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The Nankai Ferry

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For those planning a trip to mainland Japan, the Nankai Ferry connecting Tokushima and Wakayama might not be their first choice of transport. But there are many merits to taking the ferry that warrant it a second look.

Perhaps most importantly, a trip by ferry offers a quick journey of just two hours in either direction, making it faster than both the highway buses and travelling by car. This is especially important during peak hour traffic when congestion in the Kobe and Osaka areas can tend to cause long delays in travel. Not so for the ferry, which bypasses all of this for a smooth trip from A to B no matter the situation on the roads.

Another advantage is that the ferry ports are strategically placed in some of the most well-connected areas of their respective prefectures. The port in Tokushima City is a quick bus ride from Tokushima Station and then to a variety of locations both in and outside the prefecture. Meanwhile, the port  in Wakayama sits right next to a train line that heads directly to Namba in Osaka, and connects to the train to Koya-san for those on the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

The Nankai Ferry "Tsurugi" as it passes by Awaji Island.

The ferry also allows for a level of comfort not enjoyed by other methods of transport. Passengers have plenty of space to lie down and take a nap while aboard, or go for a walk around the ship and even get a drink or a bite to eat! Combined with a set of three televisions throughout the deck, the two hours you spend on board will pass by very quickly.

Last but not least, good news for those wanting to drive while they’re abroad. For an additional charge you can take cars, motorbikes and other vehicles on board. Yet another opportunity to take a rest from driving or riding and save up your energy before you hit the other side. But be careful, as you need to make a reservation for vehicles, so call ahead in advance to let them know you’re coming.

Of course, taking the ferry is not without its downsides. Rough weather can sometimes force the boats to remain in port (although the bridges connecting Shikoku to mainland Japan are sometimes closed for the same reasons) and those susceptible to motion sickness can feel a bit queasy when the seas are choppy. But on the whole, the ferry is a very handy method of transport for those heading across the seas to mainland Japan. Next time you’re planning a trip, why not give it a go?

Ferry Times:

Tokushima – Wakayama
3:25 – 5:25
5:55 – 7:50
8:15 – 10:10
11:00 – 13:00
13:30 – 15:40
16:35 – 18:35
19:00 – 21:05
22:00 – 24:00

Wakayama – Tokushima
2:40 – 4:50
5:50 – 7:45
8:30 – 10:30
10:50 – 13:00
13:40 – 15:50
16:30 – 18:30
19:20 – 21:20
21:35 – 23:25

Tickets cost 3,800 yen for a round trip for adults, and 1,900 yen for elementary school children and below. Prices for vehicles differ according to the size of the vehicle, but a concise price list, along with directions on how to get to the ports and other information can all be found on the Nankai Ferry Homepage at the following address: www. nankai-ferry.co.jp.

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