What if I told you that there is a non-traditional way of traveling around Japan using an overnight ferry service, would you try it?
That is exactly what I did on my trip in 2022. As a seasoned traveler in Japan, I normally take the Shinkansen ‘bullet train’ when I am traveling long distances, but for the second segment of my trip, I flew into Matsuyama, Ehime from Miyakojima, Okinawa.
Ehime is on the island of Shikoku which is the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. You can read about my travels in my blog (http://www.nippon-edo.com/) but for this blog piece for JNTO, I condensed my original blog to highlight another great way to travel in Japan which I discovered recently, which is by an overnight ferry.
PART I – To catch a ferry
Overnight passenger ferries are not just for tourists and are not even a new mode of transportation. To get to Kyoto, the third part of my trip, I decided to try an overnight ferry company called ‘Orange Ferry’ or 「オレンジフェリー」.
Orange Ferry's Kansai route only travels between Ehime and Osaka and leaves at 10 pm with boarding beginning at 8 pm. The ferry arrives in Osaka at 6 am the next day. As a result, it is similar to an overnight coach bus or train, but on water.
The ferry is not located in the city of Matsuyama but in a town called Saijo 「西条」. The closest station is Nyuugawa Station 「壬生川駅」 and it takes approximately 1 hour by a limited express train from the JR Matsuyama station and costs 1200 yen.
I decided to take a local train instead of the limited express train as I had finished everything I wanted to see in Matsuyama and did not want to wait for the next limited express train. Another reason why I wanted to travel earlier is that Saijo is a small countryside town and after the sun sets, it can be quite disorienting as there are relatively few street lights and is pitch-black.
Before the train left JR Matsuyama Station, there were a lot of students and locals who boarded the train and later departed at different stations along the way.
Once I had arrived at Nyuugawa Station, I noticed the ferry’s website references a couple of ways to get to the terminal. As I was early, I took a taxi to the ferry terminal from the station. It was a short 10-minute ride and did not cost much. Don’t forget to keep some cash handy as most cabs do not take credit cards - this is even more doubtful for small, local taxi services.
When I had arrived at the ferry terminal, it was still a bit early to check in, so I dropped my stuff off in the departure lounge, wandered around, and took some photos of the area before returning. While I waited for the ticket office to open, I spent a lot of time editing photos and writing about my travels so far for my blog as there were electrical outlets at the window seating area. I had no issues charging my Canadian cell phone or laptop in the departure lounge.
Written by Edmund Lau (http://www.nippon-edo.com/)
The opinions expressed in the above article do not reflect the views of JNTO. All content and images are property of the writer unless otherwise specified.
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