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Let’s Go on a Leisurely Trip by Sea! Top 5 Ferry Routes in Japan

There are many fast and convenient modes of transport that you can ride in Japan, such as planes and Shinkansen (bullet train). However, there comes a time when you just want to forget about daily life and travel without worrying about the time. When that time comes, it would be best to travel by sea. Below are five of the best ferry routes in Japan.

1. Tsuruga – Tomakomai Higashi by Shin Nihonkai Ferry

This is a route that connects Tsuruga in Fukui with Tomakomai Higashi in Hokkaido in roughly 19 hours. There is a wide range of passenger cabins on this ferry, including suites with their own private terrace and bath with a view of the ocean. Inside the ship, there are restaurants, a karaoke room and a game corner, as well as a movie theater that you can use for free.

Sample passenger fare: Northbound (Tsuruga → Tomakomai-Higashi Port) Cabin Tourist A – Adult: 9,570 JPY/person

1. Tsuruga – Tomakomai Higashi by Shin Nihonkai Ferry

Tsuruga New Port, 95-4 Mariyama, Tsuruga-shi, Fukui

2. Nagoya – Sendai by Taiheiyo Ferry

This is a route that links Nagoya in Aichi with Sendai in Miyagi in about 21 hours and 40 minutes. If you go on this journey, you might get to sail on the ship that was chosen as the No.1 vessel in the Ferry Division of the Cruise Ship of the Year 2016 Awards of a magazine dedicated to cruises. There are many different kinds of rooms available for passengers, including cabins with a bathtub and Japanese-style rooms. They even have a theater lounge and a large public bath with a view of the sea that you can enter free of charge.

Sample passenger fare: 2nd class cabin – Adult: 6,700 JPY/person

2. Nagoya – Sendai by Taiheiyo Ferry

Inside the Ferry Terminal Bldg., 40 Sorami-cho, Minato-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi

3. Tokyo – Tokushima by Ocean Tokyu Ferry

This is a route that will get you to Tokushima from Tokyo in about 17 hours. It has various types of passenger cabins, such as shared rooms with bunk beds, private cabins and rooms with a barrier-free design. The ship is also equipped with a large public bath that has a view of the ocean, laundromat and other features. There is no dining spot, but there is an area filled with vending machines (selling packaged meals and other items) that are available 24 hours a day, so it’s pretty convenient.

Sample passenger fare: 2nd class Western-style cabin – Adult: 11,850 JPY/person (incl. tax)

3. Tokyo – Tokushima by Ocean Tokyu Ferry

4-8-6 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo

4. Nanko - Moji by Meimon Taiyo Ferry

This is a route that connects Osaka’s Nanko port with Fukuoka’s Shinmoji port in about 12 hours. When you are aboard and the ship sails on the gentle Seto Inland Sea route, you will get to marvel at Akashi Kaikyo Bridge that is the world’s longest suspension bridge, the long and massive Seto Bridge, and the Kurushima-Kaikyo Bridge which is the first bridge in the world with three successive suspension bridges, as well as the local cross bridge that is illuminated by lights. Inside, there is a restaurant, a bath with a view, a lounge and other amenities.

Sample passenger fare: Economy 2nd class – Adult: 6,270 JPY/person (incl. tax)

4. Nanko - Moji by Meimon Taiyo Ferry

2-2-24 Nanko Minami, Suminoe-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

5. Osaka – Shinmoji by Hankyu Ferry

This is the route that connects Osaka’s Izumiotsu with Fukuoka’s Shinmoji in about 12 hours. The ship on this route, which is the largest vessel in Seto Inland Sea, features an open-air bath, a viewing room at the bow of the ship, and a spacious observation deck that stretches to the stern. There is a wide array of hotel-like comfortable rooms where you can stay – from Japanese-style cabins, to Japanese-Western rooms. You can also enjoy the karaoke room and dine in the spacious restaurant.

Sample passenger fare: Standard/Japanese-style cabin – Adult: 6,270 JPY/person (incl. tax)

5. Osaka – Shinmoji by Hankyu Ferry

1-3 Ozushima-cho, Izumiotsu-shi, Osaka

There are many perks when travelling via ferries, including the ability to save on accommodation costs as many of the ferries sail at night, the low fares and discounts, the ability to travel by bicycle or car, and the comfortable sleep that you can enjoy as you get to sleep lying down. Please enjoy a ride on a ferry!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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