    • Operated in combination by Miyazaki Kotsu and Nishitetsu Bus Co. Coaches with toilet.
    • Price:
      • One way: 4020 ¥ (on the web 3870 ¥)
      • Round trip: 7200 ¥ (on the web 7060 ¥)
    • Continues to Nobeoka, but you can not buy the Takachiho – Nobeoka route in Takachiho.
Hakata > Takachiho Takachiho > Hakata
8:03 > 11:35 8:50 > 12:21
10:00 > 13:35 11:00 > 14:31
15:20 > 18:55 16:30 > 19:59
17:20 > 20:55 18:30 > 21:59
  • From Mount Aso. I did not go from either Nobeoka or Kumamoto, I went from Mount Aso, which is the main tourist attraction nearby, just 55 km northwest; so I will also indicate this route:
    • There are five villages from where Mount Aso can be visited: Aso Nishimachi (usually abbreviated as Aso) and Miyaji in the north, Akamizu and Tateno in the west, and Takamori in the south. The first four are on the JR Hohi Line, so you can get there without problems using the Japan Rail Pass.

      Takamori train station
    • From any of the 4 villages, you should go to Tateno with the JRP and there you change to the Minamiaso Railway (not valid JRP) to Takamori station. It is a spectacular scenic train, but currently the service is partially interrupted by railway damage from the earthquake in Kyushu in November 2016. You can only make the journey from Nakamatsu. There are 3 per day (4 on weekends) and costs 110 ¥ (210 round trip). Before the interruption, the journey from Tateno was made in 30 minutes and cost 460 ¥.
    • From the Takamori railway station, walk 300 meters east to the bus stop (Takamori Chuo), which is right in front of the Takamori Town Tourist Information Center.
    • And there connect with one of the two express buses of the Kumamoto-Nobeoka line. It costs ¥ 1320 per way.

The issue is that I slept in Aso, I’m absolutely sure I took the bus in Takamori because I remember the Tourist Information Center, and I do not remember the scenic train. I have seen photos, and that trip is wonderful. Conclusions:

1. There must be a bus from Aso, where I stayed, or from Tateno. I slept at Aso Base Backpackers (an excellent hostel, by the way); I am sure that there should be information in the hostel or in the JR Aso station itself.

2. I did not know the beauty of the Tateno-Takamori train and I missed it. You have no excuse.


Although it seems incredible in Japan, this is one of the few places that can not be reached by train. The Takachiho-Nobeoka railway line was severely damaged by a typhoon in 2005, destroying two bridges, and since then it has not been restored, which is said to be a real pity, as the journey was reputed to be one of the most spectacular in the country.


In theory it is the simplest option, since public transport is scarce and slow, but being an area outside the radar of foreigners, unless it is hired in Fukuoka or Beppu, it can be difficult to find a car rental office where a language other than Japanese is spoken.

No matter how you get there, it is going to be rewarding

∇ Destinations / ∇ Japan / ∇ Kyushu / ∇ Miyazaki Prefecture / ∇ Takachiho



  1. Pingback: VISITING TAKACHIHO GORGE – Al Was Here


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  4. Pingback: VISITING TAKACHIHO GORGE – Al Was Here

  5. reggas

    can i buy a same day return express bus ticket (Kumamoto–>Takachiho—>Kumamoto) in the Kumamoto bus station (around 9am? when ticket office opens) so that can i be assure of a confirmed seat back from TBC around 4:30 pm after sight seeing in Takachiho.

    if i miss the return leg of the express bus, are there other non-express bus passing/stopping the Takachiho bus center to kumamoto where i still can buy a ticket on the bus to be back in kumamoto hotel even it is much later into the night.

    many thanks and you have a great blog…very informative


    1. You can buy return ticket in Kumamoto, but in high season I’d rather buy it some days on advance, because if you miss the one at 4:30, as far as I know, your only options to get to Kumamoto the very same day is to take the regular bus to Nobeoka and go from there by train using your JRP all the way to Kumamoto, or try to get a seat in the 18:30 expensive express bus to Fukuoka and go back to Kumamoto again using your JRP. I was there in april, took the bus in Takamori and there was plenty of space, but in high season it may be full.

      Thanks to you.


  6. reggas

    thanks Al…but thought u mention the {sanko express bus} cannot make reservations in yr blog above
    “Tickets can not be purchased in advance. They are purchased at bus stations or on the bus itself, first come first served.”

    if i could make advance booking…can share with me how to do ido it?…..which bus website allows that.?
    🙂 i intend to go takachiho from kumamoto on 8apr2018


    1. Hello. You are right I was rigth, sorry I didn’t check my own website before answering. Definitely you can NOT buy tickets on advance for that bus, I just check it again on the bus company website. Still, I think you’ll probably be able to buy return ticket on the very same day. Besides, in April you should not have any problem, I was there in April, although the place it’s becoming more famous nowadays.


    2. I have fresh new. YOU CAN BOOK ON ADVANCE ON THIS LINK:


      This seems to be so new that the official website is not updated. They clearly say “unreserved bus” but if you ignore that and go through their reservation system, you can do it, so as far as probably there’s more people who know this, I highly recommend you to book on advance both Kumamoto – Takachiho and back.


  7. Anonymous

    Just wanted to thank you so much for your blog. We are travelling to Japan in July/August 2018 and plan to visit Takachiho Gorge from Hakata. We were finding it difficult to work out how best to get there and back and your blog has been so useful. Using the link above we booked our return bus tickets for the day.


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