Ship’s amenities include an onboard Japanese-style bath with a view of the Seto Inland Sea.

For long-distance travel in Japan, most people’s default choice is to take the Shinkansen, since Japan’s bullet train network is often faster and more convenient than flying. By land and by air aren’t the only options, though, as Japan also has a network of long-distance ferries, like the one operated by Meimon Taiyo Ferry that sails between Osaka and Fukuoka prefectures.

Two ferries set sail from each port daily, departing at 5 and 7:50 p.m. These are overnight voyages, but each still gets you to your destination early enough for a full itinerary that day, arriving respectively at 5:30 and 8:30 in the morning. The overnight trip also saves you the cost of booking a hotel for the night, and speaking of saving cash, an economy-class ticket on the 5 p.m. ship, with a discount for online reservations, currently costs just 3,980 yen (US$38), about 10,000 yen less than a Shinkansen ticket covering the same distance.

For those departing from Fukuoka, the ship leaves from Shinmoji Port in Kitakyushu City. The closest train station is Kokura Station, and from the north/Shinkansengchi exit there’s a free shuttle bus for the 40-minute ride to the port.

After arriving at the port, passengers check in at the first floor, and from there it’s on to the ship.

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