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Old 19 Jul 2007
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Howto: Fushiki-Vladivostok ferry

Japan to Russia via Fushiki-Vladivostok ferry.

All of this was accurate in May 2007. Waypoints noted with (*) are (very) close but not spot-on, either because we took it whilst driving, or only thought about creating a waypoint 200m away 

Also read the excellent website of Chris in Tokyo: www2.gol.com/users/chrisl/japan

1) Booking & Paying

If you are travelling with a car you must book ahead (several weeks if possible). A bike they can always squeeze in, passengers are no problem. We booked via United Orient Shipping. They normally only accept bookings in their Tokyo office, where you will meet the infamous mister Yoshida Kozo:

Mr. Yoshida Kozo
United Orient Shipping Agency
Minato-Shintomi Building 4F
11-4, Shintimi 2-Chome
Tel: 03-5541-7511
Fax: 03-3552-7322
GPS: N 35° 40,887 E 139° 47,541 (=parking opposite the office)

You can try mailing, sometimes he is quick, sometimes not.. If you are in Tokyo anyway, it might save you some hassle to go to his office. He will need to request availability for the car from Russia which normally takes one day. In our case it took him one week. You can pick up your tickets in his office or have him arrange it so you can pick it up in Fushiki on the day you leave. TIP: Student passengers get a discount. You will be asked to fill in a form, they copy your passport and student card and you get some documentation including a useless map of their Fushiki office.

You pay in cash Japanese Yen when you receive the tickets. We payed 37,960Yen per person (without student discount it would be 41,400Yen) and 51,750Yen for the car.

Alternatively, you can book via FKK in Fushiki, I have no idea how that goes, but their office is at: (*) N 36° 47,480 E 137° 03,947

Also check out the website of the company operating the ship, it’s in English and the information is up-to-date and correct: BUSINESSINTOURSERVICE // Tourist Company

2) Embarking, customs & immigration.

Ship normally leaves on Fridays. They start loading around noon and it takes until early evening before the ship sails. You can pick up your tickets (if you arranged it like that) at the Fushiki Kairiku Onsu building:

Fushiki Kairiku Unso Co., Ltd (picture here)
5-1 Fushiki Minatomachi
Takaoka city, Toyama-Pref, Japan
Tel 0766-45-1164
Fax 0766-45-1167
GPS: N 36° 47,485 E 137° 03,962
Contact person: Mr. Waisaka

Do not expect too much English there, Russian might help though! Normally you have to pay on the second floor for loading charges: 15.000Yen/car or 5000/bike . If you have too much money you can have them take care of your Carnet for 5,900Yen. If they feel like it they might also charge you a documentation fee of 5000Yen. We initially payed 15.000Yen for loading, but when we complained this was really too much they refunded us the full amount.

Next is customs, it is right around the corner (ask, everybody knows where it is). Second floor. Took them 5 minutes to stamp the carnet, they did not look at the car.

Once you have the tickets and the carnet, you can drive into to loading area next to the M/V rus which is opposite of the Fushiki Kairiku Unso building. You can’t miss it, it is where cars are floating in mid-air on their way to the deck. They will ask you to pop the bonnet, and leave your keys on the contact. You are not allowed to drive it on yourself (bikes may be allowed). At this point you might be asked for a 10$US fee for the “bill of lading”. This is legit although you do not get a receipt. If the guy misses you there, you will be asked to pay onboard.

You can now watch how your car is being loaded or already board the ship. Bikers beware: they do not use latching ropes to secure the bike, as a matter of fact, they don’t use anything! You might want to be there to see how your bike is being secured.

Around 3PM an immigrations officer comes onboard in the ballroom and stamps your passport. They will keep your passport until it is stamped again by an immigration officer in Russia.

That’s it, enjoy your trip into the seventies! (you’ll understand when you see the boat). Don’t forget to check out the swimming pool (picture) and safety equipment (picture). But joking aside, this boat seemed safe and the staff was friendly. The trip is full board, listen carefully to the announcements when the restaurant is open (only for 1 hour), this might be confusing as the boat is on a “ship time”. Bars and shops onboard are to be payed in US$.

3) Disembarking, customs & Immigration

Ship arrives on Sunday morning. While you enjoy your breakfast an immigration officer is busy stamping all the passports. Pick up your passport in the ballroom, you will also be supplied with a Bill of Lading. When you leave the ship, you have to que trough immigration and luggage control by customs, you are then free!

But your car is not! As it is Sunday, it is virtually impossible to get your car trough on the same day. Customs is working on Sunday but not with full staf. When we tried the lady who issues the temporary import license was not there. You can try arranging it all on Monday (start early, offices open at 9AM), or see how far you can get on Sunday.

Conveniently, the customs office is not located anywhere near the port. It is located in Strelnikova Street. You can get there by taking bus number 20 which leaves across the street from the train station (and thus the port building) about 200metres to the right (with your back to the train station). A ride costs 7roebles (There is an ATM in the port building).

The bus drops you on a square, take the street to the left across from where you are dropped. Walk all the way to the end and go up the hill on the right all the way to the end again. Just before you walk into some shacks is the office on the left.

To get the temporary import license you need:

- Car registration
- Third party insurance. This can be bought in the little office annex container outside the customs office. Only available for 20days or 6 months. We payed 3.063 for our Landcruiser for 6 months. Price depends on horsepower. Insurance office is not open on Sunday.
- A letter in Russian adressed to the chief of customs with the details of your car and visum and the statement that you will re-export the vehicle before the expiry date of your visum. A friendly lady at customs wrote this letter for us. At first they told us to use an agent for this, he quoted the insane amount of 5000roebel for this service. As usual, avoid agents!
- A copy of your bill of lading stamped by a gazillion authorities. You can normally pick this up on the second floor of the customs building after 3PM on Monday. As we were already there on Sunday and they where in a good mood, they processed ours on the spot.
- 100 roebel. No idea why, but we got a receipt.

If you have obtained the valuable piece of paper, you can pick up your car from the customs depot which is located next to the port building. They close at 5PM. You will be charged for unloading fees, we tried for a while to get around this, but to no avail. We payed 4.950roebels for the car. A bike is about half of that.

Unfasten your seatbelts and enjoy Russia!
2006-2007-2008 : Brussels - Cape town - Tokio - Lubumbashi - Brussels


Last edited by 2cvfred; 19 Jul 2007 at 11:39. Reason: Added hyperlinks
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