Generally, traveling in Japan can be quite a hassle-free experience if you do your homework beforehand 🙂 Because of their strict compliance to punctuality, all transport options depart and arrive on the dot and it becomes quite seamless to plan connections from one place to another.
And with websites such as hyperdia.com, you can get the train schedules for any day and can plan ahead with a few backup plans thrown in 🙂 Bus schedules are also easily obtainable from the operators’ websites or a simple Google.
There are quite a few transport passes available in Kyushu, and depending on your itinerary (and planning), they could prove to be money savers 🙂
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.