Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen: How to get to Nagasaki by bullet train

kamome shinkansen

The Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen is a new train line that serves as an extension of the Kyushu Shinkansen line.

A section of the line between Takeo-Onsen and Nagasaki opened on September 23, 2022.

This line is served by the Kamome Shinkansen train. You can use your JR Pass on this service.

Additionally, the full extension will eventually connect Hakata Station in Fukuoka and Nagasaki by Shinkansen.

In the meantime: How to travel from Fukuoka to Nagasaki

Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen stations

The Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line currently runs between Takeo-Onsen and Nagasaki Station, spanning a distance of approximately 66 kilometers.

You can find the stations currently serviced by the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen below.

Station Transfers
Takeo-Onsen  Sasebo Line
Shin-Ōmura Ōmura Line
Isahaya Nagasaki Line
Ōmura Line
Shimabara Railway Line
Nagasaki Nagasaki Line
Ōmura Line
Nagasaki Electric Tramway

Please note that the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen does not currently offer a direct connection from Hakata Station to Nagasaki. 

To travel between these destinations, board the Relay Kamome limited express train to Takeo-Onsen Station. Here, you can easily switch to the Shinkansen on the adjoining platform.

It is not yet known when the full extension will be opened. However, once the full extension is completed, the entire journey between Hakata Station in Fukuoka and Nagasaki will only take around 30 minutes.

Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen map

Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen map
Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen map

Services on the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line

The only service currently running on the Nishi Kyushu line is the Kamome Shinkansen.

Kamome is the Japanese word for “Seagull”, a symbol that is emblazoned on the exterior of all trains on the Kyushu Shinkansen line. This logo is composed of a minimalistic bird in flight surrounded by three circles and traditional Japanese calligraphy.

kamome shinkansen logo

This train is not the first to be called Kamome, a name that has been used for other rail services in west Kyushu. Most notably, this includes the limited express train that connected Nagasaki and Kyoto in 1961.

The train also features colors of red and white on the outside, with gold highlights completing the bold design. Japanese motifs such as “shishi” (meaning lion), arabesques, and chrysanthemum will don the seat covers to create a tasteful and cozy interior atmosphere.

non reserved seating kamome shinkansen
Non-reserved seating – Kamome Shinkansen – Image by JR Kyushu
Reserved seating - Kamome Shinkansen
Reserved seating – Kamome Shinkansen – Image by JR Kyushu

A “dual supreme wing” design constitutes the nose of the train, improving aerodynamic flow by reducing wind resistance. Energy consumption is also decreased through the silicon carbide superconductors that are used in the driving system.

Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen train cars

The new Kamome Shinkansen train is a next-generation N700S series, with six cars. This is a variation of the JR central Shinkansen trains unveiled in the Tokaido line, which normally carries 16 passenger cars.

The Kamome Shinkansen will be able to hold up to 396 travelers, with 163 reserved seats in cars 1, 2, and 3. Non-reserved seats will be located in cars 4, 5, and 6 and there will be 5 seats per row with 233 total places available in this section.

A series of improved safety features will also be present on the train, such as ATC (automatic train control), security cameras, and a braking system designed for earthquakes or other emergency situations. A battery-powered propulsion system will also enable the train to continue operating in the event of a power outage.

To activate your JR Pass, visit a ticket counter in one of the major train stations along the Nishi Kyushu Shinkansen line. As mentioned above, many of the seats on this train will be reservation-only, so be sure to book your seat in advance at a ticketing counter.

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