Domestic Ferries

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Transportation - Domestic Ferries

  • As an island nation Japan has an extensive network of ferries connecting ports all over the country. Ferries can be a relaxing and interesting way to get around and are a great way to explore some of Japan's magnificent coastal scenery. Routes vary from short hops between islands, to long distance services linking various ports on the main island of Honshu to Hokkaido in the north, and the southern islands of Kyushu and Shikoku via the spectacular Seto Inland Sea.

    Although journey times are often longer, long distance ferry travel can be significantly cheaper than the equivalent journey by high-speed rail. Many long distance ferry services run overnight and offer accommodation ranging from a simple futon rolled out on the floor of a large shared room to more expensive private cabins.

    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
    Approx. Price
    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
     Nagoya  Sendai ¥7,000 21 hrs
     Tokyo  Shinmoji-Kitakyushu (Kyushu) via Shikoku
    ¥14,470 34 hrs
     Sendai  Tomakomai (Hokkaido)
    ¥8,000 15 hrs
     Niigata   ¥6,000 18 hrs

    Note: Prices and journey times are estimates only.

    Reservations for domestic ferry services can be made within Japan at major travel agencies or directly through the relevant ferry company.

    Domestic ferry schedules are subject to seasonal changes and may also vary according to the weather. It is best to confirm schedule details with the relevant ferry company or at local tourist information centres within Japan.

    The Japan Long Distance Ferry Association publishes a free English-language brochure containing detailed information on current ferry schedules and fares. The brochure is available within Japan from most local tourist information centres or from:

    The Japan Long Distance Ferry Association

    Iino Building
    Tokyo 100-0011
    Tel. (03) 3501 0889
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