Korea to Japan Ferry Guide

[2023] Korea – Japan Ferry – Take the Boat Korea-Japan

There are several ways in which you get from South Korea to Japan.  The easy option is to fly, but if you’ve made it down to Busan, then we recommend the Korea-Japan Ferry routes. From a short 3-hour trip from Busan to Fukuoka by ferry on the JR Beetle to the 14-hour overnight relaxation on the Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry, this is a great way to relax between countries and also explore a little culture on the way.  You can get a ferry from Busan to Fukuoka, or to Shimonoseki.  We’ve included all the details including links to book each of the ferry companies and options online. If you are taking the ferry from Japan to Korea, the ferry companies are the same.

Since we first sailed this route in 2014 the world has changed a bit, the boats might be updated, you can book most of them online and a couple have gone by the wayside. Here are the ferries that go from Korea to Japan in 2023.



Book the JR Beetle or the Camellia Line Ferry Tickets here

South Korea to Japan is served by multiple ferry routes and companies.  Each South Korea Japan ferry has pros and cons.  This overview covers each of the routes and how to buy tickets on the Korea-Japan ferry routes.  Our in-depth coverage is of the Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry, which we opted for to spend a night on the ferry and also to arrive in Shimonoseki where it was easy to collect our JR Pass for our transport around Japan and for us to get to our first destination, Nagasaki.

We’ll cover all the details of how to book tickets for each of the ferries, but the easiest way to book tickets is to do it online.  We will also detail South Korea to Japan ferry prices.  You can book tickets online directly with the ferry companies in 2023 and there are details below.

Check out all the things you need to do before you get to Japan with our Japan Travel Checklist

Korea Japan Ferry Routes 2023

Here are the routes by ferry from Korea to Japan.   Please note that in addition to the ferry fares listed, there is also a port fee and a fuel fee to pay before you exit Korea.  These are noted where we have the information.  Where it is possible to book tickets online we’ve detailed it, otherwise, you can book all tickets at the desks in the Busan Ferry Terminal.

Ferries connect 2 ports in South Korea with several ports in Japan.  Panstar runs a ferry that goes from Busan to Osaka, but it is going into dry dock in mid-April for “an undetermined length of time”.

So, now, in 2023, there are 3 ferry companies running the routes between Japan and Korea. At the time of writing (March 2023), you can book online, but ONLY directly with the ferry companies. These are the ferry companies going from Korea to Japan.

  • Camellia Line Korea to Japan Ferry (Fukuoka/Hakata to Busan) >  Book tickets now
  • JR Kyushu Beetle Jet from Busan to Japan ferry (Busan to Fukuoka) >  book now
  • Kampu Ferry from Busan to Shimonoseki > book now < note you can ONLY currently book this ferry by TELEPHONE.
  • Panstar (Busan to Osaka to Busan) – not running after mid-April, but when they do, the site for booking is either the Japanese site or the Korean site.

What is the South Korea to Japan Ferry Price?

The cost of the Busan Ferry to Japan depends on the specific service that you select to travel from South Korea to Japan.  We have detailed the estimated prices of the different ferry services from Korea to Japan in the sections below. The prices are estimated because they fluctuate based on the day of the week and the time of the year. Check the prices of the different ferry options here.

What is the Busan to Japan Ferry Schedule?

Each different ferry from South Korea to Japan runs on a different schedule.  We have included these schedules in the sections below.

Busan to Fukuoka Ferry 2023

The ferry terminal in Fukuoka is about a 40-minute walk to the JR Fukuoka railway station.    Several ferry companies run a ferry from South Korea to Japan on the Busan-Fukuoka route, their details are below.

JR Beetle Busan to Fukuoka 2023

The JR Beetle Fukuoka to Busan is the JR Beetle Ferry that runs from Japan to Busan.  (The port of Fukuoka is also known as Hakata Port).  Ferries run ONCE a day and the journey takes 3 hours.  A single Fukuoka to Busan ferry costs from 8000 JPY per person (and the same in reverse)  You can book the JR Beetle here with Direct Ferries. The price also depends on the day of the week. They also depend on the time of year.

The JR Beetle leaves Busan at 15:00 and arrives in Fukuoka at 18:40. For the route in the opposite direction the JR Beetle leaves Fukuoka at 09:00 and arrives in Busan at 12:40

Camellia Line Busan to Fukuoka 2023

The Camellia Line runs an overnight ferry from Busan to Fukuoka with crossings taking 12 hours.  This currently runs THREE TIMES A WEEK Check their website for the running dates. This Busan to Fukuoka overnight ferry service is a car ferry.  The return trip from Fukuoka to Busan takes slightly less time (7 hours) and runs during the day.  The Busan Fukuoka ferry price on this route is from 7,200 YEN.  You can make an online reservation here.  

Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry 2023

The ferry company that runs the Korea-Japan ferry route from Busan to Shimonoseki is the Kampu Ferry.   Here’s a link to their Facebook page, which is the best way of contacting them. Note that in May 2023 you cannot book online in any language, they’re only taking telephone or bookings from the ticket windows. Their website is also not secure, so until they’ve changed this it’s best to try booking personally.

These fares and times are all confirmed for 2023.

The Busan to Shimonoseki ferry leaves at around 2100 each day, although check-in closes at 1800.  This ferry arrives in Shimonoseki at 0745 the following day.  This is a vehicle ferry, and check-in details are different for vehicles.    A single one-way fare in second class is 9,000 JPY.  The prices are in Japanese YEN because this is a Japanese ferry company.  You can make a reservation by telephone or email, or in person at the Busan Ferry Terminal.

There are several reasons to take the ferry to Shimonoseki from Busan

  1. There is a JR pass collection point just a very short walk from the Shimonoseki ferry terminal.
  2. It’s an overnight ferry and so you can save on accommodation costs
  3. Our first stop in Japan was Nagasaki and logically it made sense for us to travel there from Shimonoseki.

You should buy your Japan Rail pass before you get to the country.  It’s a great way to travel around the country. 

Kampu Ferry Busan to Shimonoseki

The best way to travel around Japan is by train – and you can save a fortune on train travel in Japan by buying the JR Pass BEFORE you get to Japan. You can buy the JR Pass from a number of outlets. We recommend:

Get your JR Pass from KLOOK here. – estimate 2 weeks for delivery of the exchange order

Buy a JR Pass from JRAILPASS here – get it Fedexed within 24-48 hours to any location including a Fedex office or your hotel in Japan.

Where is the Busan Ferry Terminal Location?

The Busan ferry terminal address is Pier 4, north/east of Busan train station.  Note that this is a different terminal from the Jeju Island Ferry Terminal.  It will take you approx. 10 minutes to walk from the Busan railway station to the Busan ferry terminal.  Leave Busan station at Exit 8 if you’ve come over from Seoul.  You can also take a shuttle bus if you have lots of luggage.  If you want to take the shuttle bus, then exit the railway station from exit 4. The shuttle between the Busan railway station and the Busan ferry terminal costs 1100 won.  You can also pick up the shuttle from the Busan subway line 1 station.

Busan Ferry Terminal Map

There are two ferry terminals in Busan.  We have noted both on the map below.  International ferries to Japan and Russia leave from a different terminal at the Jeju Island Ferry Terminal in Busan.

Ferry Terminals in Busan

You can also view this map of the ferry terminals in Busan here.

Busan Ferry Terminal Facilities

The entrance to the Busan Ferry Terminal is on the ground floor.  Departures, booking offices, and check-in are on the 3rd floor.   The arrivals are on the 2nd floor, which is also where you will find tourist information.   On the 2nd floor of the Busan Ferry Terminal, there is also a currency exchange and ATMs.

The ferry terminal has free-to-use Wi-Fi, shops, places to eat, toilets, and, of course, the booking offices and check-in with the various ferry companies that travel between Korea and Japan.

Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry Times

The Busan to Shimonoseki ferry schedule is as follows.

  • Busan: 21:00 > 07:45 Shimonseki
  • Shimonoseki: 19:45 > 08:00

Note that check in time in Busan is from 10am until 18:00 and in Shimonoseki from 13:00 to 18:30

The Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry departs at 21:00.  It arrives in Shimonoseki at 0745 the following day.  Check-in for this ferry is between 10:00 and 18:00.  You and your luggage must be checked in by this time, as while the ferry does not leave the dock until 2100, you cannot leave the ferry after you have checked in and moved onto the ferry.  Note that check-in is different from boarding.  After you have checked in you are free to do what you want.  Once you board you cannot leave the boat.

Don’t forget to buy your JR Pass

You will arrive in Japan early the next morning and be able to get (with the speed of Japanese trains) easily to most places.  Be sure to book your JR Pass before you get to Japan

While you can buy a JR Pass in Japan it is cheaper to buy it BEFORE you get to Japan > You can read our in-depth guide on the JR Pass here

Buy Tickets for the Korea Japan Ferry

You can now buy tickets for all but one of the Korea Japan ferries online and I’ve included the links above in the first section of this article. If you’re in Korea and looking to buy tickets in person, then the details are below.

When we traveled there were NO online sites to buy tickets for the Busan to Shimonoseki ferry.  You can now buy tickets on their website or call them and book the tickets over the telephone.

You can also easily buy tickets at the ferry terminal for the overnight ferry from Busan to Shimonoseki.   There is no issue (apart from obvious availability) with buying tickets right up until the last minute.

We bought tickets from the ferry office itself at the passenger port in Busan the day before we wanted to travel.    Book tickets by telephone for the Kampu Ferry here.

What you need to book tickets for the Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry

  • Departure Date
  • Destination
  • Do you want a one-way or round-trip ticket?
  • Type of Cabin
  • Full Name of all passengers
  • Number of passengers
  • The nationality of all passengers
  • Passport number of all passengers
  • Date of Birth of all passengers
  • Gender of all passengers
  • Telephone number or E-mail address

Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry Ticket Cost

The Busan to Fukuoka ferry price on Kampu Ferry can be found here.  We traveled second class. You can pay extra for private rooms.  There are choices of cabins on board (no sleeping on chairs).  Second-class choices are sleeping in communal cabins on the floor (Asian style) or a dorm of bunks, which go two bunks high.  We chose the bunk room.

Our Busan to Fukuoka ferry cost was :

  • Ticket cost: 95,000 KRW
  • Departure fee: 13,000 KRW
  • Fuel Charge: 2,100 KRW (payable only in cash)

You can check the current pricing – and buy over the phone directly with Kampu here.

Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry Check-in Procedure

We checked in at the same counter where we bought our tickets for the ferry, South Korea to Japan route.  We checked in, as directed the previous day at 1730.  We also had to arrange payment.  Our second class ticket cost us 95,000 KRW plus a 13,000 KRW departure fee.  There is an additional fuel charge, this, when we traveled was 2,100 KRW.  Check when you make your booking what your fee is.  You need to pay the fuel surcharge in cash.  There is an ATM here in the Busan Ferry Terminal that accepts foreign ATM cards in case you don’t have any cash left. Find out more about Japanese ATMs and the Yen here.

Check-in does not mean board.  They are separate procedures.

Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry Boarding Procedure

While check-in is referenced as being between 10:00 and 18:00 it doesn’t mean you can board.  After check-in we could not board until 18:20., Kampu Ferry boarding was strictly between 18:20 and 18:40.  Yes, that’s not a typo, you have a small window of opportunity to get on board.

Luckily, the stores in the ferry terminal close at 18:20 (bizarre!) so we had nothing left to browse, although the free internet there was useful.

Boarding is very organized, and the queueing was very civilized.   We carried our own bags in and walked around the various second-class rooms.  The staff spoke enough English to send us in the right direction.

Please be aware if you’re selecting the sleep on-the-floor traditional rooms, then you should remove your shoes before entering.

We opted to take the bunk rooms and had it entirely to ourselves.  There were two of these rooms and we were the only occupants of both of them!

We boarded at 18:30, but the ferry did not depart until 21:00.

Kampu Ferry – Busan to Shimonoseki – Our Experience

We had had worries that we’d be able to find somewhere to sleep but our concerns about finding somewhere to sleep were unfounded.  We booked second-class tickets, and this ticket is room on arrival.  This ferry has two types of accommodation at the basic level that we’d purchased.  Bunk rooms and Japanese open-style rooms.

Bunk Room in the Ferry from Korea to Japan

We had one of the two 49 bunk rooms entirely to ourselves.  All other travelers on our trip were Korean or Japanese and had opted for the open-style rooms.

There’s a duty-free shop on board and also a currency exchange, which was great because the boat doesn’t accept foreign credit cards on board.  So our Korean won became Japanese yen.  The duty-free shop also sells noodles, crisps, and souvenirs.  Be aware though that the shop isn’t open 24 hours, so check the opening hours when you board.

Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry Onboard Facilities

  • Café
  • Bakery
  • Karaoke Lounge
  • Massage Chairs
  • Restaurant open for dinner and breakfast (we ate dinner in the restaurant but for breakfast ate noodles in our “cabin”)
  • There are also a Japanese-style gender-segregated public bath. The gender-segregated public baths are open until 10 pm and they open again at 6 am.

There’s power in the cabins, so you can charge devices, phones, and the like. You’ll need a power adapter so that your plugs fit in the sockets. Our guide to Power Adapters for Japan is here.

Food on the Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry

Tickets for dinner in the restaurant are bought from a vending machine that’s found at the entrance to the restaurant.  Have a go if you take this ferry, it’s fun and it will get you used to Japanese culture.

Buying Food on the Ferry

The food was good, service was excellent.  We simply presented our tickets to the staff and they brought out food to the table.

Food Tokens on the Korea Japan ferry

Busan to Shimonoseki Showers & Onsen Facilities

The Japanese tradition of public bathing is something that we’ll get used to over the next 24 days in the country, so we might as well start now.   The Kampu Ferry from Korea to Japan has two public bathing areas, one for women and one for men.  They are clearly signposted.

I went for a bath at 21:00 just as the ferry departed.  As I arrived a woman was getting undressed.  She changed her mind got dressed and went out again.  Yikes.  Something I said?

There’s an entranceway with a half curtain across the next area.

This is where I leave my shoes, slippers, or flip flips and this is where I leave my clothes in a basket.

The changing area has a washing machine and dryer, so if you’re stuck for something to do on the ferry, whip out the dirty clothes and stick them in there. There’s no attached coin insertion area, and the drier takes care of my travel towel for free after I have a bath.

Laundry on the the Korea Japan ferry

In this area, there are wash basins and hair dryers.  There’s a bank of shelves with baskets, where I put my clothes and towel and then I walk through the door into the bathing area.

Bathroom on the Korea Japan ferry

The Onsen on the Kampu Ferry

First things first, a shower. I sit down on the little plastic stool to wash, so I don’t splash the other users of the bath while I’m showering. The idea is that you get clean with the shower (and body soap and shampoo are all provided), then rinse all the soap completely off, before you get into the bath to relax.

Shower again once you get out of the bath.

There are two baths here, in the women’s bathing area.  There is a small ledge around the edge, that you can sit on under the water. I sit on the floor in the bath and get my shoulders immersed in the reasonably hot water.

Onsen on the the Korea Japan ferry

This bath is more like a small swimming pool.  And it’s obvious that we’ve set off, as I end up with a little wave machine action.  When the waves start to overflow and hit the shower area I decide that it’s time to depart, shower, and head back to the apartment.

Sleeping on the Busan to Shimonoseki Ferry

The sign says lights out at 2230 and that’s exactly what happens. On the dot of 2230, the lights go out, so we pull the curtains on our beds, and settle down for a good 7 hours sleep.  The dorm-like beds on the ferry is comfortable, there are curtains on each bed.  It’s very cozy and I feel very safe.  We’ve both selected bottom bunks.

The ferry ends up anchoring somewhere at around 04:00, which is a little noisy, but we don’t arrive at the port of Shimonoseki until just before 08:00

Arriving in Japan at Shimonoseki Immigration

As we arrive in Shimonoseki, the immigration is just for this ferry, so the three lines of people are just limited to the 40 people who have been on the ferry from Korea with us.  It’s a breeze!

We’re last of course. As we manage to pick the slowest line. Nigel gets through and then it takes the combined might of all three immigration agents, and their supervisor to identify over a 15-minute period that the IC chip in my passport isn’t working. This is my new only 5 months ago passport. They copy it. Nige isn’t allowed to stay and is moved on through customs and outside, where he spends the time “chatting” with a plainclothes police officer. I get quizzed on my route and feel relieved that we did book a (cancellable) flight out of the country, so I’m able to show them my departure details.  Check out how we did this in our guide to requiring and obtaining proof of onward travel.

Eventually, after they seem to try to pull my passport apart, copy every page of it, and make copious notes, I’m allowed through. Customs is a breeze, although they want to look through my bag and discuss toiletries, and then we’re off heading for the Japan Rail Pass collection and our first Japanese Train.

Travel Tips for Exploring Japan

Final Words on Taking the Korea to Japan Ferry

This is an excellent way to both leave a country and to arrive in one. It was an adventure in itself. There were in total about 40 of us on the ferry. We had an entire bunk room to ourselves and had a peaceful nights sleep. The bathrooms were create, the food was good and we also saved on a nights accommodation, arriving at a port where we could exchange our JR Pass exchange order for a JR Pass and get straight on the train exploring Japan! I really recommend it!

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