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 yen||12 hrs|
|Osaka||Miyazaki (Kyushu)||10,400 yen||13 hrs|
|Kobe||Nishi Oita (Kyushu) via Shikoku||8,800 yen||12.5 hrs|
|Nagoya||Sendai||7,000 yen||21 hrs|
|Tokyo||Shinmoji-Kitakyushu (Kyushu) via Shikoku||14,470 yen||34 hrs|
|Sendai||Tomakomai (Hokkaido)||8,000 yen||15 hrs|
|Niigata||Tomakomai (Hokkaido)||6,000 yen||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 email@example.com|
|15th Fl. Jinan No. 908 Dondaming Rd, Shanghai||+86 (0)21 6537 5111||+86 (0)21 6537 9111|
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|
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 ¥9,000 and ¥28,000 one-way. Passengers departing from Shimonoseki are also required to pay a passenger facility service charge of ¥610. Discounts of 10% are available on return fares. The journey takes approximately 12 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|
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 ¥14,000 one-way (¥28,000 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|
Camellia Line Ferries
Camellia Line ferries operates daily on this route. The journey takes approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes and costs between ¥9,000 one way and ¥20,000 round trip.
|Hakata port International Terminal 3F|
14-1 Okihama-machi, Hakata-ku
|+81 (0)92 262 2323||+81 (0)92 262 firstname.lastname@example.org|
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.