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We found a cheap way to get from Tokushima to Kyushu by taking the Tokyo Ocean Ferry line. Tickets for two were about $125 and sailed overnight, arriving in Kita-Kyushu near Hakata early in the morning. The tickets included vouchers for a cab ride to the train station. Accomodations are first or second class, with second class being half as much as the cabin we opted for. If you choose second class there is an open berthing area shown in the pictures. The restaurant had pretty good prices for a captive clientele, the baths were clean and hot and had windows looking out onto the ocean. Toilets are shared but showers are lockable stalls making it far superior to anything we ever had in the navy. They also haul cargo but the plus side is you can bring your car along (+Y14,000).
The ferry is quite large and hugs the coast in open ocean. We had good weather so it didn't rock too much and there are vending machines, a restaurant, a baths and a few other amenities including great views of Shikoku's coast. The only downside was that they hustle you off the boat as soon as it moors.
Tokushima is the central port in the Tokyo-Tokushima- Kita-Kyushu line so I think you could take this to or from Tokyo if you so chose, but I have no experience with that leg. Our travel time was about 12 easy hours. No transferring trains, no hauling luggage from place to place, plenty of space to move around. The chedulemakes it appear that the ferry runs daily, leaving about 3:00.
Updated Jan 20, 2008
Website: www.otf.jp Japanese only
I'm not so sure I would call this a sports tip so much as a gambling tip, but in the ship canal they have a boat racing arena set up where people can come and wager. The picture is shot from above, on the bridge looking down into the stadium.
Written Jan 26, 2006
Favorite thing: Along with most of the rest of Tokushima, the castle was reduced to matchsticks and gravel during the war, but unlike the city, has not been rebuilt. They have, however, restored the gates. The gates are the focal point for a civic park of modest size, and the gates are of some interest.
Fondest memory: I really think the best memory I have of Tokushima is just the sense of being such a conspicuous foreigner. Unlike Europe and even Latin America, there is no way I "could" be from Japan. I wanted to go somewhere very very different, and Tokushima really fit that bill!
Written Jan 27, 2006