Crossing Borders: Busan to Fukuoka by Ferry

During the planning stage of my 2nd big trip, I always looked for more than one way to cross the border mainly to have more adventure. Taking a flight cuts the time but sometimes, going by bus and/or ferry is more practical and convenient, and not to mention, fun!

So when I was planning how to make my way to Japan from South Korea, I wasn’t satisfied with just taking a flight. I searched online and fortunately, I was advised by a friend that crossing the border from Busan to Fukuoka by ferry is one of the ways.

Of course, I was intrigued and it didn’t take long before I had enough information. Google has all the answers indeed.

Curious to know more? Here’s how I did it:

  • Compare prices from these 2 websites: aFerry and Direct Ferries. Prices could vary so make sure to do your comparison. When I booked my ticket, I paid US$63 with the JR Beetle line.

JR Beetle (Japan company) and Kobee (Korean company) run this Busan-Fukuoka (Hakata) ferry route, which takes 3 hours. A slow boat — the Camellia Line — is about 6.5 hours from Fukuoka to Busan, departing just after noon. There is also an overnight option — 11 hours from Busan to Fukuoka/Hakata.

  • Go to the Busan Ferry Terminal, which is just a 10-minute walk from Busan station. There is also a shuttle bus for 1100 KRW when you take Exit 4.
  • Upon arriving at Busan Ferry terminal, proceed to the check-in counter to get your boarding pass. After, proceed to the immigration to get your exit stamp then wait for boarding.

As mentioned, the trip normally takes 3 hours unless you chose to take the slow boat or the overnight ferry. We left Busan ferry terminal at 3:30pm and arrived in Fukuoka at 6:35pm.

Fukuoka ferry terminal is quite far from the city center but you have the option of taking the bus or a taxi to your hotel or anywhere in Fukuoka.

Important things to note:
  • 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.
  • Walk-ins are not recommended as these trips are fully booked most of the time, and depending on the season. So I suggest that you book your ticket at least 3 days in advance.
  • If you’re coming from Seoul, you can take the train or the bus from Seoul, which will arrive at Busan Station. The bus from Seoul to Busan takes approx 3 hours and the KTX high-speed train only takes half the time, so make sure to take that into account.
  • Japan immigration will require that you present a flight booking out of Japan, so make sure you are prepared with that.
  • There are ATM machines in Fukuoka ferry terminal but NO money exchange.
  • If you are taking the taxi and don’t have cash, do not worry as they accept credit card for payment.

Do you have any interesting experience with border crossing? Feel free to share your stories, I would love to hear from you!

Sending you love from my side of the world! Thank you for stopping by.