Nippô Honsen (Southern Section Ôita-Miyazaki-Kagoshima) 日豊本線 (大分―宮崎―鹿児島)

The Nippô Honsen 日豊本線is the east coast main line from north to south Kyûshû. It was gradually built between 1895 and 1932 and has a total length of 462, 6 km. The Nippô Honsen starts in the industrial town of Kokura in the north, intercity express trains usually beginning or terminating in Kyûshû's most important city, Fukuoka. The line mainly follows the coast through Nakatsu to the hot springs of Beppu and the major industrial city of Ôita. From there it serves coastal settlements with shipbuilding and fishery down to Saiki. From Saiki the line passes through a sparsely populated mountain region before regaining the seaside at Nobeoka and following the coast to the major city of Miyazaki. Then the Nippô Honsen starts the steep incline up to the highlands around Miyakonojô before descending to the town of Hayato and the Bay of Kagoshima. Always in close sight of the fearsome active volcano Sakurajima trains reach the terminal at Kagoshima.

Since 1979 the Nippô Honsen is electrified throughout with alternating current 20 kV / 60 Hz. Electrification had reached Miyazaki from the north in 1974. However, a single diesel car operates the very sparse local services between Saiki and Nobeoka.

Frequent intercity express trains connect Fukuoka via Kokura with Ôita and Miyazaki, often continuing to Miyazaki Airport. Most local services in the north, however, end at Nakatsu. A slightly more frequent local service is provided in the Beppu and Ôita region. In the south, there are intercity express services between Ôita and Kagoshima, with some local trains in between from Nobeoka southward.

Freight trains are extremely few in number, with some container transport down as far as the Nobeoka region and on the branch line (4, 6 km) to the port of Kanda slightly north of Yukuhashi.

The name of the line indicates "(Connection) from Kokura through Ôita into the Miyazaki region". The two old provinces in north-east Kyûshû, Buzen (written 豊前,  the region around Kokura and Nakatsu) and Bungo (written 豊後,  the region around Ôita and Kitsuki), both contain the characters   in their name, while the old name of what is today Miyazaki Prefecture was Hyûga (written 日向). The two characters (representing Hyûga) and (representing Buzen and Bungo) side by side 日豊 are read "Nippô", hence the name Nippô Honsen (the "Nippô Mainline").

### In the violent typhoon on September 17, 2017, much of the line between Usuki and Saiki was destroyed. Services here remain suspended. ###  ---> reopened

Sunset at Ôita main station. Train set 815-16 waiting to leave for Kôzaki, approx. 19 km east of Ôita. (2016)

Still in the eastern suburbs of Ôita, at Takajô. (2013)

Train set 815-17 at Shitanoe, slightly north of Usuki. (2013)

Shipbuilding at Usuki. (2020)

From the train east of Usuki. (2020)

East of Usuki, fishing village in the sunset. (2020)

On the descent from Usuki to Tsukumi - Crossing a local service worked by dual-system train set 411/415-109. (2013)

On the descent from the Usuki - Tsukumi pass: limestone quarries in Tsukumi. (2013)

Between Tsukumi and Hishiro. (2020)

A through intercity service from Miyazaki Airport to Fukuoka, provided by a class 783 train (no.4), passes through Azamui between Tsukumi and Saiki. (2013)

A local train formed by train set 815-17 waits at Azamui between Tsukumi and Saiki. (2013)

In the morning just after 6 o'clock at Saiki. The driver is going to start up Express train set 883-2 for its run northwards, while local train 815-25 is waiting at the platform. To the left is the single diesel car KIHA 220-211 for the working down to Nobeoka, a section which sees almost no local traffic. (2013)

Going inland over the difficult Sôtarô pass, near Kamioka, just south of Saiki. (2020)

Near the lonely station of Shigeoka. (2020)

Local service at Shigeoka between Saiki and Nobeoka provided by diesel unit class 220 (no. 1502). (2013)

One of the very few local trains over the Saiki - Nobeoka section. Diesel car class KIHA 220 no.211 waiting at Kitagawa for an express train to cross. (2013)

Express train set 787-2 on the Saiki - Nobeoka section, at Kitagawa. (2013)

Old farmhouses along the Saiki - Nobeoka line, at Hyûga Naga-i. (2020)

AC locomotive ED76 1021 has come down as far as Nobeoka with a freight train. (2020)

Near Mimitsu, about 34 km south of Nobeoka, is the former railway research center which conducted tests with magnetic levitation (MAGLEV). Construction began in 1974, and on a testing track of 7 km length speeds were reached up to 517 km/h. The testing line was in operation 1977 to 1996, since when it has been used for other purposes. (2020)

The former testing track for a superconducting magnetic levitation railway (MAGLEV) between Mimitsu and Tsuno. It is now used for solar panels. Seen from a Nippô Honsen express train. (2020)

From the train near Tsuno, with a view into the mountains and towards Tsuno Winery. (2020)

A morning local train (Set 817-3) at Kawaminami, one stop south of Tsuno. (2013)

In steam days, C61 28 passes through Hyûga Sumiyoshi, just north of Miyazaki. (1972)

A class 817 train leaving Miyazaki main station in the direction of Nobeoka. (2018)

Crossing the bridge over the Ôyodogawa between Miyazaki main station and Minami Miyazaki. (2018)

The luxury train "Seven Stars in Kyûshû" stands in Minami Miyazaki station. (2018)

In steam days a freight train comes down the incline from Miyakonojô to Miyazaki at Hyûga Kutsukake. Locomotive C57 155. (August 1972)

The Nippô Honsen still saw steam locomotives, even on long-distance passenger services as in this picture, until 1975. Here locomotive C57 192 is hauling a train up from Miyazaki towards Miyakonojô near Hyûga Kutsukake. (1972)

Locomotive C55 52 coming down from Miyakonojô towards Miyazaki, near Tano. This locomotive is now preserved at Yoshimatsu. (1972)

After Tano the steep incline beginns as the Nippô Honsen now climbs up to the plateau of Miyakonojô. On this hot day in August the fields and rice paddys are vividly green. (2013)

Seen from a descending train local set 817-6 crosses at the Kadoishi signals. (2018)

Express train set 787-1 at Aoidake, the main intermediate station on the incline up to Miyakonojô. (2018)

Two diesel cars (KIHA 47 9056 + KIHA 47 8052) form a local train up to Miyakonojô. At Aoidake. (2018)

Up on the Miyakonojô plateau the driver is informed of the approaching halt at Mochibaru. (2018)

As the train descends down to the Bay of Kagoshima it runs through Takarabe at the foot of the Kirishima volcanic range with a view of Takachiho no mine. (2020)

Express train set 787-2 entering Kirishima Jingû. (2020)

Train set 787-1 at the platform of Kirishima Jingû, with an advertisment showing the famous Kirishima Jingû shrine not far from here. (2018)

From a train climbing up to Kirishima Jingû. (2018)

From the train on its steep descent from Miyakonojô to Hayato. A heavy rain storm has set in. (2018)

Along Kagoshima Bay: From a train at Aira, heading eastwards. (2018)

Along Kagoshima Bay: A view of Sakurajima volcano from the bay south of Aira. (2020)

A local train at Ryûgamizu, electric unit class 817, no 1003. In the background the Bay of Kagoshima and the Sakurajima volcano. (2013)

Along Kagoshima Bay: Steam locomotive C57 109 leaving Ryûgamizu for Kagoshima. (1972)

Along Kagoshima Bay: Sakurajima volcano from an express train between Kagoshima and Ryûgamizu. (2020)

Along Kagoshima Bay: Sunrise over Sakurajima volcano, seen from the train. (2020)

Running into Kagoshima station the train passes Kagoshima Container Terminal, which is served by freight trains coming down the Kagoshima Honsen. (2020)

Used for rush hour trains on the Nippô Honsen along Kagoshima bay the old dual-system (AC/DC) set 411/415 no. 514 stands at Kagoshima Chûô Main Station. (2018)