I am currently working on a comprehensive Japan Cruising Guide, which will provide information on all aspects of cruising Japan and detailed information on moorage options throughout the country. Drawing on my drafts for the Cruising Guide, some "Kirk's Take" posts will provide "Port Reports" on places that foreign cruisers are likely to visit, starting with Fukuoka (divided into three posts).
Feel free to contact me to suggest other ports you would like me to introduce in "Kirk's Take."
Fukuoka, Part One
Fukuoka (also referred to as Hakata), with a population of about 1.6 million, is Japan's sixth largest city and the largest west of Osaka. Located at the northern end of Kyushu, it has long been Japan's gateway to Asia and vice versa.
Fukuoka is a popular stop for foreign cruisers, especially those going north through the Sea of Japan to Hokkaido and beyond as well as for those heading east to the Seto Inland Sea. It is also a convenient port for those going to/from South Korea. There are three excellent moorage options, very good haul-out and repair facilities, and a wide variety of shops and restaurants. With an international airport and Shinkansen station, it is also a good place to leave one's boat while going sightseeing, making a visa run to Korea, or flying home for a few weeks or months.
Located on the south shore of Hakata Bay, Fukuoka's harbors are well protected. In the winter, though, strong NW winds blasting down from Siberia do make conditions a bit bouncy, especially in Fukuoka City Yacht Harbor. Although several typhoons a year typically pass close by Fukuoka, the surrounding mountains and islands protect the city from the worst of the winds and waves.
The entrance to Hakata Bay is wide and well marked, whether approaching from the west or the north. Just stay well clear of the rocks and reefs in both entrances and keep a careful watch for the many cargo ships and ferries (especially high-speed hydrofoils heading to / from South Korea) that transit the area. Also avoid the fixed-net areas, indicated with red-line boxes on the accompanying map.
Fukuoka is an Open Port. As such, one is technically required to file port entry/exit paperwork with the Coast Guard and, if one does not have a Naikosen, with Customs. In recent years, though, Fukuoka officials have relaxed their enforcement of these paperwork requirements, so waiting to be asked for the paperwork is often the best approach (if you have AIS, they know you have arrived). And the marinas will be in a good position to know current attitudes about doing the paperwork. If you have to go to the Coast Guard and Customs offices, they are far away and hard to get to by public transportation.
As marked with red dots on the map above, cruisers have three good moorage options to choose from in Fukuoka. Going from west to east, they are Fukuoka City Yacht Harbor, Nishi-Fukuoka Marina Marinoa, and Nagahama fishing port.
Following is an introduction to Fukuoka City Yacht Harbor. The other two will be introduced in separate posts - Part Two and Part Three of Port Report, Fukuoka.
Fukuoka City Yacht Harbor
Commonly referred to as Odo, this is a sailboat-only facility owned by the city. It is one of Japan's main training bases for competitive dinghy racing.
As shown on the accompanying map, approach Odo from the north, avoiding the fixed fishing nets (seasonal) and the many dinghies that may be in the area. Visitors moor on the three long finger piers at the north end of the marina, nearest to the entrance (red flags). Moor on the west side of each pier (bow in, port-tie). The quietest spot is at the southern end of the middle pier. After tying up, go to the club house to register. If you are planning on a long-term stay (i.e., more than a couple of weeks), ask if there is room for you on an inside slip.
Fukuoka City Yacht Harbor Information
- Open year-round, except Dec. 29 - Jan. 3
- Fukuoka City Yacht Harbor (Japanese only, but with one PDF with basic English information)
- Although there is almost always room on the Visitor Docks, it is best to try to make a reservation. However, the office often does not reply to English-language emails, so you may just have to turn up without a reservation.
- 40' Rate: ¥4,100 / day; ¥45,900 / month
- Same rate for catamarans (but may change in 2022)
- Maximum length: 60'
- Long-term visitor moorage possible (basic monthly rate)
- Dryland storage not available
- Payment by cash or wire transfer
- No (use Nishi-Fukuoka Marina Marinoa, see next "Kirk's Take")
- Yes (¥400 / use)
- Yes (coin-operated; ¥300 - 400 / shower)
- Garbage Disposal
- Yes (¥100 / bag)
- Free, in clubhouse only
- Repair / Maintenance
- Full range of services provided by two on-site firms, bringing in outside mechanics as necessary.
Monohulls only - blue star on map
- Length: 50'
- Weight: 20t
- 40' Out / In Rate: ¥17,640
- Daily fee: ¥790 (+ moorage fee if not paying Odo moorage)
- Cradle fee: Free for clients of the on-site repair firms or ￥6,000 day for those doing their own work.
- Can handle five boats at a time.
- Nearby Services
Small on-site chandlery that can order almost anything and have it arrive within one or two days if available in Japan.
Within a 10-minute walk (see map below):
- Two supermarkets (including small restaurant in one) - red flags
- Large hardware store - blue flag
- Laundromat - green flag
- Public bath / spa, with restaurant - orange flag
- Post office - red dot
- 10-minute bus ride or 20-minute walk to subway station (Meinohama), direct line to downtown (Tenjin), Shinkansen station, and airport. Marina office can also order a taxi.