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In this article, we will look at how to take the Korea to Japan Ferry. There is a daily hydrofoil service operated by JR Beetle that goes between Busan in South Korea and Fukuoka (Hakata) in Japan.
The Busan to Fukuoka ferry takes just three hours and is a much better way to make the journey than flying! Below find out all you need to know including current timetable and prices.
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Getting to Busan
Busan is easily reachable from Seoul by bus and train and the journey time takes around four hours. You can read how to make this journey in my Seoul to Busan guide.
Train: The KTX train from Seoul Station to Busan Station takes 1hr 40m. For up to date departures and fares, visit the Korail website.
Bus: Buses from Incheon International Airport take 5 hours to reach Busan and cost 46,000 won (if arriving by boat, you can take the bus from Incheon Exchange Terminus and it takes 4.5 hours).
You will arrive at Busan Central Bus Terminus, which contrary to its name, is a long way from the centre. Take metro line 1 from Nopo (first stop on the orange line) 21 stops to Choryang. Take exit 4 and go under the underpass and you will see the port terminal building in front of you.
While in Busan, a trip to Gamcheon Culture village is well worth a quick detour. See the incredible brightly painted houses set into the hillside, known as Machu Pichu of the East!
Getting to Busan Ferry Port
The ferry port in Busan is located across from the main KTX rail station. The nearest metro stations are Choryang or Busan Station. From the rail station, it is less than a ten-minute walk to the ferry terminal.
The terminal is modern and has a selection of small kiosks and shops as well as a ticket office.
Customs and Border
Customs and border checks are carried out at the port and no different to flying (though with much smaller queues). You will be stamped out of South Korea before boarding the vessel.
JR Beetle Hydrofoil – Korea to Japan Ferry
The crossing on the Korea to Japan ferry takes just over three hours and costs around 13,000 yen ($130) HOWEVER, if you book in advance online through Direct Ferries you can make a huge saving of up to 40% (I ended up paying full price on the way out, and realizing my mistake and booking online for the return journey).
You can get a quote from Direct Ferries.
The boat is a small hydrofoil vessel with airline-style seating and travels two metres above the water. You can’t get up and stroll around while you are moving, though you can pop to the toilet if you need it. Free wifi is provided onboard and a drink and snack service is also available.
While onboard fill out the Japanese immigration cards and customs declarations handed out by staff ready for Japanese immigration at Fukuoka port.
Fukuoka (Hakata), Japan
Although an unremarkable concrete jungle, Fukuoaka is a good jumping-off point to discovering Japan’s Kyushu (southernmost large island) with connections to Kagoshima and Yakushima in the South. There are also connections to Osaka, Hiroshima and Tokyo on Honshu.
As the bullet trains can be expensive (buy a Japan Rail Pass if you will be in Japan for more than five days and plan to travel between cities), there are numerous bus services also operating.
Looking for things to do in Japan? Why not visit Kagoshima or the wild and beautiful island of Yakushima, a nature lovers paradise! If you plan on visiting Yakushima you will want to read about the Kagoshima to Yakushima Ferry, or take a look at this great list of 12 Cities to visit in Japan!
Check out this two week Japan Itinerary for lots of unique places to visit including things to do in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo!
Why Take the Busan to Fukuoka Ferry
Taking the Busan to Fukuoka ferry is a great way to travel from South Korea to Japan and is arguably quicker than flying. Travel by fast and comfortable hydrofoil for a fun start to your trip!
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About the author: Steve Rohan, originally from England, has lived in China for over six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, the ancient capital of Luoyang, the tropical paradise of Sanya and Hong Kong.
He has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, mostly by train, and has written about his travels for this blog as well as self-publishing his first book, Siberian Odyssey.