A ferry service connecting Fukuoka (southwest Japan) with Busan (South Korea) restarted today, November 4, becoming the first regular international sea route that Japan has restarted since suspending passenger arrivals due to the COVID crisis, the ferry operator revealed.
JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Inc's 202-built boat Queen Beetle (IMO 9874777) carrying up to 502 passengers, left Port Hakata/Fukuoka Friday morning with ~130 people onboard.
The restart of the ferry crossings between both cities for the first time since March 2020 is in line with the easing of Japan's border restrictions in October.
After Friday's sailing, the vessel will operate on Saturdays and Sundays in November 2022, connecting the Japanese and South Korean cities in 3 hours and 40 minutes.
The one-way ticket is priced at 16,000 yen ($108) but travelers in November can board the ferryboat for half price to commemorate the resumption of services. The schedule from December 2022 onward is expected to be announced later.
~100-200 seats have so far been reserved for each service in November, a company official announced.
JR Kyushu group started the route in 1991 and 6,5+ million people have used the service so far.
A special event to commemorate the restart of the service had been planned but the company decided to cancel it after the crowd crush in Seoul late last month that left 150+ people dead.