Express Train

When people think of the rail systems in Japan, their mind usually leads into one of two places. One of them is the more inexpensive kind of train system where there are seats lined up against the wall with ring grab handles for the people who can’t sit down. The second is the bullet trains, with companies configuring their trains to go as fast as 400 kilometers per hour (which is about 249 miles). These trains help one to get to their location lickity split! However, the rail system that our company thinks of is the express train.

The front of Yufuin no Mori, an express train leading into Yufuin, a hot springs resort.

Back when we didn’t have a car to transport our luggage or just to travel to Oita City, we constantly rode the express train. There are many express train companies, however the one we’re the most familiar with is the Limited Express Sonic. It has comfortable seats and a nice view of the various prefectures rolling along if you have a window seat. Sometimes, the train attendants will ask you to turn the seat around the opposite way when they hit a part where they need to turn around. Although this may sound like a hassle, it typically only happens once per ride, and it only takes about a few minutes to do so. For people who are traveling from the Fukuoka airport or from any part of Kyushu, there is a small compartment towards the back of the train where travelers can store their heavier luggage so that their precious cargo won’t be shifted around by the movement of the train.

An entrance into the Express Train.
The interior of an Express train.
The seating area of the express train.

And now, the thing we all dread. The price. The express trains are generally a bit more pricier than the public railways or the subways, but they are more convenient in the long run. For example, in Limited Express Sonic, which is a Kyushu railway that we constantly rode with, generally cost us about 4000 yen per person for one round trip. If you plan on going to Nakatsu or anywhere else in Kyushu and don’t want to ride on the public train, consider riding with Limited Express Sonic!

-Sonia M.