ESSENTIAL INFORMATION IN KYUSHU: WHEN TO GO, DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES, TRANSPORT

ESPAÑOL

WHEN TO GO AND INCONVENIENCES

Kyushu very deserves a section on “when to go”, or rather, on “when not to go”. This unfortunately is related to the other part of the statement, the possible dangers or inconveniences, and that is because perhaps the worst time to go to Kyushu is right now, considering this, one of the most active areas of a volcanic country like Japan, it is not in its apogee, but enough to spoil part of the trip:

  • Between April 14 and 16, 2016 several earthquakes occur in Kumamoto Prefecture, the most intense 6.2, 6 and 7 points, the latter only one kilometer from Kumamoto City. 41 people die and there are more than 1700 injured. The symbol of this city, its castle, considered the second most important in the country only behind that of Himeji, is severely damaged, and remains closed to the public since then, although we can see it from outside. Its partial reopening is planned in 2021, and it is expected that the complete reconstruction will require almost 20 years of work. Coinciding with the Rugby World Cup in October, part of the courtyards will open.
KYUSHU 1. Castillo Kumamoto castle, Japan, Japon
Kumamoto Castle will need years to look as it used to be
KYUSHU 1. Castillo Kumamoto destruido terremoto Castle destroyed earthquake
That’s the way it looked in 2018. Thanks to my friends Manolo Jiménez and Gadea for the picture
  • Due to this earthquake several train lines are interrupted, and they remain so. Of tourist interest is the line Kumamoto – Beppu, which passes through Mount Aso, and Tateno – Takamori, a scenic train in the direction of Takachiho Gorge. Bus journeys can be made, but it is not the same.
  • Kirishima presents an intermediate activity, which keeps the main path Kirishima Ridge Trail closed, not being able to climb two of the three main peaks.
  • More or less the same happens to Mount Aso, which also has restricted the climb to the main crater, although we can climb the secondary ones.
KYUSHU 0. Monte Asosan volcano, Japan, Japon
Mount Aso expelling a great amount of smoke and toxic gas in April 2013

Even so, I am a big fan of Kyushu, and we should not forget that Nagasaki, Gunkanjima, Takachiho Gorge, Yakushima and the Amami Islands continue where they are, waiting for us to go, so if someone decides to go:

  • Climatology: Kyushu is in a certain way subtropical, more the southern we travel, being the Amami practically tropical. The best times to visit it are spring and autumn, when, even with a chance of precipitation around 40% daily, temperatures are moderate and the landscape is more attractive. Also, in spring the flowering is spectacular in gardens like those of Aoshima, Kagoshima and especially the Kawachi Fuji-en and its wisteria tunnel. In summer humidity and heat are suffocating, and in winter it can be colder than we may think, especially in mountain summits (in Mount Miyanoura in Yakushima at the beginning of April it was 0ºC at night).
  • As for the number of tourists, Kyushu is little visited by foreigners, and those who approach do not usually go further south than Beppu or Nagasaki. The worst time of the year is the first week of May, the Golden Week, the main holiday week in Japan, where everything is full and prices double.

TRANSPORT

The best way to get around Kyushu is to use the train pass called Japan Rail Pass; All the information available for purchase and use is detailed in a specific post. Those who do not wish to acquire it, have two similar options:

  • Kyushu Rail Pass:
    • Exactly the same as the JRP: allows unlimited use on consecutive days in Japan Rail trains, but limited to Kyushu. All trains can be taken, including the Shinkansen. The only one that can not be taken is the Sanyo Fukuoka – Osaka, since JR West operates it.
    • You can buy the pass on official websites, there is one specific for the pass and another one of Japan Rail Kyushu. Also in Kyushu train stations and in travel agencies. If you buy it outside Japan, you will receive a receipt that you must change at the station where you activate the pass.
    • Only non-residents in Japan can buy it.
    • Booking seats is possible on the official website (10 trips for 3 days, 16 for 5 days).
    • There are 4 zones and 3 time intervals; to keep in mind that just the round trip Fukuoka – Kagoshima costs 20.000 ¥:

KYUSHU RAIL PASS

ZONES

DURATION (DAYS)

PRICE (¥)

All Kyushu

3

15.000

5

18.000

North Kyushu (till Kumamoto, Mount Aso and Beppu)

3

8.500

5

10.000

South Kyushu (from Kumamoto to the south, including Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures)

3

7.000

Fukuoka Wide (near Fukuoka, does not include Shinkansen)

2

3.000

KYUSHU 2. Estacion Hakata Fukuoka Station, Japan, Japon
Hakata Train Station, in Fukuoka
  • Sun Q Pass, the bus alternative:
    • Includes unlimited use of most Kyushu buses during the selected period, always consecutive days.
    • It can be purchased at authorized agencies personally or online, or at Kyushu bus stations.
    • Includes some ferries, including Kagoshima – Sakurajima.
    • Anyone can buy it, both foreigners and Japanese. To have a reference, the round trip fare from Fukuoka to Kagoshima by bus is ¥ 8,000.
    • It can be a good option for short journeys, since buses take about the same as trains, but not for those who want to use the Shinkansen, which saves considerable time.
    • There are 3 zones, and 3 or 4 days.

SUN Q PASS

ZONES

DURATION (DAYS)

PRICE ONLINE OR BOUGHT OUT OF JAPAN (¥)

PRICE IN JAPAN (¥)

All Kyushu

3

10.000

11.000

4

14.000

North Kyushu

3

7.000

9.000

South Kyushu

3

6.000

8.000

KYUSHU 3. Ferry Sakurajima, Japan, Japon
Kagoshima – Sakurajima ferry
DESTINATIONS IN KYUSHU:
<FUKUOKA                KAWACHI FUJIEN>
<NAGASAKI                         GUNKANJIMA>
<BEPPU                              KUMAMOTO>
<MOUNT ASO                        MIYAZAKI>
<AOSHIMA                        TAKACHIHO>
<KAGOSHIMA                    SAKURAJIMA>
<KIRISHIMA                       YAKUSHIMA>
YORON-TO>

∇ Destinations / ∇ Asia / ∇ Japan / ∇ Kyushu

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3 thoughts on “ESSENTIAL INFORMATION IN KYUSHU: WHEN TO GO, DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES, TRANSPORT

  1. Pingback: INFORMACIÓN EN KYUSHU: CUÁNDO IR, PELIGROS E INCONVENIENTES Y TRANSPORTE – Al Was Here

  2. Pingback: Kyushu (九州) – Al Was Here

  3. Pingback: KAGOSHIMA CITY (鹿児島) – Al Was Here

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