How to take the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

How to take the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

During our time in Asia, we traveled from Japan to South Korea by ferry! Specifically we took a ferry from Fukuoka to Busan. We were a little uncertain of how the trip would go, but it turned out great. Since there isn’t too much information out there on how to take the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan (or vice versa), we wanted to provide a detailed account of our (relatively easy) experience.

Note, all prices are as of October 2016. 

Step-by-step instructions for how to take the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

*Note, you can pretty much reverse these instructions to take the ferry from Busan to Fukuoka!

Step 1 – Book your Fukuoka to Busan ferry ticket online

After doing some research, we learned that the easiest way for English-speakers to book Fukuoka to Busan ferry tickets online is through AFerry.co.uk. It specializes in ferry-booking all over the world. It offered two ferry companies – JR Beetle and Kobee. Kobee was cheaper and only a little bit longer, so we chose them. When you first book on the website, your reservation is tentative. The folks at AFerry have to manually confirm your reservation. That took about 24 hours. Note, you don’t have to book your ticket online, but if you’re traveling during high season and have a fixed itinerary, it’s wise.

Thinking of visiting Fukuoka? Read about things to do and all the ramen you should eat here!

Step 2 – Print your ferry reservation confirmation

You’ll need to bring this to the ferry terminal with you.

Step 3 – Travel to the ferry terminal in Fukuoka

We took the bus from Hakata Station to the International Ferry Terminal. It goes directly there and costs 230 JPY.

Step 4 – Collect your Fukuoka to Busan ferry ticket

You are advised that you must check in one hour before the ferry leaves. We arrived at the ferry terminal 90 minutes before the ferry. There was a line of people waiting but it looked like the service desk had just opened. Present your booking confirmation and passports to the person at the service desk. We were also asked to show proof that we would be leaving South Korea within the necessary timeframe by showing confirmation of our flight out. They will ask what seats you want – there is an upper and lower deck and seats by the windows or in the middle. We chose upper deck by the window. Pay the fuel tax (in cash), which was 300 JPY per person.

Step 5 – Pay the port fee

You pay the port fee of 500 JPY per person at a machine. Again, cash only. Note, there are ATMs. 

Step 6 – Complete the customs form

They will give you a customs form to complete where you need to fill out details about your stay in South Korea including address. They collect this in Busan, so you don’t have to do it before you board the ferry, but we did.

Step 7 – Shop duty-free

You are only allowed to enter the boarding area a little before the ferry is set to depart (we think about a half hour). There is a duty-free shop with really cheap stuff right after you go through. Shop away!

Step 8 – Board the ferry

Get on the ferry and find your seats. You can store your luggage at the front or back of the ship.

Step 9 – Enjoy the journey from Fukuoka to Busan!

Some parts of the journey are pretty scenic – like mid-way through when you stop at a Japanese island and when you approach Busan. If you get seasick, we wouldn’t recommend a seat in the front of the boat by the windows – choose one more in the center (Sarah learned this the hard way). There is also a TV in the middle that plays Korean shows. Everyone around us found it hilarious.

Approaching Busan by ferry, South Korea

Ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

Step 10 – Hello Korea!

The ferry terminal in Busan is modern and clean and very welcoming. Once you go though customs, you can figure out what form of transportation you’re going to take into the city. We asked a friendly English-speaking person at the Information Desk how to get to Busan Station. It’s a relatively straightforward 10-minute walk. However, note that it’s the main train station. To get to the subway (which was our goal), you go through the station to the other side where there’s a separate entrance for the subway.

Ferry, Busan, South Korea

Busan, South Korea

Planning for your trip to Busan? Read what to do in Busan in three days here!

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16 thoughts on “How to take the ferry from Fukuoka to Busan

  1. Lady says:

    Hi, is it necessary to have a korean visa to enter Busan? did you also go back to Japan to fly back or did you have your exit flight in Korea? I am also planning to have this trip once I get to Fukuoka. Thanks!

    • Sarah and Justin says:

      As United States passport holders, we did not need visas to enter South Korea. As mentioned in the post, we did need to show proof of exit: how we would be leaving the country and when. We had flights booked out of Seoul to Hong Kong. We did not return to Japan. Let us know if you have any other questions. Good luck with your trip!

  2. Journeybliss says:

    Hi, wish to know if the Immigration authorities at Busan port really do chop an exit stamp on the passport or not. In my case, they didn’t and now there is no proof that I did exit Korea within the allowed duration of stay.

    • Sarah and Justin says:

      We didn’t exit South Korea through the port – we entered the country that way. We traveled from Fukuoka to Busan. Sorry we can’t be more helpful!

      • Journeybliss says:

        Thanks. We came to know later that South Korea has discontinued stamping exit on passports since November 2016.

  3. Tatiana says:

    Hi! Thanks for your post. When you arrive to Busan from Japan, did you do something in immigration? I mean, does someone mark your passport?
    Thank you!

  4. Erica says:

    Hi. This is a great step-by-step how to guide for taking the ferry from Japan to Busan. I’m interested in visiting both Japan and Busan when I next travel to Korea. Looking forward to reading your three day trip for Japan tourist.

  5. Thet Htar Swe says:

    Hi …I’m Japanese passport holder.I’ll stay in japan for 2 months.At that time,I want to travel busan from hakata port.Do I need korean Visa to enter?Can I come back to japan after travelling?

    • Sarah and Justin says:

      From a quick search it looks like, with your Japanese passport, you can enter South Korea for a period of 90 days without a visa. If you have a Japanese passport I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to re-enter Japan, but I am not an expert and do not have a Japanese passport myself. You can definitely look up more detailed information on embassy websites and the like. Hope that helps!

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  7. Sai says:

    Hi, this ferry sounds like a great trip. I’m travelling to Korea in May and might be interested in visiting Japan from Busan. Can you tel me how long the ferry took (one-way ride)?
    Kind regards

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