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This New Overnight Ferry In Japan Has Onsen With A View, Tatami Rooms & Buffet With Sashimi

Sunflower Murasaki Ferry in Japan

Anime, ramen, and sakura are some of the many reasons why we save our ALs for a trip to Japan. Don’t even get us started on Super Nintendo World and the Ghibli Park in Nagoya. Even the JR trains are an attraction in itself, and are appreciated by us all, train otakus or not. 

So, what if we were to say that the shining, speedy JR isn’t the only cool public transport that Japan has to offer? Enter a new overnight ferry that runs between Osaka and Beppu. Toss everything you can hope for in a ferry into a mix – we’re talking onsen, tatami suites, and buffets – and you will get the Sunflower Murasaki.

New Osaka-Beppu ferry with onsen bath, dog run & buffets

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - lobby
3-storey atrium with projection mapping on the ceiling.
Image credit: Ferry Sunflower

Spectrum of the Seas and Dream Cruises? We love them. But you’re still going to want to make some time for the Sunflower Murasaki on your next trip to sushi-land. If you haven’t heard of the ferry, that’s no surprise since it only started operations in April 2023, with 12-hour overnight journeys that run daily.

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - onsen
Onsen-style baths.
Image credit: Ferry Sunflower 

When Japan does anything, she does it well, and that holds here. This ferry comes with a large public bath, split by gender. Both come with giant windows so you can enjoy the view of the sea while unwinding in your birthday suit.

Now, we love onsen and cruises, but enjoying an onsen on a cruise was a desire that never struck – until now. 

buffet area
Image credit: Ferry Sunflower

While the journey may only be a 1-night affair, foodies will be pleased to know that there are 2 buffet sessions on board. Enjoy free-flow chocolate fondue, pasta, sashimi, cakes, and fruits during dinner at ¥2,300/adult (~S$21.60). Then, kickstart the next day with a buffet breakfast at ¥750/adult (~S$7).

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - sashimi buffet
Image credit: @a12345ayu via Instagram

Beer (¥500, ~S$4.70), sake (¥250, ~S$2.30), and wine (¥1,570/bottle, ~S$14.70) are all also available on board because wine not?

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - vending machine
Image credit: Hiroshi Project

Kids corner, baby care room, lockers, vending machine, and even a pet room and dog run for pawrents? You name it; they have it. 

Rooms from $115/pax – Cheaper than taking the JR train

You’re probably thinking this is more “atas cruise” than “ferry” and you’re right. The ship has 268 staterooms for passengers to reside in with a variety of room types, from dorms to suites, to choose from. 

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - dorm room
Image credit: Ferry Sunflower

Prices begin from a fairly reasonable ¥12,340yen /person (~S$115.82) for a Dorm bed. For budget travellers, this is considerably cheaper than taking a JR train from Osaka to Beppu which costs S$175/pax

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - rooms
Image credit: Ferry Sunflower

If you prefer a private room, you can consider the Japanese-style Deluxe Rooms (from ¥50,680, ~S$S$475 for 2 pax) that comes with traditional tatami-style beds. 

Image credit: Ferry Sunflower

Honeymooners can even swing for the super fancy Suite (from ¥60,680, ~S$569) that comes with a bathtub, TV, and balcony. You’ll get 5-star treatment with amenities like nightwear, sparkling wine, and clothing deodorant provided. If you’re coming with a group of friends instead, the spacious room also fits up to 4 pax.

Plus, pet-friendly and connecting rooms are also available if you’re travelling with animals or kids. 

Spice up your Japan itinerary with a ride on the Sunflower Murasaki 

sunflower murasaki ferry japan - ship
Image credit: Ferry Sunflower

Travelling from one city to another can be tedious – what with stiff necks from uncomfortable bus seats, and eye bags from red eye flights. But that doesn’t always have to be the case, especially when you pick comfier transport options like the Sunflower Murasaki. If anything, you’ll come out looking more rejuvenated than before thanks to the good food and relaxing onsen soaks.

Find out more about the Sunflower Murasaki ferry


For more adventures in Japan: 

Cover image adapted from: Ferry Sunflower, @a12345ayu via Instagram
Originally published on 29th June 2023.