This trip occurred because the promotion for Krisflyer miles 15% discount was ending, and we wanted to use up our miles 😛 It was also our longest trip together ever, for we started our planning with great ambition to cover lots of places, before practicality set in, and we decided that we needed a relaxing trip instead, and decided to focus on Kyushu instead 🙂
Our morning started with a SMS informing us that our flight would be delayed for slightly more than an hour, and we discovered that we would not be in time to transfer to the last subway ride to our hotel when we arrived in Osaka 😮 If there were further delays, we might even missed the last train out of Kansai Airport!
Our hopes of perhaps not arriving that late were further dashed, when a SQ staff personally called up to confirm that we did receive the SMS, and advised that we would only touch down at 22:40 local time. Not a great start to our holidays, and this was also the top most worry on the other fellow travellers’ minds, judging from the conversations that we overheard while waiting to board. Once in the plane, we were further informed that the plane would be taking a slightly longer route than usual, to avoid the typhoon in the Philippines. OK, whatever it takes to stay safe *fingers crossed*
We finally touched down at 23:00, and while we were waiting to get off the plane, people were whipping out their phones to check for train schedules (our last train would be 23:55). Suddenly, there was an announcement that there were buses arranged to bring the passengers to selected locations. What a relief!!! We were already preparing for the worst case scenario of staying overnight at the airport.
We cleared customs under 5 minutes, and other than signages, there were staff stationed at the baggage area, and outside the airport to guide everyone to the South Bus Stop. We gotta say that this was the most efficient clearance ever; the bags had already started arriving at the belt by the time we reached the baggage area. Our first time with checked-in luggage, and leaving an airport within 15 minutes upon arrival! Perhaps because ours appeared to be the only (or last) flight to land?
We found the bus easily, and we were further informed that we could put in a claim for up to ¥10,000 for alternative transport after taking the bus. Gotta say the service recovery was really thumbs up!
The bus departed around 23:52, and arrived at Namba subway station at 00:40. We decided to walk to our hotel instead, as we wanted to get some supper. Bought some oden and light breakfast from 7-11, and finally checked into our hotel at 01:00.
Here was our itinerary by day:
Day 1 (Saturday 2 Sep 2017): Spent our only day in 大阪 Osaka, exploring
- 黒門市場 Kuromon Ichiba Market, 心斎橋 Shinsaibashi, 道頓堀 Dotonbori, and 立花通り (Tachibana-doori) Orange Street
- Other than street eats, we also checked out パブロ Pablo, 一蘭ラーメン Ichiran Ramen, カフェ・ヴェーク Cafe Weg, and 美津の Mizuno
Day 2 (Sunday 3 Sep 2017): Day of flying into Miyazaki
- Breakfast at the グリーンカフェ Green Cafe at the Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT)
- Took bus to Itami Airport for our domestic flight to Miyazaki
- After checking into Dormy Inn Miyazaki Hot Springs ドーミーイン宮崎, went to Miyazaki Railway Station, where we exchanged our voucher for the JR Kyushu Pass and made reservations for all our train rides, as well as purchased the 1-day Visit Miyazaki Bus Pass for the next day
- Visited the nearby Miyazaki City Central Park
- Coffee break at カフェ ピット Cafe PIT
- Chicken Nanban dinner at おぐら Ogura
- Free drinks and ramen supper at hotel
Day 3 (Monday 4 Sep 2017): Armed with our 1-day Visit Miyazaki Bus Pass,
- Half day trip to 鵜戸神宮 Udo Jingu & 青島 Aoshima.
- Late lunch at 九州パンケーキ Kyushu Pancake
- Short trip to 平和台公園 Heiwadai Park
- Grilled meat dinner at アパス Apas
Day 4 (Tuesday 5 Sep 2017): Explored the city of 宮崎 Miyazaki, including
- Breakfast at コアンドカフェ COiN de Cafe
- Visited Miyazaki Prefectural Government Office, and a nearby souvenir shop
- Lunch at きっちょううどん Kitchou Udon
- Caught our first legendary Suicune and coffee break at オールウェイズカフェ Always Cafe
- Dinner at 丸万焼鳥 Maruman Yakitori
Day 5 (Wednesday 6 Sep 2017): Activated Day 1 of our JR Southern Kyushu Area 3-Day Pass,
- Morning trip to 霧島神宮 Kirishima Jingu
- Lunch at 江口家
- Afternoon trip to 関之尾滝 (Sekinoo-no-taki) Sekino Waterfall
- Dinner at 塚田農場 Tsukada Nojo
Day 6 (Thursday 7 Sep 2017): Day 2 of JR Pass + our second 1-day Visit Miyazaki Bus Pass,
- Overnight stay at 高千穂 Takachiho, mainly to visit the beautiful gorge and to watch the performance
- Lunch at 千穂の家
- Dinner at 和高千穂牛
Day 7 (Friday 8 Sep 2017): Day 3 of JR Pass + our third 1-day Visit Miyazaki Bus Pass, and Day 1 of Kagoshima CUTE 2-Day Pass，
- Breakfast at 延岡 Nobeoka
- Took train to Miyazaki to pick up our luggage, followed by another train ride to 鹿児島 Kagoshima
- Visited 桜島 Sakurajima
- Dinner at 黒かつ亭 Kurokatsutei
- Drinks at Paris Cafe
Day 8 (Saturday 9 Sep 2017): Day 2 of Kagoshima CUTE 2-Day Pass，
- Bus tour day in 鹿児島 Kagoshima, where we basically tried out the different tour bus routes throughout the day and night 😛
- Breakfast at 黒豚居酒屋 辰己亭 Tatsumitei (worst meal of the trip)
- Lunch at 寿庵 Moze
- Tea break at Hoshino
- Dinner at 膳 Zen
Day 9 (Sunday 10 Sep 2017): Activated Day 1 of our second JR Southern Kyushu Area 3-Day Pass,
- Breakfast at Seattle’s Best Coffee
- Half day trip to 指宿 Ibusuki, visited 砂むし会館
- Lunch at 青葉 Aoba
- Coffee break at ダンカフェ Dan Cafe after checking out the 鹿児島ジャズフェスティバル Kagoshima Jazz Festival
- Dinner at あぢもり Ajimori
Day 10 (Sunday 11 Sep 2017): Day 2 of JR Pass
- Train ride to 熊本 Kumamoto
- Special train SL Hitoyoshi to 人吉 Hitoyoshi
- Lunch at 人吉温泉物産館木綿葉
- Visited 青井阿蘇神社 Aoi Aso Shrine
- Took いさぶろう・しんぺい Isaburou-Shinpei train back to Kumamoto
- Dinner at 黑亭 Kokutei
Day 11 (Monday 12 Sep 2017):
- Explored city of 熊本 Kumamoto
- Lunch at 红蘭亭
- Tea break at Okada Coffee
- Dinner at えくぼ遊食亭 Ekubo Yusyokutei
Day 12 (Tuesday 13 Sep 2017):
- Visited 水前寺
- Lunch at 菅乃屋 Suganoya
- Coffee break at Cafe Switch
- Packed dinner from supermarket
Day 13 (Wednesday 14 Sep 2017):
- Train to 博多 Hakata and unch at もつ鍋おおやま 博多デイトス店 Motsu Nabe Ooyama
- Coffee break at Townsquare Coffee Roaster
- Snack at 餃子屋 弐ノ弐 Gyoza Ya Ninoni
- Dinner at 平四郎 廻転寿司 キャナルシティ店 Heishirou
Day 14 (Thursday 15 Sep 2017):
- Breakfast in hotel
- Lunch at うどん平 Udon Taira
- Break at Manu Coffee
- More coffee break at Coffee Stand Seed Village
- Dinner at 屋台小金ちゃん Yatai Kokinchan
Day 15 (Friday 16 Sep 2017):
- Breakfast in hotel
- Lunch at 博多天ぷらたかお Hakata Tempura Takao
- We didn’t do much, because the typhoon was forecasted to arrive today
Day 16 (Saturday 17 Sep 2017): Home sweet home, and thankfully, we missed the worst of the typhoon.
This was a Japan trip where it seemed like we went to see a lot of rocks, and had more meat than fish 😛 Ooohh, but the rocks were truly beautiful and amazing, and the beef, chicken and pork were so delicious!
The few days in Miyazaki and Takachiho were truly the highlight of this trip for me. Beautiful scenery paired with excellent food, and with lesser crowds, it was very serene and relaxing.
- We had done some very rough planning for this trip when we first bought the air tickets, and then promptly ignored the planning till rather late (procrastination, and stuff happens, you know), and we were grateful that the staff at Japan Rail Cafe had been really helpful. I made a few visits there, asked countless of questions, and eventually bought our JR Pass and SIM card there. From the subtly-amused smile to gently remind me that I might have been overly ambitious in my initial plans to cover places in Wakayama, Shikoku, and Kyushu in a single trip, to suggestions of places of interest that we had not thought of, to route-planning and how we could make full use of the various passes, I just wish to say a BIG THANK YOU once again! 😀 And oh, the food and drinks there are pretty good too 🙂
- There are many special trains in Kyushu, and it is advisable to make reservations ASAP, if you are interested in taking the trains. Since we could only exchange our voucher for the Kyushu JR Pass while in Kyushu, the first thing that we did after dropping off our luggage was to visit the JR train counter at the Miyazaki Train Station, to exchange our voucher and make reservations for all the necessary train rides, based on our itinerary. We would exchange our tickets later on, if we wanted to take trains at a different timing.
- There are also many different passes available in Kyushu, so depending on your itinerary, you may also find the SunQ Pass, 1-day Visit Miyazaki Bus Pass, Kagoshima CUTE Pass to be worthwhile. See here for a summary.
- Our hotel in Osaka was near an airport shuttle bus stop, but we opted to take the bus from Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) instead. Good thing that we did, for the bus was quite small, and there was no dedicated luggage space. By the time the bus arrived that that airport shuttle bus stop, it was totally packed with standing passengers trying hard to hold on to their luggage bags.
- At Itami Airport, there were 2 separate queues for checking of documentation, and checking in of luggage. Just follow the signboards, and get your documents checked first, before checking in your luggage.
- We used quite a fair bit of buses, especially while in Miyazaki. Do take note that buses may have different operating hours during weekdays, and weekends / public holidays.
- We tried to pack cafes in between days when we were less packed or when we had long hours to pass while waiting for trains/bus etc. Of course we are using the cafe term loosely here, because some are really cafeterias and specializes in food, rather than coffee. With Google Maps (and our data plan), and the reviews, we did manage to find some lovely cafes. 🙂 We split the cafe posts by areas, and can be found here: Cafes in Osaka, Cafes in Miyazaki, Cafes in Kagoshima, Cafes in Kumamoto, Cafes in Fukuoka
- Hyperdia : Our go-to website, to check out train timings, price checks (to see if it was worthwhile to purchase the JR pass)
- The various tourism websites for: