Personally, I can never get sick of Japan. I’ve been to Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa, Kyoto, Fuji but not Fukuoka. Not many people really think of Fukuoka when you speak of Japan however they’re quite known for their ramen noodles. Sometimes flight tickets can be expensive and ferry tickets can be reasonable. Since I took the JR Beetle ferry to Fukuoka from Busan, that’s what I’ll focus on.
I bought my ticket online through their website, unfortunately, the site is only available in Japanese and Korean. I had my Korean friend help me but it’s not that hard to buy if you’re using a card that’s not korean. If you are, I highly recommend getting a korean friend to help because sometimes when purchasing things online there’s a lot of process due to security and might have to download the card app on your phone. Now because I purchased my ticket during golden week the prices were still high (240,000won total) but on a normal day they can go as low as 50,000won I think. There are 3 time tables for going and coming back,
8:30 – 11:35
12:10 – 15:15
15:50 – 18:55
When you get to Busan Port International Passenger Terminal go up to the 3rd floor to check in, you’ll have to pay the fuel surcharge, I think I paid 6,000won. You also get to pick your own seats, I recommend the first floor near the locker storage so you can quickly get in and out. Always try to arrive an hour before checking in at both places. When you go through check-in, the security is quite laid back. I think there is a certain size you have to bring as a carry on but they don’t check the weight or care if you have a water bottle or liquid. I think the weight limit is 20kg but not 100% sure, I can’t read korean well but on my e-ticket it said 20kg so I’m going to assume that’s the weight limit even though they didn’t check.
Just like going on a plane you can bring your own food, however, you can even buy your food before security and eat it on the ferry. If you didn’t bring your kimbap no worries, it’s a 3-hour ride and you can buy food on there. I forgot what they had but just small snacks like a donut, candy, chips, sandwiches, maybe ramen? and coffee or tea.
When you arrive in Japan you don’t need to do another security check but just immigration, very quick. And after that, you take a bus to Hakata station (I think I went on a free shuttle bus, sorry can’t remember).
Coming back from Fukuoka was also quite swift and easy. I took the bus across the street from Hakata Station at bus stop F and you can take either the 88 or 99 bus (maybe there are other buses but those are the only two that I know) and the fare is 230 yen. You have to pay the EXACT change and if you can’t, you could also get change for 1000yen on the bus and pay the exact amount. When you arrive at the terminal you first check in and again, pick your own seats. Afterward you go upstairs and near the entrance to the boarding gate, there’s a machine to buy the fuel surcharge ticket which is 500yen. There was no security check as you leave Fukuoka, I left with two bottles of calpis in my luggage and again, nothing happened. After you show them your boarding pass with the fuel surcharge ticket and passport you go to the boarding gate and that’s where you do your duty-free shopping which is quite small but they did have Royce chocolate!
Arriving in Busan is when they do the security check which is very quick. I arrived back to Busan around 6:55ish and made it to my KTX train to Seoul at 7:45, you can take a taxi or the shuttle bus, I took a shuttle bus and paid maybe 1,100 won and only had about 10 minutes to spare so the quicker the better.
There are other websites where you can purchase ferry tickets from Busan to Fukuoka, however, I’m not familiar with them or their regulations and supposedly JR Beetle is popular for their quality.