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Two companies operate trains in Fukuoka, Japan Railways and the private bus/train company Nishitetsu.

JR Kyushu

The JR central station in Kyushu is Hakata Eki (博多駅) and it is the main hub for traveling to major desintations in Kyushu.  Fares are determined by distance and speed.

There are five types of JR trains in Fukuoka:

  • Local trains or futsu ressha (普通列車) stop at all stations. Many of the smaller lines only run this kind of train.
  • Rapid trains or kaisoku ressha (快速列車) skips smaller stations but cost the same as local trains.
  • Semi Rapid trains or jun kaisoku ressha (準快速列車) stop at all the same stations as Rapid trains; additionally, it stops at every stop between Orio (折尾) and Akama (赤間) stations on the Kagoshima-honsen line (鹿児島本線).
  • Limited Express trains or tokkyu ressha (特急列車) only stops at major stations and incur an extra fee.
  • Bullet trains or shinkansen (新幹線) are best suited for fast, long distance travel, but can also be useful for fast hops between Kokura (小倉) and Hakata.  Since its operation in March 2011, the bullet train Sakura bound for Kagoshima (鹿児島) allows travellers from Hakata to arrive in less than two hours.  If you take the shinkansen towards Tokyo, you may not always need a seat reservation: as Hakata is the first stop, there are often seats in the unreserved cars at the end of the train- first come, first served!

Nishitetsu (西鉄)

Nishitetsu’s main hub is Tenjin and this line operates in Fukuoka Prefecture only. There are three types of trains similar to JR’s local, rapid and limited express services, except that rapid on Nishitetsu is known as kyuko (急行). In the morning, there is also a fourth service for commuters called rapid express or kaisoku (快速), an orange train that is faster than a rapid but slower than a limited express.

However, unlike the JR lines, a flat fare is charged based on distance.  You can take a limited express for the same price as a local, the only difference is in time!


Click Here to Learn How to Use the Trains


Useful vocabulary:

Ticket  kippu (切符)

Oneway  katamichi (片道)

Round trip oh-fuku (往復)

Train platform  hoomu (ホーム)

Read more in Discount Passes

Hands down the most useful website for planning trips on any train is Hyperdia. Simply input your starting point and destination and the site will give you the exact cost, time and transfers required for your journey—in English. Be aware that some station names are not the same as the city you want to go to, e.g. you must input “Hakata” or “Tenjin” if you want to go to Fukuoka-shi, “Hainuzuka” for Chikugo, and “Kokura” for Kitakyushu. To find a route on a Nishitetsu line, type “Nishitetsu” and the station name as one word, as in “Nishitetsukurume.”