The Japanese archipelago consists of 1000s of islands many of which have been connected by boat since time immemorial.
Unfortunately, ferry services are in decline especially long-distance ferry services as increasingly busy people choose air travel or the shinkansen bullet train.
Short distance ferries cannot be replaced by air or train travel however and ferry services are indispensable for the inhabitants of the islands of the Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku and for the many small islands off the coast of Kyushu in southern Japan.
This ferry in the video makes the short crossing from Kumamoto to Shimabara and back in Kyushu. The crossing takes one hour on the cheaper, slower boat run by Kyusho Ferry (Tel: 096 329 6111) or 30 minutes on the more expensive quicker boat operated by Kumamoto Ferry (Tel: 0957 63 8008).
Popular ferry services still in operation include the Maibara to Otaru in Hokkaido ferry, the Osaka/Kobe ferry to Beppu, the Nagoya to Sendai and Tomakomai ferry, the jetfoil to Yakushima and the boat to the Oki Islands off the Japan Sea coast.
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