To traveling around the 7 counties in Kyushu, many people choose the Kyushu JR pass. However, in addition to using the railway, there is another way to touring around the Kyushu Island, that’s the unlimited bus ride ticket SUNQ PASS. In Kyushu, if you use the JR Pass to do the interchange from one county to another, there are many restrictions. For example, you are not allowed to take the train from Sanyo Shinkansen Kakata to Kokura. And there are other railways run by other companies not JR Kyushu, if you took those railways by mistake, then you need to pay extra fee. Of course, take bus will use more time, but the price is relatively cheaper. So for travellers who have sufficient of time, SUNQ Pass is definitely a good choice.
SUNQ Pass has two main categories – Northern Kyushu Area Pass and All Kyushu Area Pass. Northern Kyushu Area pass includes Fukuoka, Oita, Kumamoto, Saga and Nagasaki. But only 3 days pass is available, it costs 8,000 Yen. All Kyushu Area Pass includes all the 7 counties of Kyushu. In addition to the Northern Kyushu counties, the other two counties Miyazaki and Kagoshima are also included. 3 days and 4 days pass are available. The price is 10,000 Yen and 14,000 Yen respectively. Whether the Northern Kyushu Area Pass or the All Kyushu Area Pass, the SUNQ Pass includes Shimonoseki region. Shimonoseki is in Yamaguchi, the most western coastal city of Honshu. It connects to the boundary of Honshu and Kyushu.
Photo shown is the old picture of the Northern Kyushu Area SUNQ Pass
SUNQ Pass allows you to take the designated buses without any limit. This includes the Express bus and the inter-city bus, in other words once you have the SUNQ Pass, you can take the buses between counties and also the inter-city buses of each county. It covers almost the entire bus routes. So what you need to do is just check out the bus route details and information. Make sure to check out if the bus has the SUNQ Pass sign on it, then you will know if you can use the SUNQ pass or not.
The inter-county bus routes
As long as the car has the SUNQ Pass sign as the one on the right hand side of the photo, then you can take the bus.
Although it takes several hours from county to county by express bus, but SUNQ Pass is really worth of money. For example, the express bus やまびこ (Yamabiko) from Oita city to Kumamoto city, one-way ticket only cost 2,780 Yen, even though the round-ticket also just costs 4,940 Yen. Therefore, if you plan to travel two to three counties, you can save a lot of money on transportation.
However, you need to pay attention to this. Some of the express bus that need the advance reservation. If you did not make the reservation, you cannot take the bus even you have the SUNQ Pass. On the SUNQ Pass website, it lists out which bus routes need the advance reservation clearly. You can do the reservation online or by telephone. You can also seek help from the staff when you buy the ticket at the station.
Express bus that requires the advance reservation
For more details, please visit the office website of SUNQ Pass: http://www.sunqpass.jp/index.shtml
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