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Headline

The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

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Latest Issue
About Us

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3 Ways to Travel Kyushu Aboard the Seven Stars

JR Kyushu’s luxurious Seven Stars in Kyushu rail service introduces three exciting new voyages to its repertoire

By Lisa Wallin

It’s said that if you dream of train travel, it means you are moving in the right direction towards your goals and achievements. While there don’t seem to be dream interpretations specifically for those brought on by the gentle rocking of a train in motion, it’s safe to say that in that case, you’re probably already on the right track. Board the Seven Stars in Kyushu to imbue your dreams with dynamic landscapes and artisanal crafts through three new itineraries, starting this autumn. 

On Board with Service

Guests can expect first-class service even before they set foot on the Seven Stars in Kyushu, which wraps luxurious accommodation, exquisite cuisine and immersive experiences into one convenient package. Passenger capacity has recently been reduced to further ensure guests enjoy exclusive and personalized service. Outside of the suites, guests can enjoy shared spaces crafted by acclaimed artisans in the on-board salon, tea room and shop. At The Blue Moon, a sumptuous bar lounge car with live piano performances and a broad selection of tipples, guests can while away the evening hours as they gaze out at the beautiful Kyushu landscape passing by. 

Charismatic Kirishima

This extensive journey begins in Hita, famed for its pottery and woodwork, before moving south along the Hisatsu Orange Railway to southern Kyushu. An excursion option to the Satsuma-ware kiln Chin Jukan awaits for those wanting a firsthand exploration of one of Kyushu’s famed ceramics regions. 

After spending the night in the peaceful Kirishima Onsen hot spring resort, guests are transported along the Kitto Line — a new route on the Seven Stars repertoire — offering unprecedented sights of the Kirishima mountain range. With nary a tunnel on this track, the seasonal rural landscapes of Kagoshima and Miyazaki spread out like a canvas beyond the window. The final day proffers a visit to the temple grounds of Fuko-ji, where Japan’s largest Magaibutsu (Buddha carved into a rockface) resides. In Taketa, guests can try their hand at bamboo crafts or explore the historic remains of Oka Castle.

Journey details: 4 days and 3 nights, with one night’s stay at a traditional inn.

Crossing Kyushu 

Take in the changing scenery of Kyushu’s diverse natural environment with this journey that takes passengers from north to south, and back again. Day one gifts views of the azure Ariake Bay and Yatsushiro Sea as the train follows the coast down Kagoshima. Enjoy the sun setting over the horizon when the train makes a short stop at Ushinohama Station at dusk. Inside the carriages, too, visual experiences await as the intricate Okawa kumiko wooden latticework decorating the walls showcases the creative talent of Kyushu’s craftspeople. 

After a relaxing overnight stay inside the train, the final day’s adventure starts in Nobeoka, home of the original chicken nanban dish. Also famed for its athletic residents, it’s a great place to go for a run before the train sets off. In Saiki City, stroll around the historic and literary streets and shop some local wares at the station-side market. Hop on for a relaxing final leg back to Hakata on the Kyudai Main Line, with verdant forests and glimpses of the imposing Mount Yufu.

Journey details: 2 days and 1 night. 

Unrivaled Unzen

Explore the dynamic beauty of northern Kyushu on this adventure through historic health resorts and natural treasures. Day one begins with a walk around traditional hot spring town Yufuin, unveiling its charming cafés, museums and tranquil inns. Learn about Hosokawa-ryu Bonseki — a technique that uses natural stones and white stand on black lacquered trays to create miniature landscapes — on an excursion on day two. Originating in ancient stone worship, it is now a meditative and creative experience for artists and laymen alike. This tour includes a ferry trip from Kumamoto to Shimabara, which finishes with a night at Ryotei Hanzuiryo in Unzen, one of Japan’s premier hot spring resorts. Guests can soak in the famed soothing waters of the region and explore the inn’s expansive grounds. 

The following day offers a choice of traveling along the Shimabara Railway, or a longer stay in Unzen’s enchanting onsen. The evening boasts a unique encounter with Kenban geisha and Nagasaki’s multicultural culinary craft before turning in for the night. The final day immerses guests in the world of the Kunisaki Peninsula’s agricultural heritage, which cultivates fascinating produce like log-grown shiitake mushrooms and artistic chrysanthemum charcoal. As the train approaches its final destination, views of the towering Mount Yufu on the Kyudai Main Line and deep forests float by, allowing for quiet reflection of the past days’ journey across northern Kyushu.

Journey details: 4 days and 3 nights, with one night’s stay at a traditional inn. 

Learn more about the Seven Stars here and book your trip here.


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