Getting around and planning your trip in Kagoshima by familiarizing yourself with the transportation system will definitely bring more ease and comfort for your travels. Transportation in Kagoshima is very convenient and friendly, because this city has many options and the they are often connected to the local attractions!
Major Public Transportations for travel around Kagoshima
- Train & Tram
- Sightseeing Bus
- Local city buses (Shiei Bus (Kagoshima City bus), Kagoshima Kotsu Bus, Nangoku Kotsu Bus and JR bus)
1. Local tram / train
The most popular and easiest way to travel around Kagoshima is using the local tram as the tram runs from east to the west of the city. There are two tram lines in Kagoshima, first is from Kagoshima station to Taniyama, and the other is from Kagoshima station to Korimoto via Kagoshima Chuo station. In total it has 34 stations and good frequency of trams, making your travels to the downtown areas more convenient.
The trams run every day from 06:00 to 23:00. Average per ride costs 170 yen regardless of the distance traveled. Trams support Rapica IC Card, cash (in small change form is better) and transportation pass such as Welcome Cute Pass. Riding trams in Kagoshima is quite a different experience from normal trams in Japan, because you get on the trams at the door in the middle instead of the front door, and then get off at the front door once you reach your destination. For payment, you only pay when you exit at the front door which puts your fare in the fare box next to the driver or scan your card at the card reader near the door.
Besides that, there are 2 main train stations in Kagoshima that allow people to travel to Kagoshima from other prefectures or allow Kagoshima residents to travel to other prefectures which are Kagoshima Chuo station and Kagoshima station.
2. Sightseeing Bus
Sightseeing buses are another option to consider if you want to travel to sightseeing spots around Kagoshima city at your own pace. In Kagoshima, there are a number of sightseeing buses available such as city view courses, daily service courses and night view courses. Variety of courses cover different kinds of sightseeing spots such as heritage sites, nature sites and others are available for you to reserve based on your preferences!
The bus completes the tour cycle in approximately 60 minutes to 3 hours and above depending on the courses. You may reserve the tours at Kagoshima City Transport Bureau Office, Kagoshima Chuo Station Sightseeing Information and Tourism Exchange Centre. Fare averagely starts from 200 yen up to 3000 yen and above. If you have a Welcome Cute Pass, you can board on the Sakurajima Island View sightseeing bus free of charge! Definitely recommend to join the bus tour if you prefer less transfers and walking.
3. Local city buses
There are 4 bus companies in Kagoshima: Shiei Bus (Kagoshima City bus), Kagoshima Kotsu Bus, Nangoku Kotsu Bus and JR bus. The majority of buses running throughout Kagoshima City are Shiei buses (City bus) that are operated by the city. The buses run from 06:00 to 22:30. The buses can get you to not only Kagoshima city area but also within the prefectures such as Ibusuki and Hirakawa. The average adult fare starts from 180 yen. You may consider travelling in Kagoshima by bus, however you need to be prepared in advance which research for the station’s name that you want to go because most of the schedule or station’s name might only be available in Japanese.
Local buses also support Rapica IC Card, cash (in small change form is better) and transportation passes such as Welcome Cute Pass and Kagoshima city One-day Pass. Riding a bus in Kagoshima, you get on the bus at the door in the middle and then get off at the front door once you reach your destination. For payment, you only pay when you exit at the front door which puts your fare in the fare box next to the driver or scan your card at the card reader near the door too.
It’s not strange that ferries are available in Kagoshima as it is surrounded by the ocean! There are four ferry ports such as (Kagoshima Port North & South pier, Kagoshima New Port, Sakurajima Pier and Kamoike Port) in Kagoshima City which cater to ferries to arrive and depart from other cities. Each port can go to destinations such as Tanegashima, Yakushima, Sakurajima and many more. The ferry can be used to travel long or short distances.
Everyday, many people who travel or live in Sakurajima and Osumi peninsula use the ferry to reach Kagoshima City. Different ports have different ferries that bound for different locations. For example, if you want to go to Sakurajima, then you need to take the sakurajima ferry at Sakurajima port. The journey duration is based on the destination and frequency for each port is different. The ferry fare starts from 150 yen for adults and 80 yen for children. If you have a Welcome Cute Pass, you can board on the ferry Sakurajima Ferry and Yorimichi Cruise.
You can consider taking a ferry at sunset because it is the most gorgeous time to view the beautiful tinted Sakurajima and the city lights. Even though a ferry will take much longer to reach your destination, but it’s an excellent way to spend your time too.
CUTE pass – transportation pass
CUTE pass by The Kagoshima City Transport Bureau, is a pass exclusive for foreign tourists (passport required at the time of purchase) will definitely make your trip more valuable as it allows unlimited travel for one single day. With this pass, you can access bus routes, tram lines, and ferry lines in Kagoshima. It is great for a 1-day trip around the city & Sakurajima Island. Not to worry, if you would like to have a longer trip as a 2-day pass is available too!
However, CUTE pass does not cover travel on private buses hence before boarding any bus with the CUTE Pass, you need to check that the bus is a City View Bus or a City Bus as per the pictures attached on the pass to avoid inconveniences! Besides that, this pass also allows you to get some discounted entrance fees or a small gift at some tourist facilities!
Selling point for CUTE pass:
- Tenmachi Salon
- Kagoshima Chuo Station Tourist Information Centre
- Sakurajima Ferry Terminal Kagoshima Port (Main Port)
- Sakurajima Ferry Terminal (Sakurajima Port)
- Tourism Exchange Center (Kankou Kouryu Center)
- Museum of the Meiji Restoration
1-day pass: 1,200 yen (Adult)
2-day pass: 1,800 yen (Adult)
References (photo & info)
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