Limited Express

Experience the Hitoyoshi/Kuma region like the wild birds that visit the majestic mountains and crystal clear streams.

The Hitoyoshi Basin is surrounded on all four sides by towering mountains. Once upon a time, the people of this area suffered extreme hardship forging routes to allow ships passage through Kuma River. This train is named after the wild birds, the kingfisher and crested kingfisher, that most likely travelled freely over the train tracks, even in a time when the passage of people was challenging.

Cabin interior

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Relax and soak in the natural beauty, the unspoiled landscape of Japan passing by the windows from the tranquil interior finished in natural timber tones.
“YAMASEMI” offers a service corner (buffet) selling light snacks, etc. and comfortable bench seats that look like sofas.


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Kuma River
In the area between Yatsushiro and Hitoyoshi, passengers can enjoy views of Kuma River from the carriage windows. On a fine day, you will be greeted by the surface of the river sparkling in a dazzling emerald green.
Photo services
To create a lasting memory of your travels, we have prepared a photo panel. Please ask one of the friendly staff if you wish to take a photo.
Commemorative ticket
A commemorative ticket is given to all passengers on board the train. It also serves as a stamp mount to create a lasting memory of your travels.


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Kuma River (among the 3 most rapid flowing rivers in Japan)
The Kuma River is a first-grade river of 115 km in length and empties into the Yatsushiro Sea. Since ancient times, the Kuma River was used as a means of transportation and moving goods from one place to another and is now a popular white water rafting spot. You may even have a chance encounter with the kingfishers and crested kingfishers that fly around this area from your window.
The perfect way to enjoy Kuma River. Rafting company, Land Earth, a long-standing and reputable operator, first starting rafting on the Kuma River in 1993.
Access: 1379-1 Watari Otsu, Kuma-mura, Kuma-gun
Approx. 3 mins walk from JR Watari Station
Hours 8:00-18:00 (bookings essential) 365 days/year
Price ½ day tours from 8,000 yen
Isshochi Station
Isshochi Station started operation when the Hisatsu Line first opened for service in 1908. The current station building was constructed in 1914 and the original timber structure is still standing. Taking on a name that gives good fortune, the station also sells blessed lucky entrance tickets said to bring victory to the holder.
*Local produce, including Tanada Rice, etc. is sold on the platform mainly on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
(Arrival time of SL Hitoyoshi and “KAWASEMI YAMASEMI” No. 3 & No. 4: irregular)
Aoi Aso Shrine (National Treasure)
Originally founded in 806AD, it enshrined the local Shinto deity of the Hitoyoshi/Kuma region. The main shrine and two-storied gate constructed using the Momoyama style of architecture display characteristics that can only be seen in the Hitoyoshi/Kuma region. It was also the first site designated a national treasure of Japan in Kumamoto Prefecture.
118 Kami Aoi-machi, Hitoyoshi-shi, Approx. 5 mins walk from JR Hitoyoshi Station
Hours 8:30-17:00 365 days/year
Hitoyoshi Castle Ruins
(designated a national historic site)
The castle is also known as Sengetsu (meaning crescent moon) Castle from the crescent moon shaped stones excavated from its walls. The stone wall also features something known as “Hanedashi” (to repel attackers) as a means to prevent fires.
Fumoto-machi, Hitoyoshi-shi
Approx. 15 mins walk from JR Hitoyoshi Station, Approx. 3 mins walk from the “Shin-machi” bus stop on the “Juguritto” bus.
Hitoyoshi Hot Spring (Original Spring)
Located near the Hitoyoshi Castle Ruins, it is the perfect place to wash away the sweat while walking around the local area. The hot spring is popular for the gentle properties of the spring water.
9 Fumoto-machi, Hitoyoshi-shi
Approx. 15 mins walk from JR Hitoyoshi Station, Approx. 6 mins walk from the “Shin-machi” bus stop on the “Juguritto” bus.
Hours 6:00-22:00 (closed on New Year ’s Day)
Price 200 yen
Kuma Shochu (Ikkiya)
Traditional industry existing for over 500 years making rice shochu in the Hitoyoshi/Kuma region. Kuma Shochu has received certification as the original production area for geographical indication from the WTO, much in the same way as Scotch. Ikkiya, specializing in Kuma Shochu offers shochu from 28 local breweries and also offers tastings (charges apply).
15 Shin-machi, Hitoyoshi-shi
Hours 9:00-18:00 (tastings until 16:00) No scheduled holidays
Price Tastings: From 150 yen/glass


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Stops & Timetable

3 round trips a day / Daily operation

As of March 2017

*All seats in Car 2 (YAMASEMI) on the Limited Express “KAWASEMI YAMASEMI” No. 1 & No. 2 are non-reserved seats.
From No. 3 through No. 6 are reserved seats only.

Click here for timetable.(2018.7.14~2019.2.28)                                 

Click here for connection information. *Timetables may remain valid for only a few months.

Train Configuration

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*All seats in Car 2 (YAMASEMI) on the Limited Express “KAWASEMI YAMASEMI” No. 1 & No. 2 are non-reserved seats.
From No. 3 through No. 6 are reserved seats only.