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The Xin Jian Zhen Ferry

There wasn't that much information online about what we could expect from our voyage between China and Japan, so hopefully this information will be useful to others considering making the trip.

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Our ferry left Shanghai at 1pm on Saturday, arriving in Osaka at 9.30am on Monday. Each week the destination alternates between Osaka and nearby Kobe. There's another boat, run by the Shanghai Ferry Co. Ltd (website), which leaves Shanghai on Tuesday, arriving in Osaka on Thursday.

We reserved our tickets online (website). Unfortunately it's not possible to pay online - you need to pay in cash at the desk at the port. At Shanghai International Ferry Terminal this is located next to the currency exchange desk. As the yuan is non-convertible outside China, it's a good idea to change any leftover yuan to yen. The restaurant, cafe and shop all take both currencies, but the food and drink dispensing machines take only yen.

Straight after payment your temperature will be checked to ensure you're not carrying anything nasty. Then, after a quick check of your passport, you're loaded onto a coach and driven about 100 metres up the road to the ship.

We went for a second-class Western-style berth - eight beds per room - which cost 1,300 yuan each plus 100 yuan for oil and 30 yuan port tax. This equalled around £135 in total - much cheaper than any flights we found between the two cities.

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We were surpised at how few people were making the trip with us - though the boat has a capacity of around 350, there were fewer than 50 passengers. Whether this was typical, down to the time of year or due to worries about radiation after the tsunami in March, we weren't sure.

A restaurant serves reasonably priced meals (around 300-400 yen per dish, including meat, fish and vegetable dishes) though the food is served pretty much stone cold.

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Breakfast is included for free. There's an announcement at 8am to say the restaurant is open, but you'll probably already be awake from the announcement and music played from 7.30am.

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Other facilities include a shop selling snacks and souvenirs (useful if you have spare yuan to use up), cafe (pictured below), karaoke bar, mahjong room, ping-pong table, computer room and washing machines and dryers.

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There are quite a few places to sit and read or just look out of the window. We found the trip passed quite quickly and were in Osaka before we knew it.

We had our temperatures taken before being let off. From there we went through immigration remarkably quickly (a quick passport check, fingerprint scan and portrait photo before being issued with a 90-day visa) and then onto customs, where we had our bags thoroughly checked.

There's a free shuttle bus from the port to Cosmosquare Station, which connects to the rest of Osaka's subway system. Again, it's useful to have some yen at this point as the only international ATM is in the Post Office in the ATC building, a short walk away.

Posted by shoestring 21:27 Tagged osaka boat japan china shanghai ferry

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I hope you went and thrashed them at mah jong!

by frances ray

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