taxi vs. subway
Download a city map, or check online for subway routes. Get a map from your hotel or at the subway itself. Service in English at the kiosks is very spotty at best, so check your route carefully first. It can get very expensive taking taxis, with the meter starting at a few dollars before the driver even moves. Having said that, the cabs are first-rate, as are the drivers, white-gloved service and all. But the subway is clean, efficient, and reasonably priced, as are the buses (which shut off at red lights, very evironmentally-friendly). Transpo is zone based, prepare your fare, get your tickets accordingly. Have someone at your hotel explain it to you and point you in the right direction, and consider getting a hotel near the subway, if you're going to be doing any degree of sightseeing. A fifteen minute taxi ride can cost around 20 USD equivalent, if memory serves me correctly.
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Hakata station is served by the fast Shinkansen bullet train service. It's just over 15 minutes from Kokura and under 2 1/2 hours from Kyoto by the Hikari Super Express Shinkansen service.
These trains are excellent - comfortable and punctual. You can either make a seat reservation, or sit in one of the carriages with unreserved seating (shown on the indicator board). There is a frequent refreshment trolley service, and you can purchase food, such as bento boxes at the station to take with you for longer journeys.
From Hakata Station it is possible to purchase a Kyushu rail pass either for Northern Kyushu or for the whole of Kyushu. We always purchase the 3 day Northern Kyushu pass for 7000 yen and have used it to go to Kumamoto, Beppu, through Aso, Nagasaki and Kitakyushu.The 5 day pass for Norhern Kyushu is 9000 yen. 3 day pass fo all Kyushu is 14.000 yen and the 5 day, all Kyushu is 17000 yen.
Unlike the Japan rail pass there is no need to purchase a voucher before coming to Japan. Just buy the pass when you arrive. You will need your passport with you when you purchase it.
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Getting to Korea from Busan
There are a number of different services to Busan from Fukuoka. We used the fast ferry beetle.
We managed to get a cheap package deal through HIS in Fukuoka which got us ferry tickets and accommodation for 20000 yen per person.
For those of you wanting to get from Korea to Japan, or vice versa, I would definitely recommend this route. There are several routes between Japan and Korea, and of course domestic routes for both countries as well.
The ferry take about three hours between Fukuoka and Busan. It's admittedly a little longer than a flight, but immigration and customs is less crowded, and check-in is quick and close to the terminals, so you can check-in late and still make it to your sailing.
For those of you who get motion sickness, this may not be the best way to go. Although it is generally smooth, because of the contact with the water, there is a lot more bumping around than your typical airplane turbulance.
Cost for a round-trip ticket from Busan to Fukuoka runs about 120,000W. It is more if you are travelling from Fukuoka. Ferries depart everyday from the Busan International Ferry Terminal, right behind Busan Station near Nampo-Dong. Be aware that ferries will be cancelled on short notice due to extreme weather (had this happen to me! My trip was delayed two weeks).
TRAIN TRAVEL IN JAPAN
The Shinkansen is by far the most convenient way to travel around Japan. Unfortunately it isn't very cheap! Luckily there is a Japan JR Rail Pass available to foreign travellers. See the JR East website for details:
It must be bought abroad and stamped in Japan before you can use it. There are several options including one week (unlimited JR travel except for the super fast Nozomi service), two week, JR East and JR West passes. Check with your local travel agent for the best option or click on the link to see for yourself!
Here is a link to a very cool page that lets you see the routing between cities/stations/ports within Japan. It will tell you the route and includes the cost and time. http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/.
The subway system is very easy...
The subway system is very easy to use. Here is the subway map at Nishijin (where I lived) going in the direction of most everything else. Each station has its own colorful and memorable icon. It is not so cheap to ride, but much cheaper than taking taxis and easier than figuring out the bus system.
Fukuoka Airport is located just a fifteen to twenty-five minute drive from the
Hakata Station and Tenjin downtown areas. Fukuoka Airport is one of the most conveniently located international airports in
Japan. The subway connects to the Aiport for 200 yen from Hakata.
Fukuoka has an international airport which was recently upgraded. It is connected to the domestic terminal by free bus. The easiest way to get to the domestic terminal from Hakata train station is by subway but there is also a Nishitetsu bus.
Hakata (the center of Fukuoka) is the end of the Shinkansen line which connects north with Osaka and Tokyo etc.
Avoid taxis like the plague.... VERY EXPENSIVE!!
I would take a bus or use the subway (starts at 200yen a trip). Recently Nishitetsu bus started a 100yen service around the center of Fukuoka. This will get you from Hakata to Canal City- a great shopping mall.
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MAP OF FUKUOKA: Click HereMAP...
MAP OF FUKUOKA: Click Here
MAP OF SUBWAY OF FUKUOKA: Click Here
JR Hakata Station to Momochi Lamp
Reaching Fukuoka Tower by bus is easy. Just take bus from JR Hakata Station going to Momochi Lamp .
Bus stop# 5
Estimated travel time - 35 mins.
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The perfect way to travel.
This bunch of little sweeties came past us as we wandered around the gates of Fukuoka Castle. I sometimes wish someone would push me around in one of these.
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