Kanmon Straits and Fukuoka, Japan MAR 4 2024

The day after we left Kobe we had a day of scenic cruising through the Kanmon Straits.  We are traveling from the east side of Japan to the west side of Japan. This is a stretch of water separating Honshu and Kyushu, two of Japan’s four main islands.

A Lonely Lighthouse

We went under the Kanmon Bridge, a suspension bridge.

The Straits connect the Sea of Japan and the Inland Sea. The Kanmon Straits is used by many cargo ships as a shortcut to Osaka and Tokyo from Korea and China. It is less than half a mile between Honshu and Kyushu in the Kanmon Straits. The day was overcast, not a perfect view for taking pictures. And of course, very cold!

On March 5th we arrived in Fukuoka, our last Japanese port.

We did not book an excursion, thinking a shuttle would be available into the city center. On our arrival it was cold, rainy and no shuttle was available. We were happy to stay onboard. Between noon and 3:30 everyone had to go off the ship into the port terminal for a mandatory face to face immigration inspection as we “checked out” of Japan. Since we had a 1:00 appointment for our Bridge tour, we were in line right at noon to get checked.

Our Early Morning Arrival

Same Tower

At 1:00 a crew member came down to Desk Services and escorted ten of us up to “The Bridge” on Deck eight. The Bridge is the brain of the ship where all the helm/steering, speed, navigation and ship’s current conditions takes place. Think of it as the cockpit of an airplane only much, much larger. The first thing you notice are the huge windows followed by all the electronics. We were told we could take pictures but we were asked not to put them on social media for security reasons. Therefore we are limited in the pictures we can post on the blog. A senior officer named Tim gave us a tour. For over an hour he explained everything and answered all our group questions on every subject we could think of. He did an excellent job and we certainly left feeling even safer than ever. I asked what areas of the world are particularly challenging and he said definitely China. There is so much boat and ship traffic in that area of the world. The Chinese ships and boats don’t always pay attention or obey the rules. They particularly like to cross too close in front of big ships like cruise ships. They think doing so wards off evil spirits. Tim said they have to get themselves mentally prepared for Chinese waters. It was an informative and fascinating tour.

In the evening each cabin received an interesting flyer in our cabin mailboxes. A tailor would be on the ship for several days taking orders for custom made clothing for men and women. Fittings for orders of all types of clothing of many different quality fabrics from England, Italy and France would be taken. The clothing would be ready to be picked up when we reach Hong Kong on March 16th. It would be interesting to know how many passengers took advantage of this offer. 

Next up: Shanghai, China 

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