On our last day in Fukuoka we decided to visit the famous cat island Ainoshima. But before cuddling with cats we had to figure out how to get there.
So what did we do. We were looking from what city we can reach the island. Some search in the web gave us the hint: Shingu. Thanks to modern maps we easily could check what kind of trains are going there. In our case we took a route without change from Fukuoka to Shingu-Chuo by using the JR Kagoshima line from Hakata station. It costs 280 ¥ per person.
After 22 minutes you will arrive in a small town quite next to an Ikea. Make sure to take the west exit. From there you can walk around 15 minutes to Nishitetsu-Shingu which is a second station in the same town or walk to Shingu town office for 9 minutes.
You might use a train directly to Nishitetsu-Shingu to save some walking time.
If you took the longer path you will find a bus stop right next to the train station from where community buses with direction to Shinguu ferry depart. In case you can’t find it, here is a small hint: Go to the train station Nishitetsu-Shingu. As this station has one exit only, you can go about 100m left from there. You will see the small bus stop next to a bus parking spot immediately.
At the town office you will be able to use the bus as well. Not sure which ones but we stopped there on both our way to and back from the island.
Now you can take one of the small community buses.
Of course you can walk to the harbour as well. It is just 20 more minutes and if the weather is great you will enjoy the views.
When you arrive at the harbour you will find next to where the bus stops a ticket vending machine inside a building which looks like a gas station. There you can buy a ticket for 460 ¥ per person. Take care to not press the children button! You have to first put the money then you can chose the ticket.
If you managed all this you can go over to the ferry and enjoy the 20 minutes ride to the island.
If you want to leave the island you can purchase a ticket right next to the ferry. It is a dark brown building with a curved roof. There are signs that lead you to the ticket vending machine. Please buy your ticket before boarding.
Well that’s it. Actually not that complicated.
To summarize the main facts for arrival at Shingu Chuo station:
- take a train of Kagoshima line to Shingu Chuo
- leave the building to the west
- walk either to the town office or directly to Nishitetsu-Shingu Station
- turn left and walk about 100m to the bus parking spot with the bus stop
- take a community bus
At the harbour:
- buy a ticket next to the bus stop
- enjoy the ride
To leave the island:
- buy a ticket in the brown building with curved roof
- enjoy the ferry ride
- take a bus to the destination you want
On Shingu’s town homepage you can find a timetable to Ainoshima and back to Shingu.