My plans to visit Japan over Chuseok holiday are underway. Best of all, thanks to my quick response to a ryokan owner, I will be able to stay in Nikko and Hakone with all expenses paid for two days.
So what’s the plan?
Leave Bugu by bus and head to Busan (부산), the second largest city in Korea. Should take about five hours and 21,900 Won. Stay in the city for two days enjoying the sights and chilling with a Couchsurfer.
Take the Beetle JR Kyushu Jet Ferry to Hakata. I can’t recall whether there’s a ¥3000 fee for a visa on arrival. Regardless, clearing customs and immigration shouldn’t be that difficult, and I’ve booked my favorite capsule hotel. I’m thinking late night ramen and partying in Tenjin.
Shinkansen train all the way to Shizuoka. I have a Couchsurfer waiting.
Enjoy the hospitality of Ryokan Funamisou in Nikko in exchange for writing a review. Japanese food and hot springs… ahhh.
I have a similar arrangement with Ryokan Kiritani Hakoneso in Hakone.
Head back to Fukuoka, possibly making a few stops en route to check out my old place, maybe see who’s around Hiroshima.
Return to Busan by ferry. Excursion to Japan is over.
There are several ferries running between Korea and Japan.
Beetle JR Kysuhu Ferry is probably your best option. Two hours, fifty-five minutes on a high speed jetfoil, and the price is reasonable. The only problem is… it’s a LOT cheaper to book this ferry in Korea; if you’re willing to take the risk that you might not get a return ticket, see if you can buy a one-way ticket out of Japan for ¥13,000, then book the return on the website Miraejet Co. It is difficult to navigate if you don’t read Korean, but the benefits far outweigh any inconvenience. If you book in Japan with JR Beetle, the fare is ¥26,000 (~304USD) roundtrip… though there are discounts available. In Korea, with an internet booking, the price is a mere 190,000 Won (~160USD), which must be paid in advance by credit card or bank account transfer; otherwise, it rises to 230,000 Won at the ticket office.
The Camilla Ferry is only 171,000 Won roundtrip with no reservations required for a discount, but it takes 7.5 hours for the overnight ferry (10:30 PM to 6:00 AM) and 5.5 hours for the daytime (12:30 PM to 6:00 PM), and doesn’t run as regularly. When you consider the difference between the Camilla and Beetle is only 19,000 Won (~16USD), it’s worth the effort to just book the jetfoil in advance.
Tsushima is another option if you’re looking to island-hop. This one is situated precisely between Korea and Japan, and, like most Japanese islands… doesn’t have too much excitement. Still, if you’re looking for a good place to sea kayak, hike, or catch a glimpse of the rare Tsushima Leopard Cat, by all means, check it out. I’ll stop by before I end my Korean residency.