Domestic Travel by Ferry

Welcome to the islands of Japan. Some of them are connected by bridges, but a lot of them are off on their own. Japan's four main islands and its countless smaller islands aren't always the easiest places to reach, but one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to get around is by ferry boat. Both high-speed and cruise ferries can get you to lost of convenient and popular destinations on Kyushu and the main island. If you live on one of the smaller islands surrounding Matsuyama and Imabari, you are probably quite informed of your local ferry schedule and accustomed to getting your sea legs. Ferries aren't as fast as trains, but they can be lots cheaper and get you where you need to go while letting you relax.

The easiest way to purchase ferry tickets is to go to your local travel agency. Some ferry companies offer online booking, but it is in Japanese-only. Another option is to purchase the tickets on the spot at the port, but this may be a risky venture if it is a crowded three-day weekend.

The most basic fare for overnight ferries offer fold-out mattresses and blankets in dormitory style lodging. Look for the 2等 kanji. More expensive bunk beds and private rooms can also be reserved but these fill up fast. Overnight ferries also feature cafeterias and public bath.

Please note: The timetables and fares below are accurate only as of June 2014. We strongly recommend you visit the ferry companies' actual websites or your travel agent for the most up-to-date timetables and fare prices.


From Matsuyama

Long-distance ferries depart from Matsuyama Sightseeing Port (Matsuyama Kankoukou - 松山観光港) in Takahama. Please be aware that this is a different port from Mitsuhama Port. The Sightseeing port can be reached by train (which departs every 15 minutes from Shieki) or by bus and costs 550 yen. The train from Shieki stops at Takahama station from which a bus will take you the rest of the way (about 5 mins). Trains and buses stop running at 9:00pm so if you find yourself arriving after this time you will have to take a taxi back to the station. A taxi from the port to Matsuyama JR is about 4,000 yen.


Matsuyama Kokura Ferry (to Kokura, Kyushu)

http://www.matsuyama-kokuraferry.co.jp/

  • Runs overnight from Matsuyama to Kokura and Kokura to Matsuyama.
  • Leaves at 21:55 and arrives at 05:00.
  • See the port maps here.
  • Send a booking request online (not usually necessary unless it's a national holiday weekend).

There are different fares (see the rooms here). Prices are per passenger:

  • Private A: 17,270 yen, double bed private
  • Private B: 12,950 yen, (4) bunk bed private
  • First class: 10,580 yen, (6) bunk bed private
  • Second class D: 8,630 yen, (8) bunk bed shared (male and female separate)
  • Second class: 6,260 yen, public decks

Matsuyama-Kure-Hiroshima ferries

Timetables

There are two types of ship:

  • Cruise Ferry // 3,500 yen one way || 2.5 hours to Hiroshima (foot passengers and vehicles)
  • Super Jet Ferry // 6,900 yen one way || 1 hour to Hiroshima (foot passengers only)

From Yawatahama

You can reach Yawatahama Port by taxi from Yawatahama JR station. It only costs about 1000 yen and takes about 5-10 minutes depending on traffic. If you are up for it, you can also walk there. The port is about a half-hour walk.


Orange Ferry (to Oita)

http://www.orange-ferry.co.jp/

Usuki Bound // 2,980 yen for a basic mattress in a dorm-style room (2等寝台)

Yawatahama Depart

Usuki Arrive

Usuki Depart

Yawatahama Arrive

1:15

3:40

4:45

7:05

2:50

5:15

7:45

10:00

8:40

11:05

11:35

13:55

12:45

15:10

15:40

18:00

14:35

17:00

17:30

19:50

18:45

21:10

22:20

0:40

21:00

23:25

23:55

02:15


Uwajima Unyu (to Oita)

http://www.uwajimaunyu.co.jp/

Usuki Bound // 2,310 yen (2等)

Yawatahama Depart

Usuki Arrive

Usuki Depart

Yawatahama Arrive

5:50

8:15

0:55

3:15

9:40

12:05

2:40

5:00

11:45

14:10

8:50

11:10

15:35

18:00

12:40

15:00

17:40

20:05

14:40

17:00

22:00

00:25

18:30

20:45

23:50

2:15

20:40

23:00


Beppu Bound // 3,100 yen (2等)

Yawatahama Depart

Beppu Arrive

Beppu Depart

Yawatahama Arrive

0:20

3:10

5:35

8:25

6:20

9:10

9:45

12:30

10:15

13:05

14:00

16:45

13:00

15:50

16:45

19:30

17:25

20:15

20:50

23:35

20:30

23:20

23:50

2:35


From Niihama & Toyo

Toyo Port is located on Route 196 between Komatsu and Toyo. It can be reached by taxi from Nyugawa JR station. The taxi costs around 2,000 yen. You can also get there by bus from Matsuyama JR Station. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes and it costs 1200 yen by port limousine bus. The bus leaves Matsuyama JR Station at 20:40 and arrives at Toyo Port at 22:10. The returning limousine leaves Toyo Port at 06:20 and arrives at Matsuyama JR at 07:50.

Niihama Port is located near Takihama station. There is no express train to this station however, so an alternative is to hail a cab from Niihama JR Station. It costs about 2,000 yen. From Niihama Port, you can get a cab by picking up the taxi telephone in front of the ticket window. It automatically dials a taxi company, just tell them your name and where you are.


Orange Ferry (to Kansai)

http://www.orange-ferry.co.jp/

Toyo-Osaka // 6,500 yen for a basic mattress in a dorm-style room (2等寝台)

Toyo Depart

Osaka Arrive

Osaka Depart

Toyo Arrive

22:30

06:10

22:00

06:00


Niihama-Kobe // 6,500 yen for a basic mattress in a dorm-style room (2等寝台)

Niihama Depart

Kobe Arrive

Kobe Depart

Niihama Arrive

16:30

23:50

01:10

08:10