Nippô Honsen (Northern Section Kokura – Ôita)  日豊本線 (小倉ー大分)

A local train class 815 (no. 16) near the resort town of Beppu. (2016)

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An intercity express from Fukuoka (Hakata Station) to Saiki passes Nakatsu, formed by the electric train set class 883, no.5. (2016)

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

Express train set 885-11 runs through Kanda, near the northern end of the Nippô Honsen. (2016)

From the train at Mikekado, slightly north of Nakatsu. (2016)

Amatsu halt, southeast of Nakatsu. (2016)

Looking south from the station of Yanagi-ga-ura with an imposing view of the volcanic mountain range. (2016)

Usa station, at the entrance to the pass route which will take the train over into Beppu Bay. Local two-car set 815-18 is waiting at the platform. (2016)

Between Nishi Yashiki and Tateishi, southeast of Usa. (2016)

Between Nakayamaga and Kitsuki, on the pass route from Usa over into Beppu Bay. (2016)

Trains crossing at Ôga, just before coming out into Beppu Bay. Local train set 815-16 (seen in the mirror) waits for an express (train set 883-6) to pass on its way to northern Kyûshû. (2016)

Looking across Beppu Bay not far from Bungo Toyooka. (2016)

A local train from Nakatsu to Kôzaki (train set 815-16) waits at Kamegawa, north of Beppu. (2016)

As the sun sets above Kamegawa, local train set 815-16 waits for an express to cross. (2016)

Express train set 885-7 passes through Kamegawa, north of Beppu. The leading coach is KUROHA 884-7. (2016)

Sunset in Beppu, seen from the train. (2016)