Golden Week: Kyushu~! The JR Kyushu International Student Pass

WHAT TIME IS IT? ADVENTURE TIMEEEEEEEE! Albeit adventure times that occurred six months ago.

Courtesy of the JR Kyushu International Student Pass.

Look at all the stamps you get when you go in/out of the JR stations!

Look at all the stamps you get when you go in/out of the JR stations!

Usually, in the other islands/regions/prefectures, any person that is not classified as a ‘Temporary Visitor’ to Japan is unable to buy any sort of JR Rail Pass.  However, for some weird, special, magnificent reason, Kyushu exempts foreign students for this rule.  As long as you show your student card and/or a valid ID (passport or residence card is fine), they will give it to you.  SO MAGICAL! This is why everyone should not neglect this little island in preference for Tokyo and Kyoto and all them famous cities.

And because we’re travel hungry cash-strapped exchange students, a couple of friends and I decided to take advantage of this Rail Pass and travel all around Kyushu on an epic train-ride adventure.  There are a few itinerary plans that are provided on the JR Kyushu site, and we picked one that focused on experiencing the different specialty trains available on the train system as a guide to our own trip (the ‘Enjoy the Great Outdoors’ plan on the website).

How much was it?

  • ¥7200 for a Northern Kyushu only pass
  • ¥14400 for a Whole of Kyushu pass

Where do you get it?

Any JR ticket office! Don’t be fooled like we were and go to the JR Pass window.  Because you are buying the ticket, you need to queue up like errbody else.  The JR Pass window is only for when you are redeeming your pre-purchased, tourist-only ticket.

Any small print?

The only one really worth noting is that the international student’s JR Pass is only for unreserved seating.  If you want to reserve a seat, you will have to pay extra.  However, this is only a problem on the main Kagoshima line during peak hour, or very small trains that run maybe three times a day and everyone is trying to catch this one train.  Some trains are marked ‘Reserved Seating Only’, but this is a lie because there will always be some sort of unreserved seating.  I mean, they have to put us peasant shoestring-budget exchange students somewhere, right?

Here is more information on the Kyushu Rail Pass (in English!):

Golden Week: Kyushu~! Day One: Train-hopping from Fukuoka to Miyazaki
Golden Week: Kyushu~! Day Two: Absorbing the ashes of a volcano
Golden Week: Kyushu~! Day Three: Catching ferries and climbing bridges


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