Ferries connect most of the islands of Japan. Some of the more-popular routes are from Tokyo to Tomakomai or Kushiro in Hokkaido; from Tokyo to Shikoku; and from Tokyo or Osaka to Kyushu. You can purchase ferry tickets in advance from travel agencies or before boarding. The ferries are inexpensive and are a pleasant, if slow, way of traveling. Private cabins are available, but it's more fun to travel in the economy class, where everyone sleeps on the carpeted floor in one large room. Passengers eat, drink, and enjoy themselves in a convivial atmosphere. There is little English information for local ferries, apart from three companies serving the Inland Sea between Osaka/Kobe and Kyushu.
Ferry Sunflower (0120/56–3268. www.ferry-sunflower.co.jp/language/english.)
Hankyu Ferry (www.han9f.co.jp.)
Meimon Taiyo Ferry (www.cityline.co.jp.)