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Fukuoka to Kumamoto: JR Shinkansen vs Bus (complete guide for 2024)

Fukuoka and Kumamoto are well-connected by JR Shinkansen and the highway bus, with JR being the fastest option (as fast as 32 minutes from Hakata to Kumamoto station), making it possible for you to go to Kumamoto for a day trip. In this article, we'll briefly explain how to get to Kumamoto from Fukuoka, as well as the essential JR/bus passes.

Photo by Kumamoto Tourism

1. JR Shinkansen as fast as 32 minutes!

The easiest and fastest way to get to Kumamoto from Hakata station in Fukuoka is by JR Shinkansen (bullet train), and you can get there as fast as 32 minutes!

Hakata → Kumamoto (Shinkansen) Travel Time: 32 - 50 minutes Fare: 5,030yen >> Check Schedule <<

There are 2-4 trains per hour on this route, but the number of stops varies, so the total travel time is different for different trains. Note that you need to take another tram or bus ride to get to Kumamoto city centre from JR Kumamoto station.

Kyushu JR Pass: must-have for your trip to Kumamoto!

To save up money, you might want to get a North Kyushu JR Pass (12,000yen/3 days), which worths the price of a round trip between Hakata and Kumamoto on the Shinkansen (10,060yen) and an extra middle or long-distance train (e.g. Fukuoka to Nagasaki).

There's also the All Kyushu JR Pass (3/5/7 days) covering popular areas like Kagoshima. All JR pass holders can get free reserved seats, for more information, you may refer to:

2. Highway Bus cheaper and with stops at city centre!

Photo by sunqpass_kyushu @ IG

Apart from JR, you can also travel to Kumamoto from Fukuoka by the highway bus. Even though the journey is a bit longer, it has the advantage of being point-to-point and cheaper, with stops at Fukuoka Airport and the city centre of Fukuoka and Kumamoto.

Tenjin/Hakata → Kumamoto Travel Time: Approx. 2 hours 09 minutes Fare: 2,500yen
Fukuoka Airport → Kumamoto Travel Time: Approx. 2 hours Fare: 2,500yen

The highway bus departs from Tenjin and Hakata about 3 times an hour and from Fukuoka Airport about once an hour.

SUNQ Pass: Essential for long-distance buses!

With the SUNQ North Kyushu 3 Day Pass (7,000yen) or All Kyushu 3/4 Day Pass (from 10,000yen), you can take unlimited rides on Kyushu highway buses, city buses, and ferries for a consecutive number of days.

If you are planning to make use of highway buses mainly, this pass is a good deal. For more information, please refer to:

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