How to Get to Yakushima?
Kagoshima, dolphin port is home to a wealth of ferries, making traveling from one island to another easily accessible. However, with so many different options, different docking areas and different ferries leaving the port every day, it can get somewhat confusing.
1.Jetfoil (Toppy & Rocket)
This is the fastest and most expensive ferry you can take to Yakushima. It does 7 round trips daily, between Anbo port and Miyanoura Port and takes, on average, between 2 to 3 hours to arrive. What’s even more advantageous is their English webpage, which makes traveling and reserving tickets much easier if you can’t read Japanese. But at ¥9,100 for a single (¥16,100) for a return, it might be a little out of budget for most travelers.
At just ¥3,500 for a single (¥7,200 for a return), the Hibiscus ferry is the cheapest way to travel to Yakushima, but for a good reason. The ferry makes just one trip per day, leaving Kagoshima at 6pm and arriving the next day at 7am.
Thinking about it, this does not actually seem like a bad idea. You can save money on accommodation and get to Yakushima early enough to perhaps do something that day. This was the route I was going to take, until I saw the length and times of the return trip. Leaving at 8:20am and arriving back in Kagoshima at 2:40pm just seemed like a bad idea.
3.Ferry Yakushima 2
Ferry Yakushima 2 makes just one round trip per day, leaving Kagoshima at 8:30am, and arriving at Miyanoura Port at 12:30pm. It’s return trip is an undesirable day trip, leaving Miyanoura port at 1:30pm and finally arriving back at Kagoshima at 5:30pm. Since a return is only ¥8,900, it is half the price of the Jetfoil ferry and just a few thousand yen more than the Hibiscus and actually, it wasn’t too bad.
The Ferry was surprisingly well equipped. It featured a small shop (selling mainly sweets and souvenirs), free blankets, places to lie down, a small cafe, a small arcade with terrible games, a theatre that looked impressive but that was not showing anything, a book stand, some archaic TVs showing a mix of Japanese and English movies at ridiculously low volume, a small Ramen restaurant, and of course, your obligatory vending machines.
Going out onto the deck is obviously the best part of any ferry trip but, with the fumes form the ship being so strong, I couldn’t really stay out there for too long, which was a shame. None-the-less, trying to stay steady on a wobbling ferry is good fun and breaks up the amount of time you spend simply laying on that rather hard floor. And, with an obvious lack of wifi and 4G, since most of the time you’re in the middle of the ocean, it can get a little boring if you have nothing else to do.
The boat can get a little choppy in places depending on the weather. Obviously, if you are prone to sea sickness, a ferry would be the worst choice for you, but if you are feeling a little sick (as I’ll admit I was at one point), I would recommend strolling outside. The brisk sea air is sure to smack some life back into you.
All in all, you get what you pay for. It isn’t the most pleasant trip in the world, but I can definitely imagine worse. If you can spare the money, perhaps go for the quicker ferry, but all in all, this wasn’t too bad. At the end of the day, you really have to make a decision: time or money.
|Name||Ferry Yakushima 2|
|Address||892-0814 Kagoshima Prefecture, Kagoshima, Honkoshinmachi, 6|
892-0814 Kagoshima Prefecture, Kagoshima, Honkoshinmachi, 6
|Opening Hours||8:30am - 12:30 (return trip 1:30 - 5:30pm)|
|Price Range||¥8,900 return (prices vary depending on the season)|