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Jet Ferry Debuts World Heritage Island Sightseeing Tour in Southwest Japan

This photo of Queen Beetle of JR Kyushu Jet Ferry was taken in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka on November 24, 2020. (Mainichi Shimbun/Ishida Munehisa)

FUKUOKA – Maritime transport operator JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Inc. announced March 10 that a new jet ferry called the “Queen Beetle” will soon take tourists to the world heritage site of Okinoshima in Fukuoka Prefecture in southwestern Japan.

The ferry was originally commissioned to carry passengers between Japan and South Korea, but the sea route has been suspended since March 2020 due to travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Queen Beetle has been running since its completion last fall. languishing in port.

As it is registered in Panama, there are restrictions on diverting the ferry for domestic routes. However, Japan’s transport ministry has given special permission to JR Kyushu Jet Ferry to operate the ship in local waters to boost tourism as the company has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting on March 20th, then on the 21st, 27th and 28th, the ferry will be used for a 3 1/2 hour tour of Okinoshima. Parent company JR Kyushu and travel agency HIS Co. are selling package tours starting at 12,000 yen (about $110) per adult. Each trip can accommodate up to 250 people, half the ship’s capacity of 500, to prevent infection. The operator originally intended to start travel in January, but it was delayed due to the second coronavirus emergency.

The Beetle Queen’s hull is painted red, reminiscent of a luxury cruise liner. The company will continue to organize the ship’s domestic sightseeing tours while waiting for the Japan-Korea route to resume operations.

(Japanese original by Ishida Munehisa Kyushu News Department)

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