Visiting Kyusyu from Tokyo by using the traveling service of Ocean Tokyu Ferry!
The destination of my journey during the Japanese “Golden Week” holiday is the Kyusyu area.
However, I made my travel plan just before the start of the consecutive holidays and I was not able to make a flight reservation since there were no vacancies available at the moment.
I need to use the alternative transportation such as bullet train or overnight bus. This time, I decided to board the automobile ferry which departing from Tokyo and enter into Shin-Moji Port (Fukuoka).
But there were some annoying problems. We cannot use online reservation in most of the ferry boat companies in Japan.
If we want to make a reservation, we need to make a phone call or directly visit the reservation office of at the port. It is just like the company from the age without personal computer or cell phone and unfortunately Ocean Tokyu Ferry was no exception.
Even worse, we can only make a phone call to contact with the call center from 9:00 till 17:00 during weekdays. Few years ago, because of the economic stimulus policy enforced by the government of Japan which reduces the toll of expressway users to 1,000 yen (about $10) for driving on the expressway all over Japan on weekends and national holidays for a limited period of time, many ferry boat companies have fell into managerial crisis. In my opinion, however, if we consider the old operation method of those ferry boat companies, the stimulus policy was not the only cause of the managerial crisis in ferry boat industry.
Now, Ocean Tokyu Ferry has a online reservation system. オーシャントランス株式会社 | フェリー・船予約 | WILLER TRAVEL (Japanese Version Only)
Pros and cons on the service of Ocean Tokyu Ferry
Although the scheduled sailing time is 19:30, you need to arrive in the port one hour earlier than the sailing time at least because it takes time for loading cars on ship. After I finished my job, I rushed to go home and I went to the port by motorcycle with my buddy.
When I was arrived in the port and finished my boarding procedure, only few motorcycles were being parked at the ferry terminal since we arrived at the port just before the departure.
After the passengers moved their motorcycles and boarded them on the ferry by themselves, sailors used the ropes and metal fittings to fix the motorcycle one by one.
After I parked my motorcycle on the specified location, sailors quickly fixed my motorcycles on the floor.
By going up the stairs near the parking deck, we arrived in passenger booth where we spend our time for one and a half days.
This ferry boat is called “casual ferry” and the passenger can only use bunk bed at their passenger room.
Numbers of bunk beds were placed in passenger room. After I changed my cloth in dressing space, I stated to enjoy my voyage.
While hearing the announcement of the departure from captain with minimum volume that I was manage to listen to, I was enjoying drinking beer with my buddy at the lounge by seeing the night view of the bay area.
You can enjoy the night view of the Tokyo bay area Tokyu Ferry♪
After I realized that the ship was already started leaving the port, I rushed to the deck since I was looking forward to see the night view of Ariake. I never heard any sound of gong or whistle blow, but fortunately, the ship was just departing from the port.
While the ship was going under the Tokyo Gate Bridge, the city lights were leaving from my sight and it touched the heart of a traveler.
We cannot enjoy such dramatic sight at the Oarai Port in Ibaraki Prefecture since there are no city lights.
Two of us were enjoying the night scene from the ferry, but as the ferry proceed toward the ocean, it gets really cold and we cannot enjoy watching the night scene with casual chit-chat so we got back inside the ferry.
Even the ferry passed through the Kawasaki area, I was able to see the bright city lights.It is said that if we see the Japan’s landscape from the space, we can see the city light are shining which following the coastline. By seeing the city light from the ferry boat, I can easily imagine what it looks like.
Even if the voyage continues for one and a half days, there is no cafeteria or restaurant in this ferry
This ship leaves from the port in 19:30 at night and arrive in Shin-Moji Port at 6:20 on the next day’s morning. However, there was no cafeteria or restaurant to have some supper. There was only few number of vending machines to purchase instant noodle or frozen food.
Ocean Tokyu Ferry possesses four ferry boats and two of them are known as “casual ferry” just like the one we use to travel this time. The other two ferry boats are the standard type ferry boat and they had a restaurant on them in the past, but today those two ferry boats also have no restaurant just like the casual ferry.
By reviewing the picture of website of Ocean Tokyu Ferry, it seems like the restaurant is still under operation, but the truth is, it offers udon noodle only for limited time. In essence, we can only purchase the meal from vending machine.
In contrast, in terms of the comfortableness of the passenger room, there are four types of options including the bed room for large group of people and first class private bed room.
Standard type ferry and casual ferry are sailing on the same route alternately every other day. If you want to know what type of ship departures from the port, you can review the cruising schedule in each month.
The bath in the ferry is just like the swimming pool with waves
In most cases, ferry boat for the long-distance-voyage has a bath.
We rarely feel the sway of the ship caused by the ocean waves when boarding on the huge ferry boat. However, the ocean waves directly affect the surface of the hot water in the bath and it makes a wave just like the surface of the ocean. You need to hang on something not to flow by the wave. It is just like the swimming pool with waves and fun.
Since I was able to take a bath any time in the ferry boat of Ocean Tokyu Ferry, I was taking bath several times. But I was feeling a bit seasick when I was continuously feeling the sway of the boat through the bath.
I was able to use my cell phone on the ferry boat of Ocean Tokyu Ferry.
I was simply astonished by the change in environment of phone radio on the ship, because I was able to use my cellphone (of DOCOMO) seamlessly.When I boarded the ferry boat of Shin Nihonkai Ferry and Shosen-Mitsui few years ago, I was not able to use my cellphone after the ship left from the port. I guess today’s marine transportation has prepared an environment for using the internet.
Or is it because Ocean Tokyu Ferry is offering an advanced service while
Ocean Tokyu Ferry does not offering an online reservation?
Anyway, I played the online game contents or viewing a SNS website to kill time during the long voyage.
But my buddy seems boring since he has no interest in such contents.
During the voyage, I saw the land of Japan from the window of the ferry boat every time.
If you board on the ferry to visit Hokkaido, you can view nothing but the site of ocean.It is said, if you continuously viewing the horizontal line on the ocean, you will start to feel despair. So I think it is better to see some sort of view from the window even if it is still boring.
Be careful for the ferry boat that takes a long detour without any particular reason.
In 14:20, the ferry boat stopped at Tokushima Port.After that, the ferry will depart from the port and it was supposed to head toward Shin-Moji Port directly. However, it turned out that the ship takes a detour to the pacific side and go to offing of Kochi and it will not going through the Seto Inland Sea area.
It takes nearly 15 hours to reach the Shin-Moji Port from Tokushima Port. I never imagined that the marine transportation take so much time even if I was anticipated that using a ferry requires time more than using airplane as a transportation method.
If this ferry stops at the Shishibu Port or Miyazaki Port which is closer to Shin-Moji Port, it can make this voyage much better. But since there is no use for complaining, I decided to enjoy drinking beer and killing time.
After the sunset, we could enjoy the night scene if the ferry boat was sailing through the Seto Inland Sea area. But as long as the ferry boat sale through the offing of Kochi, we were not able to enjoy the night scene.
Why this ferry does not sail through Seto Inland Sea area?!
In any case, the ferry boat has reached the destination with no particular problems.
After the voyage, we headed toward the Beppu Hot Spring.
Translate by 虫の本
Ocean Tokyu Ferry Tokyo Port office
Address:4 Chome-8-6 Ariake, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to
This post is also available in 日本語.