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Our next trip in April will involve going from Hiroshima to Fukuoka.

We would like to take local trains, not the shinkansen, but the information I can find on the internet only point me to the shinkansen.

I can see on google maps that there is a rail line going between the two cities, but that's the most I could get.

Where can I find timetable and fares for the local trains connecting Hiroshima to Fukuoka?

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You can use JR West Japan's website.

Sample Search

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Take note that the main station in Fukuoka (where I live) is not called "Fukuoka Station" but Hakata Station. So in the above search I entered "Hakata" in case that is where you intend to go to. If you really wish to go to Fukuoka Station (a non-JR line), just change the search or you can also take the 100-yen loop bus right in front of Hakata Station.

Sample Result

enter image description here

So in the above example, if you wish to arrive at Hakata by 12:00 tomorrow (Feb 6), then you would need to leave Hiroshima at 6:24 am, make 3 transfers, and pay a total of 6,380 yen if you are an adult.

Note

I noticed that in this search result it shows that you have to take a "Reserved seating" for 1,050 yen. However, I checked another site (Navitime, in Japanese language only) and it shows an option for an unreserved seat for 520 yen only, lowering the total fare to 5,850 yen.

Discount Fare

There is discount fare called "Seishun Juuhachi Kippu" (青春18きっぷ) available from JR each spring, summer, and winter. Last spring it was sold from Feb 20 to Apr 10 and was available to use from Mar 1 to Apr 10. There is no information yet for the coming spring, but I think that it will be around the same time. It's only about 12,000 yen but you can use it for 5 full days on local trains and even some ferries. Check this link for more info.

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  • 3
    +1, but please note that the Seishun 18 can only be used on local trains, which makes it very slow. On the upside, you can split the 5 individual coupons between multiple people, so it could be cost-efficient even if there's just two of you going one-way. Feb 5 '20 at 11:37
  • main station in Fukuoka is not called "Fukuoka Station" Well that's not confusing at all!
    – Strawberry
    Feb 5 '20 at 17:58
  • 2
    @Strawberry indeed it is. This blog post gives some background story.
    – DXV
    Feb 6 '20 at 0:24
  • @lambshaanxy To be precise, you can use it on Express, Rapid, New Rapid, Special Rapid, etc. ...whatever they call it. You can even use it on "Liner" trains which carry a seat charge (usually 300-600 yen). The only ones which are prohibited are the Limited Express trains which carry limited express surcharges.
    – xuq01
    Jun 9 at 20:25
  • The New Rapid can be quite fast, but they run only in the Kansai and Tokai metropolitan areas, so not really helpful for the OP.
    – xuq01
    Jun 9 at 20:26
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I suppose you haven't been able to travel yet, due to COVID. So hope I'm not too late. But for when you eventually make the trip, there's a question to ask.

There are no limited express trains on the San'yo Main Line west of Okayama, and you're left with really the local trains (or express trains, which are not really so "express").

Well, in fact, as of March 2021, there aren't even any express trains west of Hiroshima, so you only have the local trains which stop at every single station. There is a limited express train from Kokura to Hakata, for the last leg of your trip, but that will shorten your trip by like 30 minutes so it doesn't really make a difference.

So, do you really want to travel on local trains? They are so slow, and often less than comfortable, and are as such not as pleasant to travel on as you might have thought. I suppose the reason that you want to take the local trains is either (1) to travel a bit slower so that you could visit the spots in between, or to (2) save money.

Now, if your answer is (1), then the Shinkansen isn't bad. Besides the fastest Nozomi and Mizuho trains, there are slower Hikari and Sakura trains, as well as Kodama and Tsubame trains which stop at every station. Then you can use local trains to complement the Shinkansen.

If your answer is (2), you might want to try the express bus instead. They are even cheaper than trains (if not using Seishun 18, which can only be used in specified periods of the year), and you can get a "night bus" which will travel at night. If you have no problems sleeping on the bus, then this would be preferable to local trains because it solves two problems at a time: it's cheap, and you also save time and lodging.

If you just want to try out the local trains, then go ahead, I guess :-) There isn't really need for a timetable anyways, since all trains are local until Kokura. And since you're always travelling on the same line (San'yo Main Line), all you really have to make sure is that you're travelling on the right direction, but I hope that wouldn't be too hard.

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  • Otherwise +1, but "very uncomfortable" seems a bit much? They're heated/cooled, you can sit down on a padded seat... they're just slow. Jun 11 at 4:41
  • You are not wrong, but given the leg space and the insufficient padding... I wouldn't really like to sit in those seats for 5 or 6 hours. But yes, at least all cars are air conditioned.
    – xuq01
    Jun 11 at 4:53

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