GETTING TO FUKUOKA

Getting to Fukuoka Japan: Transport options to Fukuoka including flying and train including Shinkansen.

By plane
Fukuoka Airport (IATA: FUK) is located to the east of the city, surprisingly close to the centre of Fukuoka City (only two subway stops away from Hakata JR station). Within the country, Japan Airlines and ANA fly to Fukuoka from most larger cities, including Tokyo (both Haneda and Narita), Osaka (Itami and Kansai), and Nagoya Centrair Airport. There are scheduled flights to most major cities in China and South Korea, as well as Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and Ho Chi Minh City, but the only scheduled transpacific flights are to Honolulu and Guam.

The airport is somewhat inconveniently split into four terminals. Broadly speaking, Terminal 1 handles domestic flights to smaller cities (e.g. Sendai, Komatsu and those around Kyushu), while Terminal 2 handles those to larger cities (Nagoya, Naha, Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo). The two are essentially different parts of the same building, 5 min apart on foot, and the subway station is located under Terminal 2. Terminal 3 is not used for departing flights, while the International Terminal is on the opposite side of the runway and requires a 10-min bus transfer from T2 (free, every 20 min or so).

From Tokyo, flying to Fukuoka is much faster than the Shinkansen, and not significantly more expensive. The usual one-way fare on Skymark Airlines from Tokyo Haneda is ¥19,800, compared to ¥22,320 from Tokyo Station on the Nozomi Shinkansen, and steep discounts are available if you book in advance (as low as ¥12,000 with ANA's Tabiwari discount). The flight takes two hours while the train takes five. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, of course, you'll still want to take the train.

By train
Fukuoka's Hakata Station is the terminus of the Sanyo Shinkansen. Shinkansen services are offered from Kokura in Kitakyushu (20 minutes), Hiroshima (1 hr), Okayama (1 3/4 hrs) and Osaka (2 1/2 hrs), and through via the Tokaido Shinkansen from Kyoto (2 3/4 hrs by Nozomi), Nagoya (3 1/2 hrs by Nozomi) and Tokyo (5 hrs by Nozomi).

If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you cannot use the Nozomi, so if you are travelling from Tokyo or Nagoya you will have to take one of the hourly Hikari trains destined for Okayama and change to the Hikari Rail Star en route. An easy place to make the transfer in between trains is at Shin-Kobe or Himeji stations, where all trains arrive and depart on the same platform. During most of the day, one Hikari train is timed to arrive after the other; this yields a connection time to the Rail Star of only 5 to 15 minutes.

Another option from Tokyo is to take a westbound sleeper express such as the Sunrise Izumo or Sunrise Seto, leaving Tokyo around ten at night, and then connecting to the Shinkansen at Okayama early in the morning to arrive in Fukuoka around nine. While this takes much longer and costs slightly more than the Shinkansen (¥26,530 one way), it may be cheaper as it doubles as lodging and transport.

From Kagoshima, the new Kyushu Shinkansen line will eventually run to Fukuoka, but currently stops at Shin-Yatsushiro, with convenient connections to "relay" trains for Fukuoka. The total trip takes about two and a half hours and costs ¥10,050 each way.

From Nagasaki, the limited express Kamome runs hourly (sometimes twice an hour), taking 2 hours and costing ¥4,710 each way.

Note: Fukuoka's train station is called Hakata. If you search for schedules to "Fukuoka" online, you will likely be given an itinerary for a totally different (and much less interesting) city in northern Japan.

By bus
Many overnight bus services run into Fukuoka from other parts of the country.

The Moonlight overnight bus runs from Osaka Umeda to Fukuoka in 9 1/2 hours (¥10000 one way); The Kyoto overnight bus, appropriately, runs from Kyoto to Fukuoka, also in 9 1/2 hours (¥10500 one way); and the oddly-named Dontaku runs from Nagoya to Fukuoka in 11 hours (¥10500 one way).

If you're really ambitious, Nishitetsu bus runs an overnight service, the Hakata, from the Shinjuku expressway bus terminal in Tokyo to Fukuoka non-stop. The ride, at just over 14 hours, is Japan's longest overnight bus service. A one-way ticket will run you ¥15000; ¥27000 for a round trip.

By boat
JR Kyushu's Beetle hydrofoils to Busan (South Korea) run five times a day and take just under 3 hours for 13,000 yen (24,000 round trip and 20,000 round trip on weekdays). They are quick, but in 2005 one hit a whale and had to be towed back to Busan. Improved radar to detect such large animals and underwater objects seems to be needed. An economy-class ticket on the Meimon ferry from Osaka to Kita Kyushu costs 6,600 Yen; tickets in other price ranges are available.

Three times a week Kyuetsu Ferry Co. run a service to Naoetsu in Niigata and then on to Muroran in Hokkaido

(Article based on Wikitravel article by Wikitravel users Doug and Sakurai Midori, Wikitravel user(s) Jpatokal, Jelse, Mnd and Kohhei and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.  Article used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0.)

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