This was a trip with quite a few train rides, and the one from 熊本 Kumamoto to 人吉 Hitoyoshi was with a very special coal-powered SL 人吉 SL (Steam Locomotive) Hitoyoshi.
We hopped onto the 8:02am Shinkansen MIZUHO 602 from 鹿児島中央 Kagoshima-Chuo for a 45-min train ride to 熊本 Kumamoto.
Upon reaching 熊本 Kumamoto Station, we dropped our luggage at the locker (¥600) and went hunting for some snacks to eat within the station. We got ourselves some yummy れんこんボール Lotus Root Balls (¥380), before we went searching for the train.
While SL 人吉 Hitoyoshi was scheduled to depart at 9:45am, it was already at the tracks waiting, at least 20 minutes earlier. This gave everyone plenty of time to get some pictures, even if you did not manage to get tickets for the ride.