Amami-Oshima and Yakushima islands, a couple of popular tourist destinations located in Kagoshima Prefecture, are already more easily accessible together.
In early March trial operations of a ferry connecting Amami-Oshima and Yakushima Islands was started, while the first charter flight between the two was flown in February.
Amami-Oshima is seeking for inclusion in UNESCO World Natural Heritage list during summer 2018. Yakushima marks 25th anniversary of the designation this year.
Tourism officials expect the introduction of routes connecting the two representative sightseeing sites in the prefecture to boost tourism, as there had been no ferries or flights directly linking the islands.
The 1-year trial operations of the ferry began on March 4. The regular ride, offered once every 4 days, links Naha with Kagoshima via Naze port on Amami-Oshima.
The cruise ferry will also visit Miyanoura port on Yakushima in case 20 or more cruise passengers make reservations.