Aso Boy! Sightseeing Train
The Aso Boy is Kyushu’s most family-friendly sightseeing train, with one whole car dedicated to parent-child seating, plus a wooden ball pit and other play areas. Kuro-chan, a cute black dog, is the mascot of the train and you’ll find illustrations of him throughout the carriages in a variety of cute poses.
The train takes approximately 3 hours as it runs between Kumamoto Station and Oita Station through the great Aso Caldera. The route is the same as the Trans-Kyushu Limited Express. When coming from Kumamoto, the train gets out of the city pretty quickly and soon you’re surrounded by the Aso caldera, with its smoky peaks looming over you. As you pass out of Aso, you’ll start going through a number of short tunnels. Small villages and farming communities lie in the countless valleys that lie before you as you make your way towards Oita.
Out of all your options of doing the Kumamoto-Oita route, the Aso Boy is probably the most comfortable. If a 3-hour ride with a bunch of kids isn’t your cup of tea, reserve a seat in one of the cars with normal seating and you should be OK.
- Driver’s-eye view from the panorama seats
- Great views of the Aso volcano and caldera
- Seeing kids ecstatic about getting to sit at a Kuro-chan seat
- The wooden ball pit
- The countless small waterfalls hidden among the dense foliage
Electrical outlets: No
Included in JR Rail Pass: Yes
Reservations required: Yes (ask for panorama seats or, if you want parent-child seats, ask for the “Shiroi Kuro-chan” seats)
Extra fee for reservation with Rail Pass: No