Taking a RORO (roll-on roll-off) ferry from Japan to South Korea isn’t a well-documented procedure, but don’t worry, it’s simple enough. This guide will point you in the right direction and get you across.
There are three main ferries that operate between Japan and South Korea: DBS Ferries, Kampu Ferries and Camellia Line. Check out their routes below.
You can enter and exit on any of the three ferries. For some reason, people think that if you enter Japan with one company, you must use them again to leave – not true. This is probably because if you entered Japan using a Temporary Import, then it stipulates that you must enter and exit using a ferry, but it doesn’t say that it must be the same one.
Carnet de Passage vs Temporary Import in Japan for Overland Travellers
We shipped from Vladivostok, Russia to Sakaminato, Japan with DBS ferries. And we used Kampu Ferries to get from Shimanoseki to Busan. The reason we didn’t go with DBS again was because their sailing times are further apart, slightly more expensive and they ship to Donghae, while we needed to get to Busan to ship our bike out of the country. So, this guide will focus on the Kampu ferry from Shimonoseki to Busan.
Making a reservation
Throughout the year, the ferry sails daily. But the frequency may reduce in the winter months, so check in advance.
The latest you can make a reservation is one week in advance and the earliest is two months before your boarding day. To make a reservation you will need:
- A carnet or temporary import – you must have a valid CDP or Japanese Temporary Import document.
- International Driver’s Licence – you must have a valid IDP to enter South Korea
- Driver’s Information sheet – this is an document the Kampu ferry staff will email you. It has basic info on there for you to fill out like passport number, vehicle chassis number, address in Korea etc.
NOTE: You may be asked for an Automobile Inspection document to be sent along with the above. We didn’t receive one when entering Japan and told them we didn’t have one to send. This wasn’t a problem.
You need to scan the above bullet pointed documents and email them to Kampu ferries.
- Example fare for one person and a motorcycle in second class is 24,000 JPY
- Port facility tax is 610 JPY (cash only)
- Fuel surcharge 600 JPY
- Passenger tax for ‘promotion of international tourism’ – 1000 JPY (cash only)
NOTE: You can pay for the fare and the fuel surcharge by card, but the port tax and tourist tax must be paid in Japanese Yen. You will need to pay when you check in.
NOTE: There is an additional charge of 9,000 JPY for a motorcycle passenger.
The below prices include the passage of one motorcycle:
- 2nd class – about 10 people to one room – 24,000yen.
- 1st class – private room with western style bunk bed – 29,500yen
- Deluxe room – wider than 1st class with western style twin beds – 37,000yen
For more info visit http://www.kampuferry.co.jp/passenger/english/top.html
Check-in time is between 15:00-15:30.
The ship sets sail at 19:45 and arrives at 08:00 the next day.
Arrive at the ferry terminal for 15:00, park your vehicle downstairs and head upstairs to the paying desks. You will need all the documentation you scanned over, plus your passport and vehicle registration documents. Once you’ve paid, they will give you a map to the customs building and a document to give to them. Get back in your vehicle and drive there. Ignore the map as it’s rubbish. Instead, use these co-ordinates.
When you get to the customs building, go around the back and park up. It won’t look like much but this is where you enter. The staff didn’t understand what I needed or wanted and asked me to go back to the ferry port. You will need to persevere here as you 100% need to have your temporary import document or carnet de passage stamped out of Japan in this building and hand them some paperwork. Someone should eventually take you and your document upstairs for processing. There is no money to be paid here.
Shimonoseki, Japan Customs building for exporting vehicle to South Korea co-ordinates: 33.945083, 130.923287
Back to the ferry terminal
Once you ride back to the ferry building, you will need to drive your vehicle upstairs and park it in the inspection building. They will inspect it around 18:00, so feel free to walk around or visit the mall, which is along the main bridge. Once you’ve been inspected you will go through passport control then be led onto the ferry.
On the ferry
- There is a small restaurant, an overpriced shop, arcade and not much else on the ferry. There is, however, a nice little onsen (men and women are separate). I’d advise to take your own food and water.
- The crossing takes 10 hours
- The busiest time of year is July and August
- Max capacity of 400 people
- It always runs at the same time.
SOUTH KOREA SIDE
You will be met by a Kampu Ferry representative who will take you to visit customs, get cash out of an ATM and pay for your insurance and Warranty.
You will need to purchase:
- Vehicle liability insurance – Vehicle insurance (cash only in Korean won)
- Warranty fee – this is what they call a Temporary Import (cash only in Korean won)
Both documents are very expensive. For 7 days of insurance (assuming you are 30+ years old) expect to pay 80USD (same for motorbike or car). For 1 month it’s 180USD.
The warranty fee is not much better. See below.
The important thing to note here is that your ‘warranty fee’ will last as long as your insurance. If you buy one week’s worth of insurance then that’s how long your temporary import is for.
Customs will want to know that you are leaving the country again. If you are planning on shipping your vehicle out of South Korea then you may need to provide them with your agent’s details for them to confirm.
You do not need an agent to get through customs in South Korea. It is very straightforward.
If you are shipping out of the country then consider how long you need insurance for carefully. Once your vehicle has been crated then it will be moved to a customs bonded warehouse. Once there, you don’t need insurance, even though the bike is technically still in the country.
For example, I purchased one week’s insurance and entered on a Monday. On Friday my bike was crated and on Tuesday the following week it was loaded onto the ship. But, the crating and shipping was all pre-booked and pre-planned before even entering South Korea. You don’t want to arrive and then arrange it otherwise you may need to return to customs to purchase another week.
Customs may also want to see you again before you leave the country if they believe your bike wasn’t crated before the expiry of your insurance. Your shipping agent will be able to handle this before you leave customs for the first time over the phone.
You will eventually get your insurance, warranty and a big yellow sticker. These papers are gold dust, don’t lose them. You’re now free to go!
Please remember, all prices are subject to change. Always check with these providers first.
Please feel free to ask us any questions about this guide in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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