By Jaime Wong
Affectionately named as the "treasure box" of Ibusuki, this beautifully designed train takes you on a scenic route from Kagoshima-chuo Station to Ibusuki. Enjoy gorgeous sea views as you relax in the comfortable seats of the "Ibusuki no Tamatebako". Have fun noticing all the details in the train interior, and make sure to grab the free postcard to stamp the commemorative stamp!
Ibusuki no Tamatebako is a special limited express train, therefore it does require that you have reserved seat tickets. These can be purchased at any JR office in any JR Train Stations around Japan. Make sure to book early as this train is very popular with both local and international tourists! If you have the JR Pass, this train is covered by the pass, and if you don't it is a ¥1930 for a single one way ride.
The interior of the train is quite adorable, with many cartoon pictures of marine life decorating the wooden walls. The train's seating is a mixture of both normal passenger seats and very nice single-seater chairs and benches facing out towards the scenery through the windows. There are also blue couch seats with their own accompanying mini tables. The seats can be chosen while you are booking at the JR office, but this depends on the seats' availability. On both rides I was able to get a window seat, and on the second ride I was even lucky enough to get one of the single-seater scenery-viewing seats! The interior is also stocked with books and colouring pencils to keep children entertained, and it adds to the magical atmosphere the train has.
The exterior of the train is probably what makes it so famous, because of its black and white design. You will see plenty of people gathering on the platform to take photos of the train arriving and leaving. The advantage of riding the train to and from Kagoshima is that you will get to see both the white and black sides.
The train route that "Ibsuki no Tamatebako" takes is very scenic, and gives you great seaside views that Kagoshima is so famous for. On the way back to Kagoshima from Ibusuki, you are rewarded with a very nice view of Sakurajima. Arriving at Ibusuki is a treat as well, as the station has a free foot spa for you to enjoy. Make sure to ride this gorgeous train if you are in Kyushu! The ride is a short hour or so, making a day trip to Ibusuki from Kagoshima very enjoyable.
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I love Japan for its people, culture, food, scenery, and overall ambiance and never-ending list of things to explore and enjoy. I lived in Kyoto for one year as an exchange student, and was able to travel around various parts of Japan during that exchange time. Now I'm back in Auckland, NZ, but am aiming to be back in Japan soon in the future for travel or work!