Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by over 4,000 smaller islands. An impressive network of ferries connects its numerous ports. Ferries provide visitors an opportunity to view Japan’s stunning coast and can be less expensive than rail travel if you don’t mind the extra transit time. Accomodations on ferries ranges from a simple futon in a shared room to private cabins. Ferry schedules change depending on the season and weather, so it is best to check with the ferry company directly when planning your trip.
Reservations for domestic ferry services can be made within Japan at major travel agencies or directly through the relevant ferry company.
Prices and Journey Times
The following table is a guide to the cheapest one-way fares and journey times for some of the most popular domestic ferry routes.
Long Distance Ferry
|From||To||Approx. Price in Yen||Approx. Journey Time|
|Osaka||Beppu (kyushu) via Kobe and Shikoku||¥8,800||12 hrs|
|Osaka||Miyazaki (Kyushu)||¥10,400||13 hrs|
|Kobe||Nishi Oita (Kyushu) via Shikoku||¥8,800||12.5 hrs|
|Tokyo||Shinmoji-Kitakyushu (Kyushu) via Shikoku||¥14,470||34 hrs|
|Sendai||Tomakomai (Hokkaido)||¥8,000||15 hrs|
|Niigata||Tomakomai (Hokkaido)||¥6,000||18 hrs|
Note: Prices and journey times are estimates only.
*This information is provided for reference only, please be sure to check directly with the ferry company directly to confirm rates.
International ferry services are very popular and advance reservations are recommended. Reservations can be made through major travel agencies within Japan, directly with the ferry company or at your port of departure.
Osaka – Shanghai
The Shanghai Ferry Company
The Shanghai Ferry Company operates a weekly service between Osaka and the Chinese port city of Shanghai. One-way tickets cost between ¥20,000 and ¥40,000 with discounts of up to 40% on return fares. A 10% discount for students is also available. The journey takes approximately 48 hours. Please contact the Shanghai Ferry Company for further information.
|5F DAI Building, Midosuji, 4-1-2 Minami Kyuhoji-cho, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0058 Japan||+81 (0)6 6243 6345||+81 (0)6 6243 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Room BCF, 4F The Panorama Shanghai, No 53 Huangpu Road, Shanghai 20080 China||+86 (0)21 6537 5111||+86 (0)21 6537 email@example.com|
Japan-China International Ferry Company
The Japan-China International Ferry Company connects Osaka and Kobe with Shanghai. The ship departs on a weekly basis, alternating each week between Osaka and Kobe. Fares range between ¥20,000 and ¥50,000 one-way with discounts of up to 40% on return tickets. A 10% discount for students is also available. The journey takes approximately 48 hours. Please contact the Japan-China International Ferry Company for further information.
|2F Sanai Building, 1-8-6 Shin-machi, Nishi-ku, Osaka, Japan||+81 (0)6 6536 6541||+81 (0)6 6536 6542|
|Daikanyama Parkside, Village 204, 9-8 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan||+81 (0)3 5489 4800||+81 (0)3 5489 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Kobe – Tanggu Port (Tianjin)
China Express Line
China Express Line ships sail once a week between the Chinese Port of Tanggu, near the city of Tianjin, and Kobe. Fares start at ¥20,000 one-way with discounts of up to 40% on return tickets. A 10% discount for students is also available. The journey takes approximately 48 hours. Please contact China Express Line for further information.
|4-5 Shinkocho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0041 Japan||+81 (0)78 321 5791||+81 (0)78 321 email@example.com|
|C/O- Tianjin jin-Shen Ferry Co. Ltd, N.1 22/F Ocean Shipping Plaza, Hebei District, Tianjin, China||+ 86 (0)22 2420 5777||+ 86 (0)22 2420 5970|
Shimonoseki – Qingdao
Orient Ferry Ltd.
Orient Ferry Ltd. operates a regular service between Shimonoseki, on the western tip of the main island of Honshu, and the Chinese port city of Qingdao. One-way tickets cost between ¥18,000 and ¥70,000 with discounts of 10% on return fares. Passengers departing from Shimonoseki are also required to pay a passenger facility service charge of ¥600. The journey takes approximately 40 hours. Please contact Orient Ferry Ltd. for further information.
|1-10-64 Higashi-Yamato-cho, Shimonoseki 750-0066 Japan||+81 (0)832 32 6615||+81 (0)832 32 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Qindao Office, Haitian Hotel, Room 1267/1268, 48 Xiang Gang Xi Road, Qingdao 266071 China||+ 86 (0)532 389 7636||+ 86 (0)532 389 email@example.com|
Ferries to / from Korea
Shimonoseki – Busan
Kampu Ferry Company
The Kampu Ferry Company sails daily between Shimonoseki, on the western tip of the main island of Honshu, and the South Korean port of Busan. Fares range between ¥8,500 and ¥18,000 one-way. Passengers departing from Shimonoseki are also required to pay a passenger facility service charge of ¥600. Discounts of 10% are available on return fares. The journey takes approximately 14 hours. Please contact the Kampu Ferry Company for further information.
|1-10-60 Higashi Yamato-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, Japan||+81 (0)832 24 3000||+81 (0)832 24 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|4-15 Jungang Dong, Jung-Gu, Busan, Korea||+82 (0)51 464 2700||+82 (0)51 463 7020|
Fukuoka (Hakata) – Busan
There is a choice of two services on the route between Fukuoka (Hakata), on the southern island of Kyushu, and Busan in South Korea.
JR Kyushu ‘Beetle’ Hydrofoil
The journey between Fukuoka and Busan on this high-speed service takes just 2 hours and 55 minutes. The Hydrofoil operates daily and costs ¥13,000 one-way (¥26,000 return). Please contact JR Kyushu for further information or visit the JR Kyushu ‘Beetle’ web site.
|Senpaku Department, 3F Hakata-ko Kokusai Terminal, 14-1 Nakahama-cho, Hakata-ku Fukuoka 812-0031 Japan||+81 (0)92 281 2315||+81 (0)92 272 email@example.com|
|C/- Korea Marine Express, International Ferryport 15-3 4-Ga, Jungang-Dong, Jung-Gu Busan 600-014 Korea||+82 (0)51 465 6111||+82 (0)51 465 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Camellia Line Ferries
Camellia Line ferries operates three times a week on this route The journey takes approximately 15 hours and 40 minutes and costs between ¥9,000 one way and ¥17,100 round trip. Discounts of 10% are available on return fares. Please contact the Camellia Line Company for further information.
|3F Hakata-ko Kokusai Terminal|
14-1 Nakahama-cho, Hakata-ku Fukuoka, Japan
|+81 (0)92 262 2323||+81 (0)92 262 email@example.com|
15-3 4-Ga, Jungang-Dong Jung-Gu, Busan 600-014 Korea
|+82 (0)51 466 7799||+82 (0)51 466 7161|
Nikkan Kyodo Kippu
The Nikkan Kyodo Kippu is a discount ticket allowing passengers on either the Kampu Ferry service from Shimonoseki, or the JR Kyushu ‘Beetle’ service from Fukuoka, to travel between a number of Japanese cities and Seoul, Korea at a significantly reduced fare. Prices for the ticket vary according to the city of departure and include travel by JR train (including the Bullet Train) to the port of departure, travel by ferry or jetfoil to Busan, and rail travel from Busan to Seoul within Korea. The Nikkan Kyodo Kippu is valid for 7-days one way and is available within Japan from major travel agencies and at JR Travel Centres in major JR railway stations.