Fukuoka to busan ferry

How to Take the Ferry from Fukuoka to Busan – Japan to Korea

At the end of our recent trip to Japan, we headed off to South Korea, and for us that meant maximizing the use of JR Pass and screeching into Fukuoka late on the last night of our pass validity, and then hopping on a ferry to Busan, South Korea.  We took the ferry in the opposite direction years ago and now it was our turn to head west.  Here’s our guide on taking the ferry from Japan to Korea.  This is the Fukuoka to Busan ferry guide.

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Book the JR Queen Beetle Ferry Here

This is the fastest ferry from Fukuoka to Busan. It takes just 3 hours and 40 minutes. Runs once a day. Book your tickets here. Note that this price includes both the PORT tax of 500 JPY and the International Tourist Tax of 1,000 JPY as well as the Fuel Surcharges. There is no extra fee to pay at the terminal.

Of course, taking a ferry isn’t necessarily the quickest way to go from Japan to Korea, if you’re not specifically in the Fukuoka area, a flight might be a lot quicker and easier.  But for us, there’s something about taking trains and ferries.  And there are always lines at airports, and that really sucks.  And trains and ferries here in Japan are extremely civilized and comfortable too!

The ferries between Japan and Korea were closed for nearly three years, and so it was a delight on our recent trip to Japan and Korea to be able to take them again. The JR Queen Beetle ferry resumed service in the spring of 2023 and we were delighted to travel on it.  You can read about how to go from Korea to Japan in our guide on that here. That guide covers ferries that also go from Busan to Shimonoseki with the Kampu Ferry.

Taking the Ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

As we covered in our guide on going in the opposite direction, there are various ferries that do the route between Japan and Korea. In this guide to taking the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan I’ll focus on the fast ferry, the JR Queen Beetle, but I’ll also cover the other ferry companies that do this route.

We arrived in Fukuoka from Kyoto and our guide to the different options for taking this trip, whether you’ve got a JR Pass or not are here.

Fukuoka to Busan Ferry Times

We’ve seen the gradual re-opening up of the ferries between Japan and Korea – there used to be four companies running this route and currently, there are just two that you can book.  One of the companies now just runs cruises from Osaka to Korea, but they don’t stop, they just go overnight and come back. 

So if you want to take a one-way trip and actually land in Korea you’ll need either the JR Queen Beetle or the Camelia Line ferries.

  • JR Queen Beetle:  Leaves Fukuoka at 09:00 every day – takes 3 hours and 40 minutes
  • Camelia Line:  Leaves Fukuoka (Hakata) at 12:30 – takes 6 hours.  Book this ferry here.

The Camelia Line ferries take all afternoon and are cheaper than the JR Queen Beetle, but earlier in 2023 they were only traveling 3 times a week and this didn’t fit with our plans.   Now they’re traveling 5 or 6 times a week.  At 12:30 each day.  You can check the dates, times and prices of the Camelia Line ferry from Fukuoka to Busan here.

The JR Queen Beetle travels every day and only takes 3 hours and 40 minutes.  Perfect.

How to Buy a Ticket for the Fukuoka to Busan Ferry

You can either buy a ticket for the JR Queen Beetle online or in person at the ferry terminal. Fukuoka’s Queen Beetle Terminal is about 2.8 kilometers (1.74 miles) from the Hakata Train station.  It takes about 37 minutes to walk.  We know we did this.

The easiest way to confirm your ticket is to buy the JR Queen Beetle ticket online.  You have several options on where to buy.

  1. Buy tickets for the Fukuoka to Busan Ferry from Klook. – Note that this price includes both the PORT tax of 500 JPY and the International Tourist Tax of 1,000 JPY as well as the Fuel Surcharges. There is no extra fee to pay at the terminal.
  2. Buy tickets for the JR Queen Beetle from Japan to Korea with Direct Ferries.– Note that this price includes both the PORT tax of 500 JPY and the International Tourist Tax of 1,000 JPY as well as the Fuel Surcharges. There is no extra fee to pay at the terminal.
  3. Buy tickets for the JR Queen Beetle with JR Beetle here.

If you want tickets for the Camelia Line ferry from Fukuoka to Busan then you can buy them here. -Note that this price includes both the PORT tax of 500 JPY and the International Tourist Tax of 1,000 JPY as well as the Fuel Surcharges. There is no extra fee to pay at the terminal.

Where is the cheapest place to buy tickets for the Japan to Korea Ferry?

Ticket prices for these ferries depend on the season and availability as well as offers that their partner companies have.  I’d ALWAYS check with Klook and Direct Ferries for the best deal for the JR Beetle as they often have cheaper prices than booking directly.

For the Camelia Line Ferry, then head to 12goAsia for the best deals – Note that this price includes both the PORT tax of 500 JPY and the International Tourist Tax of 1,000 JPY as well as the Fuel Surcharges. There is no extra fee to pay at the terminal.

How to get to Fukuoka

If you’ve got a JR Pass then getting to Fukuoka is easy.  Simply take the train to Hakata.  We arrived in Hakata from Kyoto by way of Shin Kobe.  We’d just had 3 days in Kyoto (our second time) and were attending the Miyako Odori  Presentation and Tea ceremony (it’s marvelous and I absolutely recommend it as one of those totally unique things to do in Japan).

Our JR Pass (read about it here) covered us for the whole of our month-long trip on the main islands in Japan (we’d also had several weeks in Okinawa and the Amami Islands too) and we used it on that final day to get us from Kyoto to Shin Kobe to Hataka.  If you don’t have a JR Pass, then you can check out options for getting to Hakata Fukuoka here.

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Important Immigration Notes on Entering Korea – the K-ETA

You must check the current immigration requirements for entering Korea before booking a ticket from Fukuoka to Busan.  Many passengers will require a K-ETA and you should apply for this at least 72 hours before your departure.  The K-ETA is Korea’s visa-free entry approval form.

When we traveled in 2023, Korea was exempting the requirement for a K-ETA from 1st April 2023 until 31 December 2024.  This applies to the citizens and residents of 22 countries.  Please Confirm that this is still the case on the official K-ETA website here.

However, the JR Beetle website is STILL insisting that you apply for K-ETA.  You can just ignore this, and follow the directions on the official K-ETA website.  If you’re not from one of the 22 countries that are allowed the exemption then you need to apply for a K-ETA, which costs 10,000KRW and is non-refundable, even if you are denied entry.

Taking the Queen Beetle from Fukuoka to Busan

The Queen Beetle leaves Fukuoka at 09:00 every day.  You will need to allow plenty of time to get to the terminal and go through the procedures involved.  We arrived at the port of Fukuoka, at the terminal building for the Queen Beetle.  (I’ve marked it on the map) at 07:50 for a 09:00 departure.  This was plenty of time.

JR Queen Beetle

Where does the JR beetle leave from?

The JR Beetle Leaves from the Hakata Port International Terminal.  This is different from the domestic terminals.  The International passenger terminal can be reached by taking the bus from Hakata station, or walking (we walked it in 37 minutes).  You’ll need bus number 88, which leaves from bus stand F, out of the west exit.

Hakata Port International Terminal

JR Queen Beetle Fukuoka to Busan Review

The JR Queen Beetle is the fast hydrofoil ferry that goes from Fukuoka to Busan (and back). The JR Beetle is a jet ferry run by the Japanese Rail company and it is the one ferry that runs from Fukuoka to Busan each day. And it then returns to Japan the same day.

The JR Beetle from Japan to Korea takes 3 hours and 40 minutes to go from Fukuoka to Busan. And it’s a comfortable easy trip.

The JR Beetle leaves from the ferry port at Fukuoka, on the west coast of Kyushu Island.  It arrives in the main port of Busan in South Korea. Our guide of what to do in Busan is here.

The Queen Beetle is an Australian-built 83-meter (272 feet) trimaran with a capacity of 502 passengers.  The Queen Beetle has an operational speed of 37 knots.  You have got to look at her, she’s beautiful, in a sleek, fast, and very red sort of a way.  She’s also very comfortable. 

Buying Tickets for the JR Queen Beetle from Fukuoka to Busan

It’s easiest to buy these tickets online.  Note that prices may fluctuate depending on the holiday season.  You can also opt for a business class seat or a regular class seat.  The regular class was very comfortable. 

  1. Buy tickets for the Fukuoka to Busan Ferry from Klook.
  2. Buy tickets for the JR Queen Beetle from Japan to Korea with Direct Ferries.
  3. Buy tickets for the JR Queen Beetle with JR Beetle.

Checking in for the Fukuoka to Busan Queen Beetle Ferry

Check-in is easy.  You’ll need to ensure that you have any documentation you need to enter Korea (Passport, Visa, and visa exemption if needed).  You will be denied boarding if you do not have this.

Health Screening Before Check in to the Queen Beetle

In April 2023 there was a health screening questionnaire that we were required to complete.  There were pens available, but it’s always safer to carry your own pen in case there aren’t any.

Health Screening Form to Enter Jr Beetle

Documentation Checks Before Checkin on the Queen Beetle

After the health screening form was completed we were required to hand over details of our booking (a copy on our phones), our passports, and our completed health screening form.

Check in at Fukuoka International Terminal

Check in Process for the JR Queen Beetle in Fukuoka

At the check-in desks, you’re provided with a seating plan and asked where you wanted to sit.  We opted for window seats.  The JR Queen Beetle has a capacity for 502 passengers and was not full at all.  We ended up moving around and sitting in different seats.  There are seats with tables and seats without tables.

Seating Plan for the JR Queen Beetle

If the weather is rough you’re better off sitting in the middle of the boat if you can. There’s a currency exchange here if you have any Japanese yen that you want rid of.

Documentation for boarding the ferry in Japan

We were provided with several forms for completion before we boarded the ferry.  There’s a health declaration form (another one) this time for entering Korea.  There’s also a customs declaration form for entering Korea and an arrival form for entering Korea, which also requires your address on entering Korea.  If you have a K-ETA you do not need the arrival form, as you’ve already provided this information.

You WILL need the address of a hotel in Korea to complete this form.  If you haven’t already booked somewhere to stay on your arrival in Busan or Korea do it now.

Immigration forms to enter Korea

Waiting Lounge at the Hakata International Port in Fukuoka

There is a seating area on the first floor and a seating area downstairs too.  It doesn’t really matter where you sit and complete your forms.  If you’ve opted for the Camelia Line ferry,  then at this point you’ll be heading in a different direction,  just follow the signage.

Walking to the JR Queen Beetle

Walking to the Ferry in Fukuoka Port

Then you’ve got a bit of a yomp to the boat.  It’s all flat but will take about 10 minutes to get to the boarding ramp for the JR Queen Beetle.

Boarding the JR Queen Beetle

Onboard the JR Queen Beetle

The first part of the boat that you’ll come to is the storage area for your big bags.  You’ll put them in a specific locker area and leave them there for the duration of the journey although you can come back and get things out of them if needed.  If you have valuables that you want to leave here there are also combination lockers where you can store things.

We left out big backpacks here and took our small daypacks and valuables with us.

Baggage Storage on the JR Queen Beetle

Seating Areas on the JR Queen Beetle

There’s lots of seating on the JR Queen Beetle.  The seats are comfortable, they recline and they all have seat belts.  Some seats have tables, others don’t.  

Standard Class Seating on the JR Queen Beetle

Seats have USB power chargers too.  Seats that don’t have a specific table all have fold-down tables in front of them, similar to an airline seat.

Table Seating on the JR Queen Beetle

Toilets on board the JR Queen Beetle

You’ll be delighted to hear that the toilets on the JR Queen Beetle are fully Japanese with all the buttons, bells, and whistles that you’ve no doubt become used to while traveling in Japan.

WiFi on board the JR Queen Beetle

There is WiFi on board the JR Queen Beetle, but it was very spotty and worked intermittently, mind you we were of course traveling in international waters too. 

Food and Drinks on the JR Queen Beetle

You can buy drinks, snacks, and meals on the JR Queen Beetle.  As this is a Japanese ship all prices and charging is in Japanese Yen.  A coffee costs 500 Yen.

Arriving in Busan South Korea

The arrival process was quick and easy.  After we got off the boat there was a short walk to immigration and as we didn’t have many people on the boat it was very quick.  All our paperwork was in order and handed over.

Busan Port Arrivals

Once you’ve gone through immigration, then you’ll come to the arrivals hall at Busan Port. 

Buying a SIM Card at Busan Port

There are several SIM card providers where you can pick up a SIM card for Korea.  We’d pre-ordered one online (you can pre-order one here – and believe me this is the ONLY place you can pre-order and prepay for a Korean SIM.  I spent days looking) and picked it up having prepaid it.

Getting Cash at Busan Port

There’s an ATM here from the BNK Bank. It accepts foreign cards and didn’t charge us a fee. 

Leaving Busan Port

There’s a lot of construction work going on around the port of Busan and it looks set to continue for quite some time.  We had booked a hotel close to the port and ended up walking through construction areas to get to it. It wasn’t ideal.  You’re best trying to arrange a transfer or hopping straight onto public transport here in Busan to get to where you’re staying.

Busan’s Ferry port is right next to the main KTX train station in Busan.  There are metro stations at Choryang and Busan station.  It will take you about 10 minutes to walk from the ferry terminal to the train station.

FAQS about the Fukuoka to Busan Ferry

We’re really glad that we got to ride the Jr Queen Beetle, after taking the overnight ferry the last time we traveled this route.  It’s fast, convenient, and goes every day.  Here are a few questions we had about it.

How fast does Queen Beetle Ferry go?

The JR Queen Beetle has an operating speed of 37 knots.

How long is the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan?

The fast ferry, the JR Queen Beetle takes 3 hours and 40 minutes.  If you take the slower Camelia Line ferry from Japan to Korea it takes 6 hours. 

Is the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan suspended?

No. It’s running again as of 2023.

Travel Tips for Exploring South Korea

Final Words on Taking the Fukuoka to Busan Ferry

We’d ended our 2023 trip to Japan in Fukuoka and we’re heading to Korea, so for us, it made sense to take the ferry, and while we would have loved to take an overnight ferry, the Camelia line ferry doesn’t travel overnight in the direction of Japan to Korea, so we opted for the fast, sleek and rather lovely JR Queen Beetle.  This boat came into service in 2022 and she’s still almost brand spanking new!  Do try her,  it’s a lovely way to both leave and arrive in a country.

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