On a Budget

Overnight ferries in Japan (under ¥5000)

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Japan’s overnight ferries are great ally for budget travel, as it allows you to travel long distances at a low fare and save on lodging costs. Spacious cabins, full onboard facilities and services and refreshing morning awaits you. Check out the cheapest class (2nd class or economy class) of the normal season for ¥5000 or less domestic overnight ferry.

Points to Note

Most ferry terminals are located away from the city center or train stations. You should allow yourself plenty of time

Fares, including peak seasons, off-seasons, and fuel oil price fluctuation adjustment fee, may vary. Check the official website of each ferry company for the latest fares.

Reservations are required for long-distance ferries.

Some ferries do not operate on Sundays. Check the operating date in advance.

The ferry may be canceled in bad weather.

Aomori – Hakodate

A shipping route between Aomori on Honshu and Hakodate on Hokkaido. It boasts low fares and good scenery.

Operating companies: Seikan Ferry↗️, Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry↗️

Reservation: Possible but not required.

Fares: Seikan Ferry: ¥2100 (20% discount for students); Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry: standard ¥2660 (10% discount for students); *Round-trip discount available

Departure date: Daily (some ferries are suspended during the year-end and New Year holidays)


☆ Aomori 2:00 → Hakodate 5:50 (Seikan Ferry)

☆ Hakodate 0:30 → Aomori 4:10 (Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry)

☆ Hakodate 2:00 → Aomori 5:50 (Seikan Ferry)

Ferry terminals:

⚓️ Aomori Port: 2.5km from Aomori Station west gate (35 minutes on foot / 10 minutes by taxi)

⚓️ Hakodate Port: Seikan Ferry = 1.8km from Goryokaku Station (25 minutes on foot); Tsugaru Kaikyo Ferry = 1.5km from Nanaehama Station (20 minutes on foot)

Niigata – Akita

An overnight ferry from Niigata to Akita on the way to Tomakomai on Hokkaido.

Operating company: Snin-Nihonkai Ferry↗️

Reservation: Required.

Fare: Tourist J = ¥4900 (A period) *+¥400 during high-seasons; +¥1700-¥2000 during busiest seasons

Departure date: Monday – Saturday

Schedule: Niigata Port 22:30 → Akita Port 5:05

Ferry terminals:

⚓️ Niigata Port: From Niigata Station, take the Niigata Kotsu Bus E20 bound for Matsuhama (松浜) departing at 21:12 on weekdays (at 21:07 on Saturday, Sunday and holidays) and get off at Suehiro-bashi (末広橋: journey time 18 minutes), then 10 minutes on foot.

⚓️ Akita Port: 1.7km from Tsuchizaki Station from the port (20 minutes walk). Otherwise, take the Akita Chuo Kotsu Bus bound for Akita Station departing at 6:20 (journey time 30 minutes; fare ¥450).

Kobe – Takamatsu (Shikoku)

Overnight ferries run between Kobe (Sannomiya Port) and Takamatsu (Higashi Port). It is very popular, and there are many days when it is full during the busy season.

Operating company: Jumbo Ferry↗️

Reservation: Not required. However, reservations are required during busy season (especially on weekends).

Fare: ¥2490 on weekdays; ¥2990 on weekends and holidays; *Round-trip discount available (10% discount for junior high school students and under 25 years old)

Departure date: Daily.


☆ Kobe (Sannomiya Port) 1:00 → Takamatsu (Higashi Port) 5:15

☆ Takamatsu (Higashi Port) 1:00 → Kobe (Sannomiya Port) 5:15

Ferry terminals:

⚓️ Kobe Sannomiya Port: 1.7km from Sannomiya Station (25 minutes on foot / 10 minutes by shuttle bus – departing at 0:30 from the east gate); The shuttle bus from Sannomiya Port to Sannomiya Station departs after the ferry arrives.

⚓️ Takamatsu Higashi Port: 10 minutes by shuttle bus from Takamatsu Station (departing at 23:30, 0:30); The shuttle bus from Takamatsu Higashi Port to Takamatsu Station departs after the ferry arrives.

Yawatahama (Shikoku) – Beppu (Kyushu)

Overnight ferries run between Yawatahama (in Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku) and Beppu (Oita Prefecture, Kyushu). After arriving on the overnight ferry, you can rest on board until 5:30.

Operating company: Uwajima Unyu↗️

Reservation: Not required.

Fare: ¥4300 *Round-trip discount available

Departure date: Daily.

Schedules: After arriving on the overnight ferry, you can rest on board until 5:30.

☆ Yawatahama 0:20 → Beppu 3:10

☆ Beppu 23:50 → Yawatahama 2:35

Ferry terminals:

⚓️ Yawatahama Port: 2km from Yawatahama Station (25 minutes on foot).

⚓️ Beppu Port: 1.8km from Beppu-daigaku Station (25 minuets on foot); 2.5km from Beppu Station (30 minutes on foot / 10 minutes by taxi).

Kagoshima – Yakushima Island

The overnight ferry “Hibiscus” runs from Kagoshima (in Kyushu) to Yakushima Island, the World Natural Heritage Site.

Operating company: Kasho Kaiun↗️

Reservation: Not required.

Fare: ¥3800 (student ¥3160) *Round-trip discount available

Departure date: Monday – Saturday

Schedule: Kagoshima (Taniyama Port) 18:00 → Yakushima (Miyanoura Port) 7:00 *Return trip is a daytime.

Ferry terminals:

⚓️ Kagoshima Taniyama Port: From Kagoshima-chuo Station, take Kagoshima Kotsu Bus 5 (departing at 15:48) and get off at Taniyama-ko Port (谷山港: arrival at 16:34).

⚓️ Yakushima Miyanoura Port: 300m from the tourist information center.