Japan is an archipelago constituted of four big islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu et Shikoku, and about 6,800 islands of more than 100m² surface. Boat is thus a widespread method of transportation for Japanese people as well as for tourists. Some small islands are only accessible by boat, such as Ogasawara archipelago in the south of Tokyo.
Moreover, boat rides on lakes offer wonderful views on Japanese mountains. Mount Fuji is surrounded by the Five Lakes region, and it is possible to cruise on Biwa-ko, the biggest lake in the country, near Kyoto.
Aside train or plane, boat is also a good choice to travel long distance, such as going to the southern islands from Tokyo or Osaka’s ports. Ferryboats are then furnished to accommodate passengers for the night, with restauration and cabins, according to the chosen comfort class. National companies provide online tickets purchasing, most of the time in English language. Tickets can also be bought directly at the port’s ticket booth before boarding. If you have some time to travel, this method can help save quite a lot of money.