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Shinonomenosato Ajisai kyo

Shinonomenosato Ajisai Kyo is a vast, 16.5ha/40.8ac garden utilizing the natural landscape of the mountain. 


It is said to be the largest of its kind in the country, and over 100,000 flowers of hydrangea in 160 different types beautifully bloom here on the premises around mid June every year. 


December brings foliages, turning the entire mountainous region in red and yellow. It makes it a popular scenic location for foliage viewing.


Perfect for spending a relaxing time, the premises is equipped with an exhibition gallery displaying ceramic art works by the owner of the garden and a tea house surving some meals.



[ Inquiries ]
0996-68-2133 (

[ Fees ]
Admissions: 500yen during hydrangea season, 300yen during autumn foliage season

[ Closed ]
Irregular (open everyday during hydrangea season)

[ Hours ]

[ Parking ]
about 30 vehicles

[ Access ]
JR: Izumi Station/Hisatsu Orange Railway Izumi Station → approx. 25 min. by taxi
Car: Minamikyushu Expressway Ashikita IC → approx. 40 min. toward Izumi City
Kyushu Expressway Hitoyoshi IC → approx. 40 min. toward Okuchi/Izumi

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Orange Restaurant Express Train

The Orange Restaurant Express is a sightseeing train that comes equipped with a proper dining car.

It is known as a restaurant train because it has worked in collaboration with local businesses along the train line itself in order to provide the freshest seasonal ingredients and dishes available in the region. But it isn't solely about the food. From the train windows you can relax and enjoy the seasonal landscapes as well as views of the ocean along the west coast of Kyushu too.

Today we'll take a short journey on the Orange Restaurant Express from Shin-Yatsushiro Station in Kumamoto Prefecture to Sendai Station in Kagoshima Prefecture and introduce some of the features of this train.

Ocean Facing Seats Command Superb Views


This time our starting station was Shin-Yatsushiro Station in Kumamoto Prefecture. Here you can see the interior of the lead car. When the Orange Restaurant Express passes along the ocean side, you can take in the views of the sea from seats such as this. There are also curtained off window seats available as well.


Before the departure, we took a brief look around inside the train. There is a bar inside, where you can order both alcoholic and standard beverages as well.

Let's Go!!


After we'd boarded and looked about, it was time for the train to depart. No sooner had we left the station, than these small sweets were given out. Throughout the journey, the passengers in these seats will be provided with many of the yummy regional treats found along the train line.


Stunning views of the scenery around you can be enjoyed to your heart's content via the large windows in the last car of the train.


There are also small seats prepared for children, which makes this a great way to travel for families as well.


After passing over the bridge, we were served chikuwa. Hinagu chikuwa is a specialty of Hinagu Onsen Station; the springy texture and simple flavor of this dish is quite appealing.


Next we passed by Yashiro Station, and were given souvenir iguza coasters (woven rush coasters). Kumamoto is the largest producer of rushes in all of Japan, and Yashiro in particular has a high output of these plants. From this coaster you can really smell the pleasant aroma of the rushes.

Incidentally, these rushes are the main component in an important part of Japanese houses: tatami.

Stopover at Sashiki Station


En route there is a brief stopover at Sashiki Station. The train stops for about fifteen minutes, giving the passengers plenty of time to look about the station.


Actually, when you purchase your ticket for the Orange Restaurant Express, you will receive a set of coupons such as this. There are several sheets of coupons that may be exchanged for famous local products at each of the stopover stations on the route. Hmm, what could this coupon be exchanged for at Sashiki Station...?


Oh, we got the city's famous curry buns! These buns are made from local beef and onions, and have a deliciously crunchy exterior with a soft, flavorful curry center that is sure to satisfy.

These exchange coupons change seasonally as do the famous products available along the train route.


Then it was time to depart once more. After Sashiki Station, next came Tsunagi Station. Here you can see Hi no Akebono,a famous 100% pure fruit juice made from kinari mikan oranges (*1) given by the city of Tsunagimachi. The combination of moderate sourness and rich sweetness make this an amazing juice.
*1 Kinari: a form of cultivation wherein the fruit is left to ripe and mature on the tree until right before it is harvested and processed.


Next was Minamata Station, where we stopped for about twenty minutes. You can purchase Minamata fruits and confections inside the station building.

Passing from Kumamoto to Kagoshima


After about two hours on the train, you will notice that the train seems to slow down as you draw nearer to the prefectural border between Kumamoto and Kagoshima.


The leftside of the bridge is Higo Province (the old name for Kumamoto prefecture), and to the right is Satsuma Province (the old name for Kagoshima prefecture).

Stopping at Izumi Station for a Special Lunch


The first station that you stop at after entering Kagoshima Prefecture is Izumi Station. Izumi City in Kagoshima Prefecture is home to the world's largest population of cranes. It is said that there are about 10,000 cranes in Izumi Heiya from October to March every year.


There is a special exchange coupon to use here as well.


Speaking of Kagoshima, pork-based cuisine immediately comes to mind. Here is the popular regional cuisine, boiled pork cartilage.


In the station, you can purchase specialties from Izumi City, as well as copies of the mugs used on the Orange Restaurant Express.


Then it was time for our long-awaited lunch. Although we have enjoyed plenty of delicious treats up until this point, now it was time for our main event. Lunch was a lovely course meal prepared by Mikura, a popular restaurant in Izumi City.


First was chawanmushi, a savory steamed egg custard that featured Akune sea urchin and Takaebi shrimp .


From left to right, Izumi City's famous roast chicken with a mature persimmon vinegar dressing, boiled Akune konbumaki and local vegetables, and flame broiled eggplant with pork miso dressing.


And, potage soup made from sweet potatoes from Nagashima.


Nagashima's deep fried and marinated sea bream.


Wagyu steak from Kagoshima.


And with a slice of chocolate roll cake and custard pudding for dessert, this completely satisfying lunch came to an end.

See the Station Created by the Seven Star Designer


Akune Station was remodeled into Nigiwai Koryu Akune Station (Bustling Exchange Akune Station) on May 3rd, 2014.
The station itself was designed by Eiji Mitooka, the designer behind the Seven Stars in Kyushu luxury train. As the Akune region is rich in trees, local lumber was exclusively used in the construction of the new station, giving it a very warm and inviting atmosphere. Within the building there is a library room, kids' room, a multi-purpose event space and many other facilities wherein local residents and travelers can meet one another.

As the train stops for twenty minutes at Akune Station, visitors are able to leisurely enjoy their time at the station.


The waiting room is also used as a concert hall, which means that you might be able to see a small concert while stopped at the station as well.

Heading to Satsumataki Station


The next stop is Satsumataki Station, where Japanese sardines have been freshly grilled at the station and are waiting for you.


The train will stop for another twenty minutes here so if you would like, you can take a quick walk to the ocean, as it is located right by the station itself.

In Conclusion

What did you think of the journey? In our trip we only mentioned up to Satsumataki Station, but the final stop of the Orange Restaurant Express is actually the next station, Sendai Station.
If you would like to experience the local specialties and tranquil landscapes of both Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures as you travel on your way through Kyushu, then a train journey on the Orange Restaurant Express is exactly the route for you.

Reservations for this train may be made one month prior to the departure date of the train. Online reservations are not available, those wishing to book tickets for this train must call the Orange Restaurant Express Reservation Center (0996-63-6861), any of the Hisatsu line Orange Railways stations (except for Higo-Tano-Ura Station), travel centers at principal stations for JR Kyushu, or contracted travel agents.

Japan Travel Magazine MATCHA >>

Cherry Blossom Viewing (areas excluding Kagoshima City)

Hanami is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the transient beauty of cherry blossoms sakura.



People go to parks, gardens, or mountains to enjoy the view of cherry blossoms with their co-workers, family, and friends.


Cherry trees come into full bloom from the end of February to early April, and ohanami places everywhere in Kagoshima will become crowded!

【 Chiran Peace Park (Heiwa Park) 】 / Minamikyushu City
Scale: approx. 850 trees
Normal blooming season: late March - early April


Access: Board the bus for Chiran from Yamakataya bus terminal in Kagoshima City (approx. 1.5 hour). Approximately 5 minutes on foot from Tokko-kannon-iriguchi bus stop. 

Inquiries: Minamikyushu Chiran Culture Center (Bunka Kaikan) +81-993-83-2111

【 Mt. Uomi 】 / Ibusuki City
Scale: approx. 1,000 trees
Normal blooming season: late March - early April


One can look out over Ibusuki City below, spy Chiringashima Island and Mt. Sakurajima floating on Kinko Bay, and even catch a glimpse of Osumi Peninsula from the peak of Mt. Uomi. 

Access: approx. 20 minutes by car from JR Ibusuki Station to the summit

Inquiries: Ibusuki City Hall Tourism Division +81-993-22-2111

【 Maruoka Park 】 / Kirishima City
Scale: approx. 6,000 trees
Normal blooming season: late March - early April


During peak season, many visitors come from within and beyond the prefecture to picnic here and enjoy the view.

Access: about 10 minutes by car from Osumiyokogawa Station on the JR Hisatsu Line

Inquiries: Maruoka Sakuraen +81-995-72-1362

【 Kirishima Shrine 】 / Kirishima City
Scale: approx. 200 trees
Normal blooming season: late March - early April


Access: about 10 minutes by bus from Kirishima-Jingu Station on the JR Nippo Line

Inquiries : Kirishima Shrine +81-995-57-0001

【 Tadamoto Park 】 / Isa City
Scale: approx. 1,000 trees
Normal blooming season: late March - early April


At Tadamoto Park, once selected as one of Japan's top 100 sakura-viewing locations, you can enjoy the various faces of cherry blossoms in the day time and night time. 

Access: about 90 minutes by car from Kagoshima City; about 30 minutes from Shibushi City; about 40 minutes from Miyakonojo City, Miyazaki Prefecture

Inquiries: Isa City Hall Regional Promotion Division +81-995-23-1311

【 Michi no Eki Osumi Yagoro Densetsu no Sato 】 / Soo City
Scale: approx. 1,200 trees
Normal blooming season: late March - early April


Within the grounds are a souvenir shop, the "Yagoro Pavilion" kurobuta pork restaurant, a giant Yagorodon statue standing 15 meters tall and weighing in at 39 tons, a playground, and a grassy open area. Each year a Sakura Matsuri is held to celebrate the colorful flowers as they reach full bloom.

Access: about 90 minutes by car from Kagoshima City; about 30 minutes from Shibushi City;  about 40 minutes from Miyakonojo City, Miyazaki Prefecture

Inquiries: Soo Municipal Council of Social Welfare Osumi Branch Office +81-99-482-0080

* February 20, 2014
Cherry Blossom Viewing in Kagoshima City >>

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Japan's Number 1 Crane Migratory Ground

This one-and-only scene is designated as a special natural monument of the nation.  
Every year between mid-October to December, more than 10,000 cranes come from Siberia to winter until March in Izumi, Japan's largest migratory ground.

The number and variety of migrating birds is said to be the highest in Japan, designated as "Kagoshima Prefecture's Cranes and their Migrating Grounds", a special natural monument.  


Of course the sheer numbers alone is astonishing, but the elegant appearance of the cranes spreading their wings and taking to the skies as one can only be seen here and is a symbol of winter in Izumi.
The number of birds is at its highest between December and January but the cranes can be seen from November to March.  Last year a new record was set with more than 17,000 cranes counted. 


During the wintering period, you can watch leisurely at any time to see the birds doing activities such as pecking at feed, mending their wings or dancing.

However, we recommend visiting the viewing platform between 6:30 to 7:00 in the morning to watch in the soft glow of sunrise as the cranes simultaneously take off from their nesting place in search of food. This beautiful and elegant sight is enough to take your breath away and is the highlight of the experience.

If you want to watch the migrating cranes in Izumi, we recommend the Izumi City Crane Observation Center located right in front of the reclaimed land used as the crane's nesting ground.

While you view the cranes from the 2nd floor observation platform, you can also learn about the crane migratory ground.

Also, if you want to know more about the cranes in detail, be sure to stop by Crane Park Izumi, Japan's only crane museum.


December 1, 2016 (Thu) - February 28, 2017 (Tue) the "Crane Tour Bus" will be in operation, taking visitors from Izumi Station to the Crane Observation Center and Izumi's Samurai Residences. (1000 yen charge, you may board and disembark freely)


[ E-mail ]

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One of the Few Crane Migration Grounds in the World

From mid October to mid November, more than 10,000 cranes each year pass the winter in an area called Izumi, which is in the north-west part of Kagoshima Prefecture.
After passing the winter they head back to the north. This place is rare in the world for its large numbers of wintering cranes.

・Izumi City Cranes Observation Center


It is located in front of the cranes resting ground. On the 2nd floor in this building, there is an observation room and from there, you can view their feeding. On the 1st floor in this building, there are restaurant and shops.
Entrance fee: Adult 210yen; Junior high school and elementary school student 100yen

・Crane Park Izumi


This is a rare and unique Crane Museum in Japan where you can learn about cranes through displays about their biology, and also enjoy simulation of flying in the dome theater.
Entrance fee: Adult 310yen; University and high school student 210yen; Junior high school and elementary student 100yen


Uwaba Highlands (Cosmos Garden)

At an altitude of 500m, the Uwaba Highlands is a plateau bordering Kumamoto Prefecture with a 3 hectare flower park where 250,000 cosmos flowers bloom.



There is an observatory and specialty retail stores that sell local vegetables from the highlands.

The market also sells ice cream made with milk from the cows of the Uwaba Highlands. Many families and tourists come to the highlands to have picnics.


[ Viewing Period ]
October 1st to October 20th

[ Opening Hours ]
24 hours (7 days a week)

[ Parking Space ]
145 parking spaces

[ Entrance fee ]

[ Address ]
2648-4 Kamiokawauchi, Izumi City, Kagoshima Prefecture

[ E-mail ]

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Kagoshima Fireworks Displays 2016 (over 5,000 fireworks)


[ 24 July ] from 8pm
Shibushi Port Festival
@Shibushi Port
10,000 fireworks

[ 30 July ] from 8pm
Sakurajima Hinoshima Festival
@Sakurajima Multi-purpose Park
6,000 fireworks

[ 6 August ] from 8pm
Isa City Summer Festival
@Hishikari, Isa City
5,000 fireworks

[ 7 August ] from 8pm
Makurazaki Port Festival
@Makurazaki Port
10,000 fireworks

[ 7 August ] from 8pm
Kanoya Summer Festival
@Furue Port (scheduled)
8,000 fireworks

[ 13 August ] from 8pm
Tarumizu Fureai Festa Summer Festival
@Tarumizu Port
8,000 fireworks

[ 16 August ] from 7:40pm
Sendaigawa River Fireworks Festival
@Sendaigawa riverside
10,000 fireworks

[ 20 August ] from 7:30pm
Kagoshima Kinko Bay Summer Night Fireworks Festival
@Kagoshima Port -Honko Port- 
15,000 fireworks

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Izumi Rural Life Experience - Farmstay in Izumi -


Please follow the link below for more details.

Area guide : Hokusatsu area >>

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Sendai Ferry Terminal

The Sendai Ferry Terminal is the boarding point for the high speed boat "Koshikishima" bound for Koshikishima Island.


This ferry terminal was opened in conjunction with the start of operation of the high speed boat "Koshikishima".


Bearing a similar design to the interior of the high speed boat, this ferry terminal, designed by famous industrial designer Mr. Mitooka Eiji, has a wood-panelled interior, giving it a stylish and relaxed atmosphere.


Besides the ticketing counter, there is a café and souvenir shop, and the parking space can accommodate about 200 vehicles.

◆ High Speed Boat "Koshikishima" Operation Information

[ Stop-overs ] 
Sendai Port / Sato Port / Nagahama Port

[ Ticket Price ] 
Adult: 2,380 - 3,380 yen / Child: 1,200 - 1,700 yen 

[ Round Trip Ticket ] Adult: 4,000 yen / Child: 2,000 yen

[ Website ] 
Ferry Time Schedule >> 
*Japanese only

* June 23, 2015
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JR Sendai Station

The JR Sendai Station is located in the northwest of Kagoshima Prefecture, about 12 minutes by the Shinkansen bullet train and 1 hour by local trains from the JR Kagoshima Chuo Station.


Connected to the Hisatsu Orange Line Sendai Station, this is the second busiest train station in Kagoshima Prefecture, after JR Kagoshima Chuo Station.



Shuttle bus service (price: 100 yen) is available from JR Sendai Station to the Sendai Ferry Terminal, where one can board the jetfoil to Koshikishima Island.

Shuttle Bus Time Schedule >> 

[ Getting There ] JR Kagoshima Chuo Station ⇔ JR Sendai Station

[ Ticket Price ] Adult: 2,890 yen (Shinkansen bullet train); 940 yen (Local trains)

* April 4, 2015
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Hayato no Kaze Express

Operating between Kagoshima City (Kagoshima Chuo Station) and Yusui Town (Yoshimatsu Station) through the mountains of Kirishima, the jet black train with its gold embellishments exudes classic beauty. 



The wooden interior gives warmth and a retro feel, ferrying passengers through lush greenery to the rich hot springs of Kirishima, home of the legend of the founding of Japan



For more details, please follow the link below

* March 15, 2015
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Izumi-Fumoto Samurai Residences

The historic preservation district of Izumi is located almost in the center of the city.


It is said that the hilly area stretching from Shiroyama to the Komatsu River was leveled about 400 years ago, and the roads and stonewalls were constructed with river stones over a period of 30 years or so.



Even now, the streets (that retain their original appearance since the time of construction), the stone walls and hedges on both sides of the streets, and the trees in the yards in the area harmonize with the samurai gates and residences seen through the hedges, providing for a calm street scene.


One might also like to visit the Jizo statue in the grounds of Yasaka Shrine nearby.

It is the tallest (4.15 meters) stone Jizo statue in Japan.

* November, 2014
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Sato Port Area, Koshikishima Island

One might wish to walk around this sparsely populated island of 6,000 people to explore the rustic island life.

There are several interesting spots in the vicinity of Sato Port, which is served by high speed boats and ferries.


The Tombolo View Spot
A good location that overlooks the 1km-wide great tombolo (sand bar).


Sato Samurai Residence Complex
Remains of samurai residence buildings which are surrounded by stone walls


Yamashita Shoten >> 
Offering freshly made tofu (beancurd) *Closed on Thursday


Gallery Hiramine >>  *Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays
Modern Art Gallery & Café

** Walking Map of Sato Port area

* September 10, 2014
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Farm Stay Experience in Isa City

Located in the north of Kagoshima Prefecture, the Isa basin experiences a large annual temperature gap and is thus famous for its delicious rice.


Mr. Yamanokuchi, a local farm owner and representative of the "Inaka-no-Ohyakusho-san", grows rice and many types of vegetables. His farm also offers a farm stay experience.


Once we got to the field, we had a quick lesson on harvesting techniques and recognising the correct sized vegetables (ready for harvesting) before getting started.


The contents of the farm experience varies according to season. When we visited the farm in late October we harvested Jumbo Ingen (beans) and Kinzan Negi (leek).


Harvesting the crops which were painstakingly cultivated by the farmer was definitely a great experience!


Lunch prepared using the freshly harvested vegetables is also available for ¥1,000, and requires an advanced reservation.

The sumptuous lunch we had consisted of onigiri rice balls made using the famous Isa rice, Satsumajiru vegetable and chicken stew, Jumbo Ingen tempura (battered and deep fried), and pumpkin dessert.


This house where we had lunch also offers a farm stay for visitors.

The room layout and the tatami (straw) mat flooring is that of typical old Japanese houses. Children who visit this place on school excursions exclaim happily "its just like my grandpa's house!"


"Inaka-no-Ohyakusho-san" welcomes foreigners and Japanese alike to experience farm life and farm stay. (*enquiries in Japanese only)

The owner is proud of his farm produce and assures visitors that they will be able to experience fun harvesting at any time of the year.


Wouldn't you like to enjoy a relaxing farm stay in Isa city?


■ Enquiries  *Japanese only
Inakano-ohyakusho-san (Mr. Yamanokuchi)
TEL : 0995-26-0490 

■ Web site : *Japanese only

■ Farm Experience
Duration : Approx. 2hour
Capacity : 20(maximum)
Fee : 1,500 yen per person

■ Farm Stay and Farm Experience
Capacity : 5(maximum)
Fee : 5,000 yen per person
Address : 2648-2, Hishikari Arata, Isa-shi, Kagoshima

* February 25, 2014

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Koshikishima Island

The Koshikishima Islands are located in the East China Sea to the northwest of Kagoshima, with a population of about 6,000 people.


They are made up of three main islands: Kamikoshiki, Nakakoshiki and Shimokoshiki, and several smaller islands in the surrounding area.

Each island has its unique landforms, and their great scenery has attracted many visitors.


These islands' unique landforms, which are interesting when viewed up close, are the envy of many geologists because the changing environment here allows one to feel the evolution of Earth.

There are many locations on the islands where one can witness the unique landforms of Koshikishima Island.


The Tombolo View Spot at Satocho on Kamikoshiki Island overlooks a great tombolo (sand bar) almost 1km in length.

A tombolo is a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or sand bar. Approximately 1,300 people live on this tombolo.


From "Nagame-no-Hama", one can enjoy a breathtaking overview of Lake Namako.

A sandbar of about 2km formed by the deposit of small pebbles has cut off a segment of the sea into a beautiful lagoon, and reminds people of the slow passing time on the island.


Be sure not to miss "Napoleon rock", a famous tourist spot in the Shimokoshiki area.

Standing 127m above the sea surface, the side profile of this strangely shaped rock resembles the great Frenchman Napoleon, hence the name "Napoleon Rock".



One can also grasp the extent of  these special landforms by observing rivers flowing from the mountains.

The "Senoo-no-Kannon Santaki" waterfall falls from a height of 55m down a triple step cliff. The surroundings are filled with cool and refreshing air.


At the Yohagi Maruyama Park, one can clearly see the earth's stratified layers in the Page Iwa cliff.

Ancient fossils are often discovered here. Last year, the fossil of a tooth of the herbivorous dinosaur Ceratopsidoe was found in an 80 million year old earth stratum in the Kashima area.


Not limited to viewing from afar, one can actually access some of the rocky escarpments, which are a few minutes walk from the Sesenoura village.

Napoleon Rock blends in with the Sesenoura village surroundings, and the villagers have long referred to the rock fondly as "Chuuse".


Hachijiri Observatory overlooks the Kashima area of Shimokoshiki, Nakakoshiki and Kamikoshiki islands. It is interesting to compare the view with a map.


We recommend the Dangai Tour, which brings visitors around the island on a boat.

Looking at the islands from the sea brings a refreshing perspective.


Be sure to visit Koshikishima Island - natural beauty formed from the waves, breeze, and Earth's evolution.

【Getting There】
About 1 - 2 hours ferry ride from Kushikino port on Kagoshima mainland.

【Further Enquiries】 * English language support available

■ Kamikoshiki Tourist information Center 

■ Shimokoshiki Tourist information Center

■ Shimokoshiki Hotel
Koshikishima Sinwakan (*Accommodation, car rental, transfer from port)


* December 4, 2013
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Relax and Comfortable "Orange restaurant" and "Orange cafe" on Kyushu west coast line.

"Orange restaurant" has begun service on this Spring. 

This concept is "Enjoy the changing scenery of Kyushu west coast line with the relaxation and a comfortable space of train."

It has got attract attention and great assessment from not only Japan but also other countries.


Dining Room Car (car No.1)
This "Dining Room Car" is designed the cafe dining room of the luxury HOTEL.


The crew will serve you hot meals and soup from restaurant along with Orange Railway.

These meal using seasonal ingredients from 7 towns of coast line and also local dishes of Kagoshima area.




Living car (car No.2)
This "Living car" prepare you comfort space for relaxing as like living room of Hotel.

There are some sofa seats for two person and you can feel almost private room for you.

※It is also possible to provide meals as option. 



And from this summer, "Orange Cafe" has also begun service in a concept "Warm welcome, Warm hospitality,Warm friendships and the Warm glow of memories".

It is low setting of a price range than Orange Restaurant, and operates every day, you can use more flexibly.

※Reservation needed at least 7 days in advanced.


There are prepare options like Shocyu-tasting, quiz game and lots more. 

This train is also possible to use as private with big group, so those options might fit on any party or event by your idea.

It also accept requirement of café lunch(lunch box) made using seasonal ingredients from coast line. 


Operation section: Shin-Yatsusiro・Yatsusiro sta.(Kumamoto) ~ Sendai sta. (Kagoshima)

Duration: 3 hours/one way (Approx.) from Shin-Yatsusiro sta. to Sendai sta.


More information and reservation, please contact here.



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