Aso, known for its dynamic and endless nature! So much to see, so many places to visit. There is no end to all the places just waiting for you to explore them. But, the big hurdle for many people is a lack of reliable public communication. If you have your own car, or can at least rent one, then there is no problem, but not all visitors have that possibility. So, what then?
Don’t worry! We are here to introduce you to convenient and profitable ways of traveling Aso without a car!
Without further ado, let me introduce your new best friend, the SUNQ Pass!
This pass is not only limited to Kumamoto and Aso but lets you travel most buses in Kyushu, Yamaguchi prefecture and even a couple of ferries with one single ticket. ※ Can’t be used in Okinawa and most of the islands outside the southern coast.
Oh, and do you want to know the best part? When you ride on a bus, you can freely enjoy the beautiful scenery that you forcefully have to look away from while driving!
There are four different versions of the pass.
・Red: Kita-bu Kyushu (Northern Kyushu) +Yamaguchi prefecture. This pass covers Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and Oita and costs 9,000 yen for 3 days.
・Yellow: Nan-bu Kyushu (Southern Kyushu) +Yamaguchi prefecture. This pass covers Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima and costs 8,000 yen for 3 days.
・Blue: Zen-Kyushu+Yamaguchi prefecture. This pass covers all of Kyushu and costs 11,000 yen for 3 days.
・Green: Zen-Kyushu+Yamaguchi prefecture. This pass covers all of Kyushu and costs 14,000 yen for 4 days.
The pass can be bought at most major bus terminals, online, convenience stores or the service counters of various travel agencies. For detailed information on sales locations check out:
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s utilize the SUNQ Pass and enjoy Aso!
Keep an eye open for these stickers! They can be located on the front of the bus or at the entrance and indicate which buses the SUNQ Pass can be used on.
The SUNQ Pass is easy to use as well. Jump on the bus of your choice and grab a boarding ticket. When your destination comes up press the “Stop”-button, place your boarding ticket in the farebox, show your SUNQ Pass to the driver and off you go!
So, let’s start by having a look at your alternatives when traveling to Aso.
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
・Aso Express: This bus departs from central Fukuoka, passes through Fukuoka Airport and stops at Aso City, Aso Station, and Uchi-no-Maki Onsen.
・Fukuoka – Kurokawa Onsen: This bus departs from central Fukuoka and heads toward Minamioguni town and Kurokawa Onsen.
・Takamori-go: This bus departs from Kumamoto Station, passes through Kumamoto Airport and heads toward Minami Aso (South Aso).
・Yamabiko-go: This bus departs from Kumamoto Station, passes through Aso Station and continues for Oita prefecture.
・Kyushu Odan Bus: This bus departs from Kumamoto Station, passes through Kumamoto Airport, Aso Station, Kurokawa Onsen and after this, continues for Beppu in Oita prefecture.
Even though the buses seldom are fully booked some of them might require reservation if you want to guarantee a spot! To avoid any unfortunate mishaps, make a reservation beforehand.
But Aso is a large place and just getting there is not enough. Luckily enough there are local bus lines where the SUNQ Pass is viable as well!
Check out below for more information!
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
・Aso Kako Sen/Aso volcanic crater line: This bus departs from Aso station and stops at major tourist spots such as Kusasenri and Aso Volcano Museum.
・Oguni-go Gurutto Bus/Oguni area circle bus line: From central Oguni, the bus goes around in both directions stopping at famous places such as Kurokawa Onsen, Shirakawa Onsen, and Mangan-ji Onsen.
・Takamori Chomin Bus/Takamori local bus: Departing from the town hall in Takamori Town this bus has a few different lines and connects to both famous and less famous places around Takamori.
・Minami Aso Yurutto Bus/ South Aso bus line: You can ride this bus from the small town of Ozu located between Aso and Kumamoto City. The bus passes through Minami Aso Village, Shirakawa springhead, and then heads toward Takamori Station. This is called the Shirakawa route. You can also take the Kugino route from Arden Hotel Aso in Minami Aso Village which passes through Aso Farm Land, Asobo-no-Sato, and Kugino before heading to Takamori Station.
Detailed information on the different buses can be found below!
Another helpful page when looking up bus routes, departure times, and locations of bus stops is this one! Make a habit out of doing this since the number of daily departures is limited each day.
The bus lines of the different areas are mainly used by local people in their everyday lives. Enjoy the chance to get up close and personal with the people of Aso and see all the good bits and treasures hidden between the tourist attractions.
Even though there are many ways to get around Aso without a car it can be hard to know where to start. We hope this information has been helpful and will give you the courage to take your first step towards visiting Aso! Get yourself a SUNQ Pass and start exploring Aso and Kyushu! You will definitely not regret it!