Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 3) from Kumamoto to Oita Train Review
The Trans-Kyushu Limited Express is an east-west train service plying between Kumamoto and Oita or Beppu, departing just twice a day. To make my trip a small loop around Northern Kyushu instead of simply and boringly returning to Hakata, I headed for a long detour across to Oita first to return back to Hakata by a different way to try out more Limited Express trains.
With less than 20 minutes to go from my Amakusa Misumi Line Local 536D from Misumi, I headed straight up to Platform 2 to board my Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 3) early.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 3) will be departing from Platform 2.
Platform 2 is a bay with 1 side platform, with a track beside Platform 3.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 3) was already at Platform 2 and ready for boarding.
The KiHa 185 DMU operating on the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express bears the Around The Kyushu branding.
For this 2-car set, Car 1 has reserved seating, and Car 2 has non-reserved seating.
As I have a reserved seat, I am in Car 1.
The train sign is displayed with a rolling blind.
The front view of my Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 KiHa 185 DMU.
The Trans-Kyushu Limited Express headboard on the KiHa 185 DMU.
The front door leads to the driver’s cab and seating area, which is quite pleasant to see.
The interior of the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express KiHa 185 DMU. Seats are laid out in a 2+2 configuration facing the direction of travel.
My assigned seat at 11D unfortunately was met with a wall instead of a full window view.
Surprisingly though, there were individual air-conditioning vents, which made for a cooler ride.
The legroom available on board the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express KiHa 185 DMU.
A tray table is provided on the seat back in front of me with a Trans-Kyushu Limited Express branding.
The gangway of the 2-car KiHa 185 DMU.
Western-style sitting toilets are available on board the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express KiHa 185 DMU.
The non-reserved seat car interior of the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express KiHa 185 DMU is pretty much the same as the reserved seat car.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 (Kyushu Odan Tokkyu 3) departed from Kumamoto on time at 3.05pm.
Splitting away from the Kagoshima Main Line and Kyushu Shinkansen.
Crossing over the Shirakawa River.
Making a brief stop at Shin-Suizenji Station.
Making a brief stop at Suizenji Station.
Making a brief stop at Musashizuka Station.
Making a brief stop at Hikarinomori Station.
Making a brief stop at Higo-Otsu Station.
The scenery starts to get more rural after Higo-Otsu.
Passing by a road suspension bridge along the Shirakawa River.
Running parallel with National Route 57.
Arriving at Tateno Station with another train on the other platform.
Tateno Station marks the end of the line, sort of.
The alignment ahead is the Minamiaso Railway Takamori Line, but it seems that the track link is being reinstated to physically connect to the JR tracks.
More notably, the driver left the cab here to head to the other end.
This gave me a little bit of time to head on to the platform for some very quick photos.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 at Tateno Station.
The opposing KiHa 200 DMU at Tateno Station operating on a local service.
While at the “end” of the line, platforms are assigned according to the direction.
The driver heads to the other end due to the switchback behind. My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 will now be reversing to the switchback to ascend up the incline.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 departed first.
Crossing over to the uphill track.
Heading up the incline.
Seats are now in reverse for this short section.
Heading up the incline.
The train stops just after the point, instead of utilising the full length of the switchback line to the buffer stop.
The driver changes ends again to head to the onward direction.
Heading onwards on the Hōhi Main Line.
Continuing the climb on the Hōhi Main Line.
Heading up more inclines for wider views of the scenery below.
Passing over the Sugaru Falls.
The line certainly gets more scenic from here on.
Making a brief stop at Akamizu Station.
Looking out to Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan in the center of Kyushu, which most recently erupted in 2021 and 2016.
Making a brief stop at Sekisui Station.
Making a brief stop at Aso Station. Most leisure passengers alighted here for hot springs and resorts.
A turntable is available at Aso Station.
Making a brief stop at Miyaji Station and crossing with another local train.
Heading through the Sakanoue Tunnel.
Arriving at Bungo-Ogi Station.
Making a brief stop at Bungo-Ogi Station.
Crossing with the opposing Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 84 at Bungo-Ogi Station.
Heading through another shorter tunnel along the way.
More local scenery along the way.
Crossing with another local train at Bungo-Takeda Station.
Making a brief stop at Bungo-Takeda Station.
Making a brief stop at Ogata Station.
Crossing with another local train at Miemachi Station.
Heading along the Ōno River.
Making a brief stop at Nakahanda Station.
Crossing with another local train at Nakahanda Station.
The station building of Nakahanda Station is across the tracks.
Zooming past railway crossings while road traffic waits.
Meeting with the Nippō Main Line.
Crossing over the Oita River.
The Kyūdai Main Line meets the Hōhi Main Line and Nippō Main Line before Oita.
Approaching Oita Station.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3 arrived at Oita Station on time at 5.57pm.
Alighting from the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express 3.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express KiHa 185 DMU at Oita Station. This train terminates here, and does not continue on to Beppu. However, many frequent trains ply between Oita and Beppu.
The station sign of Oita Station.
My Trans-Kyushu Limited Express KiHa 185 DMU goes off service at Oita Station back to the depot.
Heading down to exit from the platform.
The transfer concourse of Oita Station.
Heading out of the fare gates.
Heading out of Oita Station.
The façade of Oita Station.
There is quite a large courtyard outside Oita Station.
I explored the vicinity Oita Station very quickly before having to return back to catch my next train back to Hakata.
The Trans-Kyushu Limited Express is a useful shortcut through the middle of Kyushu with scenic views along the way using the full Hōhi Main Line. The journey time of 2 hours and 52 minutes is also enjoyable as an afternoon joy ride.