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Taking the Ferry from Korea to Japan (Busan-Fukuoka)


UPDATE: As of August 2015, there is a new Busan International Ferry Terminal. This post reflects that information. The ferry terminal is at Pier 4, north/east of Busan station, not on Pier 1. GPS: 35.1171609°, 129.0488441°

Air travel has become a bit of a pain the arse, no? So when I have an opportunity to take an alternative method of travel without sacrificing too much time or money, I take it. Looking to travel between Japan and Korea? Why not take the ferry? In fact, from Busan you can travel to either Fukuoka or Osaka (an overnight trip).

It may surprise some that the two countries are just less than a three-hour boat ride apart. For my fellow Midwesterners, it’s like taking the Lake Express across Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Michigan.

Busan Ferry Terminal as seen from the platform of Busan Station
Busan Ferry Terminal as seen from the platform of Busan Station

The Busan Ferry Terminal in is a short walk (2 blocks – 5-10 minutes) from Busan Station. (It is about a 20-30 minute taxi ride from Seomyeon station area (just about 10,000 won).


The trains from Seoul arrive at Busan Station, including the KTX high-speed rail from Seoul. You can walk about 10 minutes from Exit 8 of Busan Station to arrive at the Busan International Ferry Terminal, but there is also a shuttle bus for 1100 won from Exit 4. This Busan ferry terminal shuttle bus also departs from two Subway Line 1 stations: from Exit 4 at Choryang Station and Exit 14 at Jungang Station. See the Busan Metro Line Map here. (Page down for some photos of the walk from Busan Station to Busan Ferry Terminal. It would be a drag to do this if it’s raining and you have no umbrella, so keep that shuttle bus option in mind.)

JR Beetle (Japan company) and Kobee (Korean company) run this Busan-Fukuoka (Hakata) ferry route, and a slow boat — the Camellia Line — is about 6.5 hours from Fukuoka to Busan, departing just after noon. The Busan to Fukuoka/Hakata route is an overnight option (11 hours to Fukuoka/Hakata). Departure times and frequency vary depending on the day and the season. Weekends tend to have more departures than weekdays, winter has fewer than summer. Some days leave earlier than others.

Other Japan-Korea ferry routes include: Panstar Dream, makes the trip between Busan and Osaka in 19 hours, but not daily. Kampu Ferry also does an overnight trip that runs longer than 14 hours, between Busan and Shimonoseki, east of Fukuoka, on the top of the main island of Honshu. Days and times vary.

Tickets for the JR Beetle are about 13,000 yen one-way, purchasable up to 3 months in advance online on the JR Beetle website. Discounted tickets are available for folks 65 or older (not 60 as it used to be). No, the JR Rail Pass has no place here. (Wouldn’t THAT be awesome?) But upon arrival in Fukuoka the JR high-speed rail system is not far from the ferry dock (1.7mi/2.7km, 9 min taxi/35 min walking). Just remember if you are looking to purchase a JR Rail Pass, you must do it outside Japan before your trip.

There is a JR Beetle English website but when you go to purchase it still remarkably switches back to Japanese, so I recommend using Google Chrome or a browser with built-in translation if you insist. It comes out in wacky Engurish, but clear enough. I actually did the whole thing in Japanese guessing where to click. Some things are pretty universal. However, since that first time, I found a cheaper and easier option, with good customer service:


Buying Ferry Tickets Online Made Easy

I have found a great international booking agent so you can buy ferry tickets between Busan and Japan online, (along with many other worldwide routes.) Many travelers, myself included, found it easier — and cheaper— to just use AFerry (see the search box below), not just in terms of ease of use for English speakers, but also even coming in with a lower price and putting all possible lines out there for comparison. Be aware you must book more than 5 days in advance. But this works and you get a PDF voucher to exchange for your ticket when you arrive:

That 5 days in advance might sound like a deal-breaker for seat-of-the-pants travel, but be aware that the route is quite popular with Koreans and Japanese, of course, and the fast passenger ferry sells out, sometimes weeks in advance, especially on weekends. It happened to me, so don’t wait until the last minute.


You will enter from the parking area, ground floor, level 1, and take an elevator or escalator to the third floor for departures. See the Busan Ferry Terminal Map:



Inside the Busan International Ferry Terminal you’ll find coffee shops, convenience store, and a few simple restaurants, but you must go up to the third floor for check-in.


The arrivals floor (2F) has a great Tourist Information Center, with materials in English and computer terminals for free use. It is open daily from 8 am until the final departure for the day.

Go to the appropriate ferry company window on 3rd floor. You need to present a reservation number (print it out when you buy it online) and your passport. Then you will be asked for a fuel surcharge (about 4,000 to 15,000 won — 4300 won March 30, 2016). You can use a credit card. You can change money on the second floor (arrivals floor) inside the terminal, but no one wants to blow a big bill at the currency exchange to get what is about $3-12 worth of won. Check in starts 1.5 hours before departure, boarding started 20 minutes before departure.


You will receive a receipt for the fee payment, and Japanese immigration/custom forms which you can fill out at one of the tables near the windows, but you won’t need this stuff until you arrive in Fukuoka. (By the way, leaving Fukuoka for Busan also has an exit fee, of about 1,500 yen.)

From here proceed to security to have your bags run through x-rays and you through the metal detector. It’s pretty light security. Refreshing, really. They’ll wave the wand at your belt buckle and ignore it, you keep your shoes on, no laptops need to come out, no limits on liquids.

Beyond this you get your passport stamped in a heartbeat and head to a waiting area with two gates. There is duty-free shopping here and a small snack/food vendor. I heard no English in the announcements, but the gate signage is pretty clear. If you get in the wrong line, don’t worry: they check tickets well and will send you back to your seat.


There’s free WiFi at the terminal and in some of the eateries, and places to charge your devices. Phone companies are represented on the second floor (arrivals) if you want to get a SIM card or data plan.


On board your ticket tells you what floor you are on, your seat number. If you have a big suitcase, the attendants will send you up front to store it before you head for your seat. If this is the case, I’d advise boarding first or at the end of the line. Brainiac that I am, I got on about middlin’, thus there were no proper luggage spots and my bag was first into the overflow area — making it the last bag possible when we arrived in Fukuoka. I had to wait for everyone else to leave.

Ah, that incredible Korean courtesy… hold on. Attendant number 2 with the half-hearted bow?? What is the world coming to?

The seat has a seatbelt and you’ll understand why later. Some Japanese programming is on a big screen with Korean subtitles. On board the snacks and duty-free accept Japanese yen or Korean won.


This is a hydrofoil. You don’t get to see it in action unless you happen to catch the sister ship passing in the opposite direction in the distance. But this is a boat with jet engines that start with a high-pitched whine and then the roar and then off you go, rising up out of the water on three blades like this is some kind of giant ice skate. It cruises pretty fast and those seat belts should tell you something. It’s rather maneuverable and at various times it may lean one way and then suddenly the other, like a guy on a motorcycle weaving around something at high speed. Very cool. The trip takes about 3 hours.

The harbor lighthouse at Fukuoka, Japan

At Fukuoka station you pass through immigration, and you may have your bags examined. I rarely have that done anywhere in the world, but these officials seemed busy so there may be good reason for them to be searching. I get a lot of questions every time, and they held up my bottle of ibuprofen at one point almost in a gotcha! fashion, but I just said headaches and we were done. You can change money in the terminal of course — but there is no ATM (1/2015) and if you arrive late in the day, everything in the station is closed. A row of taxis awaits at the curb, and regular buses stop here.


This sign explains which numbered buses arrive and where they go and how to use them. In Japan you take a ticket when you board the bus at the middle door. The ticket has a zone number. The screen on the bus shows the price you pay when you get off the bus based upon the zone number of your ticket and stops are displayed in Japanese and English. More complicated than it needs to be but once you know the routine it’s easy enough.

There are other ferries to other places in Japan, all departing from Busan. For example, Panstar operates a 19-hour route to Osaka. All of these can be found on AFerry (a UK company) and you get a PDF ticket to print out:


Taking the Ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

Similar to the procedure for Busan to Fukuoka, upon checking in you will also be paying a fuel charge and taxes (about ¥600 on 21 September, 2017). You can use a credit card for this. However, the city of Fukuoka charges a user fee for the waiting area (¥500) and so far reports are that this is only taken in cash/Japanese yen. So be sure to save a ¥500 coin before you get to the port!


Finding the right hotel just got a whole lot easier -

Walking from Busan Station to Busan International Ferry Terminal




Check out some other great ferry trips here on The Mad Traveler:

Greece to Turkey by Ferry
Taking the Ferry from Finland to Estonia

Kevin Revolinski

Author, travel writer/photographer, world traveler. Writes about travel, hiking, camping, paddling, and craft beer.

103 thoughts on “Taking the Ferry from Korea to Japan (Busan-Fukuoka)

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  • Thanks so much for all that! It’s surprisingly hard to find any tangible information on these ferries so your detailed post comes really in handy! Thanks again!

  • Hi!
    Wow!!! This post really helped me!
    I’ll to Japan and then go to Korea as a backpacker… I’m from Brazil.

    Thanks for your detailed post!

    • Glad I could help! The ferry is just so much more interesting than just flying, plus you get to visit Fukuoka, the best for ramen, and Busan, a great alternative to Seoul. What’s on your list of places to visit?

      • Hi Kevin!
        I’m sorry.. I did not receive a notification telling me that you answered. 🙂
        Actually, my list of places to visit in Korea is not completed. I booked the ticket yesterday and I’m planning my trip.
        Take a look:

        05-Oct = Arrival in tokyo
        06-Oct = Tokyo
        07-Oct = Tokyo (one day trip to Yokohama)
        08-Oct = Tokyo (one day trip to Hakone)
        09-Oct = Tokyo (one day trip to Nikko)
        11-Oct = Kyoto
        12-Oct = Kyoto
        13-Oct = Kyoto
        14-Oct = Kyoto (one day trip to Nara)
        15-Oct = Osaka
        16-Oct = Osaka
        17-Oct = Himeji (Himeji Castle)
        18-Oct = Hiroshima
        19-Oct = Hiroshima (one day trip to Miyajima)
        20-Oct = Fukuoka
        21-Oct = Ferry to Busan

        22-Oct = Busan
        23-Oct = Jeju
        24-Oct = Jeonju
        25-Oct = Changwon
        26-Oct = Seoul
        27-Oct = Seoul
        28-Oct = Incheon (Back to Brazil)

        Can you recommend me some interesting points in Korea?

          • No problem!
            Thanks a lot man!

        • Hi Elton,

          Came across this post as I am planning my backpacking this October. Pretty much similar to your itinerary (Japan) mentioned here, 2 weeks in Japan. Did you take a Japan Rail pass ? Would you recommend one ?

          I have read multiple blogs. Still not able to conclude on the JR Pass.

          Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Dude thank you so much for this!! Exactly what I needed. Thanks to this article I think I’ll be making this same trip in just a couple weeks.

  • Hi there, came accross this website when I google of way to ferry-ing between Busan and Fukuoka. I couldn’t find online purchase for the ferry ticket in English, so I was thinking of going for the on the spot purchase.

    Do you think it is easy to get ticket for Fukuoka when I travelled this Dec? Plan to cross Busan to Fukuoka on 27 Dec, its nearly new year and so I’m not sure if it is easy…..what’s your thoughts!


    • I wouldn’t want to guess about the availability of a ticket on that date, but it is a Thursday and two days after a holiday that is not Japanese nor nationally recognized. (The Emperor’s birthday is, however, and it is December 23.) But I would go to the English web site which turns to Japanese as soon as you try to buy a ticket. Then use a browser translation plugin or app. I have Google inside Chrome. Sometimes it automatically asks me to translate or I have to click up in the address bar the little translation symbol. The translation is a little wacky, of course, as the two languages aren’t exactly similar, but it should make it pretty clear due to the universality of online purchase. You will be asked to create a login and password. You can click on tickets and make payment, etc. I did the same myself a long while back. If that still doesn’t work for you, I’d email one of the JR offices in your country of origin and see what they could do to help. Let me know if this helps! Cheers, Kevin

      UPDATE: Several comments mentioned AFerry (see booking engine in the post above) and I’ve been going there ever since, both for this route and others. The search box up top links to them. Easier than JR’s site and we’re finding cheaper ticket prices.

      • Hi,

        Funnily, we also plan to go the same route (Busan -> Fukuoka) the same day (December 27th). It is in fact Saturday so I guess there might be issues getting the ticket on the spot.

        I tried using the both Korean ( and Japanese ( sites but in the end I bought the tickets at AFerry. They immediately mailed a pdf in Japanese which is supposedly to be exchanged for the real tickets in the port. The tickets are apparently issued for JF234 leaving Busan at 12:30. I don’t see such a route on the Beetle site but it seems to be on Kobee.

        So what is the relationship between the two ferry companies? Are they simply code sharing? And any one has any experience of buying from AFerry?

        Thank you

        • Hi Max I’m actually looking at your at this aferry website it’s a bit odd since their prices is cheaper than the ferry line from Kobee or Beetle by almost half. What was your experience using the pdf voucher?

          • Hi Grant,

            Yes, that worked.

            Here are some details.

            The ticket for 3 at AFerry (see booking engine in the post above) cost 173.22 EUR. I noticed that it was cheaper than on either Japanese or Korean site, I don’t know why. It was accepted so I don’t really care. Of course, that wasn’t the full price for the trip.

            The fuel surcharge cost 42 000 KRW for 3. I have a receipt for it as I could pay it with a CC. The other smaller charge, strangely, had no receipt so I don’t remember the exact figure but it was close to the one mentioned by Kevin. And I did pay it by cash. The remaining cash was spent quite nicely on small souvenirs in the departure hall.

            Now, a few words about Hakata Port. That was a real mess, to be honest. And I don’t mean the immigration scrutiny that you won’t even see in a typical European airport.

            First, the JR Pass has no place here either. You can’t exchange it here. That’s a major entry point with full scale immigration and customs procedures for foreigners. Still, such a crucial part of Japanese life as JR is missing there. I’m afraid it wouldn’t be valid on local buses (the only public transport available at the port) but still it’s a serious gap, in my opinion. As you can’t get the JR Pass, you can use either bus or taxi to get out of there. Or walk. That’s exactly what we did. See below.

            Second, no ATM. That’s a crime, no excuse. Of course, there is an information desk and, perhaps, even a manned currency exchange point. But what most travelers need is a simple ATM, even with a long queue. No such luck. The girl at the information desk gave some confusing instructions where to find it so we spent at least half an hour wandering nearby until we got to one of 7Eleven shops. Naturally, neither Family Mart nor Lawson (which we quickly spotted on our way) allowed foreign cards. Even more natural that without local cash we were a bit stuck. And couldn’t use any transport. Well, if you say some taxis may accept Credit Cards that’s not a convincing argument for a foreigner without good language. And without good mood. So after finally locating a 7Eleven ATM pretty far from the port (perhaps that wasn’t the closest but there was no simple way to find a better option), we thought it made sense to continue walking to the hotel.

            So leaving Korea was quite seamless. The AFerry was apparently legitimate and offering good discounts. The trip itself was a breeze. But arriving in Japan wasn’t as smooth as we hoped for. And even if Fukuoka can be seen as a nice city in general, it does have grave issue with transport offering only bus connections to important places like Hakata Port, Fukuoka Dome or Fukuoka Tower.

            Hope that helps.

  • yaera hughes

    I want find out ferry fair to osaca from busan

    We are going to travel to south korea on may.
    We live in melbourne, please send us more
    Kind regards
    Yaera hughes

    • See the ferry search box in the article and you can select those two ports in the search options and it will show you options and price and even let you buy the tickets through a reliable UK service. Osaka – Busan is an option. However, it only allows bookings 90 days out I think. So you may need to wait. But you can at least see the price and frequency. It is not daily, but that may change seasonally.

  • We planned to take ferry (Camellia line) from Busan to Hakata on May 13, will it be too late to buy the tickets at Busan ferry terminal in one day before departure ? Since it would not be able to buy online from Camellia official website, do not accept foreign country credit card.
    Besides, there is no money exchange at Fukuoka ferry terminal? base on above postings.

    • I see your point. I don’t know how quickly tickets sell out. Have you tried the ferry ticket search box here on the post. This may work with your credit card. It has worked for me and others.

  • thank you! your post is really good. And about the baggage? Have a weight limit? I saw that we can go with 2 luggages but I don´t know if it is 20 kgs total or 20 kgs per luggage.Regards

    • That weight limit for JR is per piece. But if you have a third piece, it is allowed, but they will charge. They count “knapsacks” among those items, so I’d be careful how big you go with your carry-on piece if any. 🙂

  • Excellent, thank you so much!

  • Thanks for the info dude.. i will go to korea and japan on november till december and im from Malaysia.. again thanks for the info

  • Hi
    Do we need a return ticket to enter in Japan? or proof of our way of leaving? or nothing?

    • I’ve never been asked for such a thing when entering Japan, but having a paper that appears to be one never hurts. 😉 In fact, I’ve had frequent trouble in Japan flying on to Thailand without proof of my onward flight from Thailand, oddly enough.

  • Hey,

    We sail Hakata to Busan and wanted to ask about immigration on the SK side. We are from the Uk and have visa exemption, but wanted to check that we can still enter via Busan without visa. (Some countries can be funny about entry via a port)

    • South Korea won’t be one of the funny ones. 🙂 Not a problem. (But I know what you mean!)

  • Chris


    Thanks a lot for the info, really helpful.

    I went to aferry to book tickets. Both Beetle and Kobee are 3 hours ferry but why is Beetle 30% cheaper? Do you know what’s the difference?

  • Kevin,

    Perhaps you could throw some reasonable suggestions at me.

    Arrive ICN Seoul 11/08 PM.
    Depart ICN Seoul 11/13 or 11/14 late PM (date depends on travel btwn KOR and JAP)
    Wish to take a trip to Fukuoka for a couple sumo matches likely 11/11 & 12, then return to Seoul.

    Recommendations have been to take the ferry but it looks like only offerings are 2 Kobee times (09:30 and 14:30). Is JR Beetle still in business? Website booking only for 2013 and 2014. If ferry of course then I’d also have to take a train btwn Seoul – Busan.

    Alternatively, air travel one or both ways.

    Your thoughts?

    • Hi Matt,
      The high-speed train lives up to its name for Seoul-Busan. I use the UK-based ferry booking service you see on the page here rather than JR Beetle’s site which was a mess for me the first time I used it. I tried the JR Beetle in the drop down menu here and it appears they are still running. (Can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be.) I plugged in Tuesday 11/10 and it won’t give me the 09:30 but the 14:15 works. The train takes about 3 hours and a non-stop one 2 hrs and 18 min to Busan. Got a post for the train here: Worth checking the flights but the r/t ferry and train tickets are likely less than most cheap flights. Plus the journey is more memorable and still leaves plenty of time for sumo and the best ramen ever. 🙂

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  • Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for the super informative post. I’ll be taking this route in December and was wondering about your experience, was it a pretty smooth ride? Given your description of how the hydrofoil works I’m just slightly concerned about the possibility of motion sickness (more for my Mom, who’ll be traveling with me).

    Appreciate your thoughts on smoothness of the ride!

    • I thought it was great. It does tilt/bank a bit when making a course adjustment, but smoothly, like taking a turn on a motorbike. I have not been out there in December, so I don’t know what winter offers in terms of sea conditions. But it was definitely not your typical boat ride of up and down. Be safe and give her ginger tablets or even Dramamine doesn’t hurt. Sit aft and center and watch the horizon line. The usual measures. 🙂

  • Hi, thanks for your informative post, but I fear that some things have changed (Nov 2015).

    The ferry terminal is not on Pier 1 anymore (contrary to what google and the Busan Port website currently says), but on Pier 4, north/east from Busan station.
    The parking lots do not look finished at the time of writing, and google satelite view does not show some of the access roads.
    GPS: 35.1171609, 129.0488441

    Departure are on 3F in this one, and there is Free Public Wifi access, at least in the waiting/ duty free area (did not check elsewhere).

    Fuel fee for a KOBEE to Fukuoka was 7300 wons for 1 with a 9:30AM regular fare ticket booked on the JR Beetle website a month before.

    Security was a breeze, and boarding started 20min before departure, which means that even though I had to walk from the old terminal 1h before departure >_> I still managed to be there on time easily.

    • Peter John Aquino

      Hi. thanks for this recent update. If I may ask can you outline the exact expenses in terms of ferry, tax and fuel charge. i read a lot of figures and now I am a little confused. Thanks a lot. 🙂

      • Hm, well, the ticket and tax vary according to the ferry company and their current price. The fuel tax also varies with fuel prices, and you pay it in cash on site. The ticket you can buy online, as indicated above.

  • I am living in south korea but I don’t have visa even can I travel to Japan with Busan ferry

    • If you need a visa to travel to Japan by air, then you will also need one to take the ferry.

  • The article has been extremely useful in planning my journey from Seoul to Hakata. However, even taking into account the different travel dates and variations in fuel prices, there is an enormous variation in the amounts cited for the fuel tax: Won 7,300; 22,300;14,000; 7,300. Can you or someone else give a more precise figure?

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  • Hi Kevin. Thanks for this information, it’s really such a great help, Japan’s pretty expensive. =)
    *On your trip back to Busan, is it possible to just purchase the ticket at the terminal? Or do you need both tickets pre-purchased online?

    Thanks much. Godbless

    • Hi Char, I didn’t try but I should think so. I mean, it makes sense as it is a ferry terminal and the companies usually sell tickets at the ports. We’ve found the website here to often show cheaper prices, but if you can’t commit to a date, I don’t think that’s a problem. I am returning to the route next month, so I will check. 🙂

      • Hello Kevin. Yeah, I’m just wondering about whether I would make it on time going back or if things happen you know.
        Have you tried going to Tokyo from Fukuoka?
        Thanks a bunch! =)

        • Understood. 🙂 I have never tried Tokyo to Fukuoka by ferry, no. That’s a loooong journey, over 35 hours? I usually have a rail pass when I am in Japan anyway, so the train gets me between the two.

          • That’s great. Thanks again for the awesome blog, really helpful =). Cheers!

  • Hi Kevin,
    Your blog is very helpful, we’re wanting to travel from Kyoto to Busan in September 2016 and thought maybe the ferry would be a great alternative to fly and good excuse to see more of the country, can you advise if there is any ferry closer to Kyoto? Or what would you suggest be the best option for us? I.e. Fast train from Kyoto to Fukuoka (is there one?) then the 3hr ferry over to Busan? Or, should we just get the 1hr fast train to Osaka and fly to Busan?
    Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
    Thankyou so much, Laura

    • Depends on how much time you have and if money is a concern. Will you have a JR Rail Pass? The ferry is about 60 Euro per person (double check on the search box on this page). Add to that Fukuoka and its famous Hakata ramen. And if you are on the train from Kyoto to Fukuoka, it passes through Hiroshima. Kyoto to Osaka is very short, maybe 20 min, but then if you are going to the airport yes, you could expect an hour total. Flights one-way from Osaka to Busan? Not sure if there are direct ones, but I always use Cheapoair and if you find a reasonable one, the code LASTMIN10 gets you $10 off – they are my affiliate. I suspect plane will cost more and less interesting, however, if you have to pay for high-speed rail (if you don’t have the JR Pass) then the cost can go up considerably. Rail is surprisingly expensive. I got a rail pass for next month for a bit cheaper with STA Travel, but I am not sure that price is still available I will be taking the ferry myself March 31 from Busan to Fukuoka. Time to update post photos here for the new ferry terminal in Busan!

  • Hi – sorry if this has been asked elsewhere – I couldn’t see it.

    How long would it take to get from Busan Ferry Terminal to the Train station that the KTX from Busan to Seoul leaves from? And is a taxi the best way to get there?


    • I am about to return there this month to get photos of the new ferry terminal. From what I can see from Google Maps and satellite imagery, it is about a 2 block WALK from Busan Station to the new Busan International Ferry Terminal. (You can, however, still see the OLD dotted line to the sort of star-shaped looking old ferry terminal just south of there). I will be taking this trip again on March 31, so photos will follow!

      • Hi, sorry if it’s already been mentioned but I thought I’d let you know that you can access the new terminal from Choryang station exit 6. It’s the closest subway station (closer than Busan Station I think) and clearly signposted when you get out!

  • peter christensen

    Does this ferry take motorcycles or is cars?

  • Hello kevin, thank you for this article, very helpful.

    I bought a round trip Kobee ferry ticket (Busan-Hitakatsu) on AFerry, and directly received a confirmation of reservation Email but it’s written that I will receive another Email for real confirmation (apparently they need to check the disponibility) with a Kobee reference number, my trip is in 2 weeks, does it happened to you, if so, do you received the true confirmation email fastly ?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Fred, yes, in fact it just happened to me last month. Within about 24 hours I received a second email from them. In fact, my chosen ferry was full this time. So they had gone ahead and found different options for me the day before and the day after. They allowed me to put one of them on hold for a few days while I confirmed that my trip changes would be possible. Foolish me, I waited too long and my new reservation was automatically canceled at the due date. I panicked, and sent an email to them, and by the morning they had reinstated my reservation as I requested. So I found them very responsive with customer emails and you can also call them during UK business hours using Skype or something.

  • Hi Kevin
    Am taking the Busan to Hakata ferry overnight tomorrow, Friday 8th, and have heard that onboard outlets will only accept Japanese Yen in cash. Do you know if this is correct?

    • Oh man, I didn’t even think to check. That’s certainly a possibility. Truth is, I counted on anything on board being low-quality and or overpriced, so I just stocked up on whatever I thought I would need for the three-hour journey at the convenience stores in the terminal in Busan. I even went through security with a water bottle hanging out of my bag. it’s not that kind of security. but if you would be so kind as to ask that question I’m bored and let me know the answer afterward, I’d be happy to add that information for the next person. by the way, this isn’t the type of boat where you get up and walk around a lot. There are seatbelts and it feels a bit almost like a plane.

  • I will certainly let you know if that is the case. If we were going on the jetfoil, I wouldn’t be bothered but as we are on the overnight ferry for some 12 hours then I feel it’s important to know beforehand!

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  • Hi Kevin,

    Your blog has been of great help for my upcoming trip to Korea.
    I was thinking about taking a ferry from Busan to Fukuoka and since there’s a new ferry terminal, which ferry terminal would be better to travel to Fukuoka (less confusing)? And is booking 1 week before suffice or should i book earlier?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Denise,
      The new terminal is the one you need to go to. I didn’t put up photos yet, but it is really nice and everything is clearly marked. It is short walk from Busan Train Station. I’d recommend booking as early as you can. I waited and was told the ferry was full that day, all three departure times. The company linked from this post, AFerry, was quite helpful and responsive in helping me pick another day and hold it while I made a decision. The ferry I ended up on, a day earlier, wasn’t quite full, so who knows, maybe my original date filled up by coincidence. As the season picks up, I think it becomes more important to make sure you have a seat. Good luck and safe travels! Kevin

  • Hello kevin,

    Is there any provision to transport my car in the ferry …i heard the camellia line does that…do you know about camellia line and how it works

    • Hi, I am sorry to say I am not sure. I know that is a slower overnight ferry, and it appears to take vehicles, but when I try to book online it tells me there are no vehicles allowed. On another website I see information pertaining to COMMERCIAL vehicles and freight. It might be that typical passenger cars don’t ride that route? I am sorry I don’t know with certainty!

  • Thank you so much for this very informative post! I checked it before and after you updated it, and especially appreciate the detailed update. I’m so excited to try this route in late June.

    I booked my ticket through the JR Beetle website (using Banana Backpacker’s guide to ordering through the Japanese website, and Chrome’s translator). It looks like it worked, I received an email with my confirmation number all in Japanese – so I have faith. I even got a cheaper fare, something about ‘B-class’, for 8,900 yen per person instead of the standard 13,000 yen. Do you happen to know what that means?

    • Gees, I don’t know, but I’d run it through a translator to make sure you didn’t get a 65-year old fare or something. (sorry for the late reply, no notification from WordPress!)

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  • Hi Kevin, Really helpful post thanks. I wonder if you could tell me any differences between the Kobe and Beetle service? I’m looking at booking Busan-Fukoka for the end of this month and it seems the Kobe is half an hour longer but 75% the price of the Beetle. Which did you get? Would you recommend one over the other? Thanks!

    • They are Korean and Japanese companies, but from my understanding they are sharing the boats sort of like code sharing with airlines. For me, I book them the same either way. Take the better price. I doubt the time difference is significant.

  • What about transit vida from korea to japan?

    • Not sure what you mean by transit visa, which is what one uses to land and depart in a country without staying. But the normal visa rules for entry apply to each country in the case of the ferry. These depend on the country of your passport, of course.

  • How long did disembarking take from Fukuoka to Busan? I have a train ride that starts one hour after the arrival time in Fukuoka. Were you able to get off the boat and get to Busan Station within one hour?

    • It didn’t take long at all, actually. Much depends on where you are on the ferry or where your suitcase may be buried behind others’ suitcases in overflow area. (That happened to me so I was the last one off the boat!) Immigration shouldn’t take too long although you never know for sure and you might be stopped for some questions. Then the train station is maybe a fifteen minute walk from Busan ferry terminal. I’d say it’s likely you can make it, especially if you make moves to be fast — sit near the door, have the luggage stored close and in front, walk fast, etc. What happens if you miss the train? Take the next train an hour later? Or lose a ticket?

      • little fly

        Thanks for the detailed response, Kevin! I don’t think I’ll make it within one hour, so I have reserved another ticket four hours later. I reserved my ticket on korail, so if I didn’t make it within an hour, I could have a certain percentage of it refunded depending on the time.

  • Hi,
    I really appreciate you taking the time to write this blog.
    I am currently looking into the ferries from Fukuoka to Busan and all ferrie companies are sold out during Chuseok (not a big surprise there). What is surprising however is the amount of tickets still available on Aferry & at much lower prices than the ferry sites.

    I suspect that the website is not uptodate at Aferry. What is your experience? Have you booked tickets at Aferry when they were sold out at the ferry websites and still got a real ticket?

    They do get some bad reviews too, so I am a bit vary…
    Thank you

    • Sorry for such a late reply! Not getting comment notifications. About Aferry… you are right, they sometimes are not up to date on sold out ferries. I had this happen to me, but they notified me in about 24 hours. I could either take a refund or accept an alternative that they had held for me (which I thought was a nice try to help). I ended up going back and forth with email to settle on another available date. So it all worked out ok. And then when I boarded that ferry, it was not sold out. Made me wonder if the others that were “sold out” were really sold out. I think Aferry has its promised number of tickets. I’d try to buy and then they’d have to either give me a ticket or refund me. Worth a try I think.

  • Jerry Busbre

    Is there free WiFi aboard the ferry?

  • I can’t recommend the JR Beetle over flying. Flying between Fukuoka and Busan is pretty cheap (sometimes cheaper) and in Fukuoka, it’s much easier to get to the airport than the seaport. I took the ferry once during Chuseok from Fukuoka to Busan and back b/c all the flights were sold out. I was pretty excited b/c I’d never been on a hydrofoil before but it was nothing special and I will definitely never do it again unless plane tickets are sold out or super expensive. Jeju Air has had sub $100 round trip tickets lately on certain dates, Korean Air is generally under $150, and Air Busan has been ~$170 (those prices are averages and fluctuate with holidays, fuel prices, and origin city). However, in the summer of 2013 I remember there were summer promotions during the weekdays when you could go from Busan to Fukuoka and back on the JR Beetle for ~$55, it was a amazing deal but I don’t know if they run that promotion still.

    • Always worth comparing but I also find airports and check-in are often more time-consuming than just hopping on the ferry. The city bus in Fukuoka is pretty easy and arrives/picks up right in front of the sea terminal. I am usually traveling one way and so far the ferry comes in cheaper every time, and Fukuoka gets added to my itinerary — whereas if I flew to Tokyo and started my business there, I’d not have time enough with my itinerary to hit Fukuoka and Hiroshima with my 7-day rail pass. But that’s just me and my particular trip limitations and goals. Always worth comparing costs and routes!

      • Great point on the 7-day JR pass limitation– totally get you. Thanks!

  • Pierrette

    I am at a loss as to how to purchase a ticket for the 3 hr trek from Busan to Fukuoka. I am from Canada so the websites I am viewing are not clear as to how to proceed. I am leaving on a Sept 30/Friday. I was told that there should be availability on the ferries but I really need to get to Fukuoka on that day and can’t afford to spend another night in Busan. Do yo have any recommendations??

    • Did you try the AFerry link here on this page? (see the search box in the post) That’s what I use and haven’t had any problems. I agree that there likely is availability on the ferries, but I never leave that one to chance and always book the ticket ahead of time.

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  • Just wanted to thank you for the excellent description and instructions which removed any anxiety from the crossing (Busan to Fukuoka). We waited too long to try and book via your linked suggestion, had zero luck with Korean Travel Agents in Seoul and attempted to use the Beetle web page but were unable to book without a local credit card. So instead of being able to grab a 80,000 KRW internet ticket we ended up spending 115,000 KRW each via a phone reservation which was the only frustration.

    Finally regarding the ATM’s in Fukuoka or for that matter all of Japan there are only two places that I have had success with a US debit card; 7-11 and the post office so plan ahead and bring enough money for the bus.

  • Hi Kevin

    Thank you for the blog, really helpful. Planning a cycling trip from Seoul to Busan, thereafter take a ferry over to Fukuoka and continue to explore Japan by bicycle. I am wondering whether I can just roll in the full bike without packing it. Any extra costs incurred for the bike?


    • Sounds like a great trip! I really can’t say for certain on either count. I suspect no charge and probably they’d allow the full bike, but you should contact the company directly. The bike would fit where the overflow luggage goes but that fills up fast sometimes and you’d definitely want to be there first in line before that happens. But I can only speculate. Contact the ferry company you choose

  • Hi Kevin,

    Thank you for the blog, really helpful. My question is not related to ferry, as your blog is clear enough.
    I have questions on Japan Rail Pass. Would you recommend it ?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Absolutely! If you are moving about even a little bit, it is worth it. Check the prices of individual tickets vs. the pass. But every year I go to Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo. I’ve never found a cheaper way to do it. I haven’t looked at super local trains but that would take forever. Here you have access to bullet trains, ease of hopping on and off, and benefits in each city by also being able to use JR trains inside the cities as well. It adds up and I just wave the pass and walk through the turnstiles. It covers a few local ferries and buses too. I used it for Miyajima, an island near Hiroshima. I’ve been using this JR Affiliate from Switzerland – no handling fees and free delivery worldwide. (I have since signed them up for my website as an affiliate, if you do buy one, please consider using my link here as it helps fund this site but does not affect your price 🙂 )

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  • Agnes Marie

    Thanks for a great post. I just have one question, when you sail Fukuoka to Busan, do you have to pay the fuel charge and taxes in cash or is it possible to pay with credit card?

    • Hi Agnes, I actually don’t have the answer to that! Maybe a reader can chime in here? If you do it yourself, please let us know what you find. I won’t be back there for months and typically I am coming from Busan to Fukuoka.

      • Agnes Marie

        You can pay for fuel charge and taxes with a credit card (was ¥600 on 21 September 2017), but the ticket for the waiting area (¥500) seemed to be cash only.
        I took the JR Beetle.

  • Hida Rzahafi

    Hi kevin.. I just want to know, i want go to hitaksu japan from busan.. But i don’t have any paypal or bank to purchase online, can i buy the tickets at ferry terminal? Its that have counter ticket available there?

    • You can also use a credit card, if you have one. But yes, there is a ticket counter. It may be slightly more expensive than online, and the only risk is when a departure time sells out. However, I’ve seen the tickets sell out online after I bought one, and when I arrived the ferry was not full.

  • Gean Borja

    Just checking. I’m planning on a very ambitious trip from Manila, Philippines to Japan (Manila>Shenzhen>Shanghai>Busan>Fukuoka) only by sea in July 2018 (next year). Are we sure that this service is still on? Makes me freak out when I read news about some ferry service getting discontinued. I have a severe fear of flight that’s why I can only travel by sea. I’m doing this for the first time. If you’re from the Philippines you’d know how rare cruise ships (affordable ones) visit the Philippines. There are no ferries at all. So I’m relying on all these stories by fellow travelers. Thanks for this awesome guide!

    • The ferry between Busan and Fukuoka is definitely still on. Are you taking a ferry from Manila to Shenzhen?? Interesting!

    • The ferry between Busan and Fukuoka is definitely still on. Are you saying you are taking a ferry from Manila to Shenzhen??

  • Stacey Julia

    This is by far the most helpful explanation for figuring out the ferries. Thanks so much for the information!

  • Hi Kevin, thanks for this. The one thing I can’t seem of find anywhere is details of the rules re; check in times. Is it a case of rock up and hop on, or is it like in the UK where you have to get there an hour before or they won’t let you on? I’m leaving it a bit tight and should arrive at the ferry terminal around 35 mins before the ferry leaves, in both directions…

    • I really don’t see that that is a problem. You do have to go through security but it is nothing like the airports, and if you have your ticket booked ahead of time, I wouldn’t worry.

  • Came across this while planning a Korea-Japan trip. The information is really handy for someone like me without a sense of direction.

    Thanks so much. Hopefully the info are still applicable in 2020 🙂


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