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Travel between Korea and Japan, the story of the Fukuoka-Pusan ferries

Cargo headed for the Camellia
Cargo headed for the Camellia

Tired of flying?
This is the quick efficient method if you just need to get there fast. Stand in line, remove your shoes, go through immigration and board the aircraft. Isn't this the same old thing?

Meeting great people on-board the Camellia cruise ship
Michael Rosenfield

An alternative -the hydrofoil

What is a hydrofoil?
Hydrofoil boats are equipped with “water ski” like structures that when combined with thrust, lift the boat out of the water; thus reducing friction and drastically increasing speed potentials. The “Beetle” is  the name of Japan’s hydrofoil and the “Kobe” is the Korean equivalent; both boats are equipped with Boeing 929 jet engines capable of accelerating the vessels to 70 mph. Boarding the watercraft is very similar to boarding an aircraft, seats are assigned and an attendant directs you to your seat. The boats are double-deckers and when the water is calm passengers are allowed to go up and down the stairs. Shortly after passengers are seated, safety announcements and general information regarding hydrofoil travel are made. Next, the Boeing engines come to life, causing the ship to hum and vibrate. Even so, the experience is rather smooth and quiet in the passenger compartments. The boat glides safely through the harbor and then 929’s are brought to full power accelerating and lifting the Beetle out of the water.

As the adventure begins, the excitement grows, like being on a ride in an amusement park, the adrenaline begins to flow. Within a few minutes your view is of the wide Sea of Japan. Here marine life is abundant and whales can sometimes be seen spouting. International law dictates that the hydrofoils must slow in areas where marine mammals are present.

The ride is smooth with occasional bumps created when large waves crash into the hull of the hydrofoil.If the ocean gets too turbulent (the winter winds make rough seas and large waves), the captain will slow the hydrofoil down. Even bouncing around, the seats are comfortable and large windows reveal breathtaking scenes of volcanic Islands jutting of the Sea of Japan. While you enjoy the scenery you’re welcome to purchase drinks and snacks at the bar counter. Two and a half hours later you arrive at your destination, ready to start a new adventure! 

Directions to the port:

From Pusan Station
Go to the port, this is real easy even to walk, from Pusan Station (inside- looking out ) turn left and head south in less than a half mile signs will direct you left into the port. (Click here)

From Fukuoka
From center of town Fukuoka, simply walk (25 min walk) north-northwest and you can’t help but run into the port. (Click here)

Cost & Booking

One way trips are about 150,000KRW or 15000Yen or $150.00, if you book in advance with a little planning it is possible to get about a 30% discount! To book a trip on the hydrofoil click on this link

Another choice, the Camellia Cruise ship ferry
Finally, if you have the time, the most relaxing way to enjoy the trip is on-board the Camellia cruise ship. The Camellia travels for 18hrs each way, back and forth from Fukuoka to Pusan. The cruise starts late in the day and continues overnight. The slow going ship allows passengers time to experience the special accommodations the Camellia has to offer, including two fantastic restaurants, two gigantic steam baths and hot tubs, (providing endless pleasure), group or single cabins, night clubs and if you like, beer is available in a vending machines. What ever it is you want, it  probably can be found on-board the Camellia. When you're exhausted a comfortable bed awaits your sleep. Upon awaking the next day you’ll find yourself at your destination. For more information please follow this link
Travel onboard the Camellia can be less expensive then the hydrofoil depending on your requirements. If you choose a luxury cabin the price will be reasonable but more expensive than traveling onboard the speedy hydrofoils. For Flight Information to Korea or Japan please click

So which of the three ways is your favorite? Let me know what your experiences have been in the comment spaces below.


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