Japan- The Land of the Rising Sun
In 2018 a 120 meter yacht stopped in Japan for 3 weeks and to do a quick 2 week owners trip…. They ended up staying for 9 months completing multiple trips, maintenance periods, visiting 66 ports and loving Japan…they are coming back in 2019!
With a culture as old and rich as Europe; southern islands with beaches and crystal clear waters to rival the best of the Caribbean; northern cruising destinations to better the best of the Mediterranean; Japan is one of the most exciting and undiscovered cruising areas in yachting today.
Japan sits in the Pacific Ocean, to the east of China, Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. “The Land of the Rising Sun” is a nation comprising almost seven thousand islands, the largest 4 of which are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku, together accounting for 97% of land area. Most of the islands are mountainous and many of these mountains, like Mount Fuji, are volcanic. The Japanese culture dates back over 2,600 years of fascinating history, all which is very evident in Japan; however the historical past is right alongside the future, in one of the most modern societies and infrastructures on earth. Couple all of this with some of the most incredible cruising in the world, a climate that stretches from skiing in the North, to beaching in the south (sometimes on the same day or weekend!), wildlife, food, people, landscape … this makes the experience of cruising Japan, a life changing one.
Japan stretches for over 3 thousand kilometers from North to South and has 50% more coastline than the United States. Yachting infrastructure is good and well established with large yacht marinas established for well over 30 years. Japan has around 100 airports half of which are international and many that have jet centers. Domestic flights to get around Japan are plentiful and bullet trans run at over 300 kph every few minutes in all directions all over Japan.
Cruising in Japan is year round and there are 5 broad cruising regions.
The Southern Islands region consist of the island chain stretching from Taiwan to the most South Westerly mainland Islands of Kyushu. These Islands are often referred to as Ryukyu and the most southerly island Ishigaki serves as the gateway into Japan from the South and West with excellent clearing in facilities and an international airport. Its easy to spend a week just cruising around the small Island group of Ishigaki, but further along are the Islands on of Miyako, Zamami, Okinawa, Amami Oshim, Yakushima and many more. These latitudes are similar to Florida and the Bahamas, with crystal clear warm waters and stunning coral reefs and beaches. Many of the islands themselves are mountainous jungles.
Kyushu and is hundreds of outlying Islands is a fascinating experience. It is a very large island with many volcanoes and hot springs; and areas of great culture and beauty. Growing cities like Fukuoka have good marinas for yachts of up to and over 90 meters. The port city of Nagasaki has stunning mega yacht docks in the middle if the city and was described recently as an absolute “must do” experience for owners and guests.
The Seto Naikai (Inland Sea) is one of the prime jewels in Japan’s cruising crown. 300 miles long with 3,000 islands, the waterway is completely sheltered from the open ocean by the islands of Kyushu in the West, Honshu to the North and East and Shikoku to the South. The massive mountains on these bordering islands, make the inland sea a protected area d=from ocean swells as well as winds from typhoons, etc. The city of Hiiroshima is in the Inland Sea and again is a must see stop on a Japan cruise. Deserted islands, private islands, restaurant, hotel and spa destinations, golf, art islands; all ending up in the Kansai megalopolis of Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.
The far North Route is wild and remote, taking in the island of Hokkaido and its outlying Islands. This area is like Maine and Newfoundland with Icebergs and completely frozen seas in winter, and has a wealth of wildlife and natural beauty.
The Southern Coast route is back into the Pacific Ocean and is the cruising route from Osaka to Tokyo and Yokohama. Taking in the Shizuoka coastline under Mount Fuji, Ise and it thousands of shrines, the rugged coastline of the Izu Penninsular and the coastal town of Atami, known as “little Monaco”, to Yokohama the port city right next to Tokyo, making up the largest and richest city in the world, home to almost 40 million people. Tokyo has more Michelin stars than London, Paris and New York combined, and if it was a country it would be the 8th largest economy on the planet. For yachts the berthing facilities in historic port city of Yokohama (part of greater Tokyo) is the natural place to base to explore the entire city.
This year over 20 megayachts of over 50m are headed to Japan for the Rugby World Cup and more are signing up for 2020 Olympic Games.
Japan has 994 Commercial ports, 2,823 Fisherman's ports, 125 major shipyards: 97 airports and 168 marinas, however the marinas mainly are for smaller yachts around 20 marinas can accommodate larger mega yachts and with a new dedicated megayacht facility coming in 2020 for Yokohama which will be able to accommodate any size yacht with 400 meters of alongside dockage and stern to dockage for yachts of up to around 80 meters, Japan is building infrastructure for the future and Japan’s Superyacht Association working hard with the government to adapt regulations to make it easy for yachts… Japan is opening up to visiting yachts!
Know before you go
Super Yacht Logistics Co. Ltd
Bayside Marina, Yokohama +81 (0)50 5539 7667
Ft Lauderdale +1 954 467 2506 London +44 (0)20 8123 2624
Customs, immigration, vessel clearance - paperwork must be with an agent and processed a few weeks prior to arrival.
Currency, Time and Language.
Japanese Yen. Roughly 1150 JPY= 1US Dollar, GMT +8 (no summer time change) Many people do not speak English even though they try! Yacht experienced translators/interpreters available.
A huge shipping industry in Japan means that navigation is definitely exciting! Tidal flows can rip through the islands of the Inland Sea forming good sized vortexes so caution is necessary. Navigational aids are outstanding. English speaking guides and experienced pilots are available.
Cruising season is year round, with July thru September hot weather and generally flat seas. Summer typhoons are possible, however excellent protection in all of the major port cities and in the Inland Sea.
Bunkering and Marine Parts.
Bunkering arranged through your agent for any part of Japan. Marine parts through Super Yacht Logistics, (above) which has a direct link with its offices in Florida and Europe.
Japan has a very modern marina infrastructure that can cater to vessels of all sizes. Regular domestic power in Japan is 110 like the USA and marinas generally supply 220v – 480v A/C.
Food is different in Japan, not to mention the cashiers speak another language!! Get provisioning help available from your agent, at least for the first go!
You can bring food stocks to Japan onboard the yacht, as long as it stays onboard the yacht.
Mobile phone SIM cards available from your agent.