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I'm in Hokkaido, Japan and it's Golden Week so many things are booked out, including longer distance ferries.

Japanese ferry websites have always been quite bad. No English version, text as images in Japanese version so no Google Translate, etc. No English speaking staff at the terminal is also usual.

I'd like to take a ferry from Hokkaido to Honshu tomorrow. My first choice seems to be booked full for the cheaper berths.

What I'm wondering is if I get to the ferry terminal at boarding time is there a chance they sell "standby" tickets for no-shows?

Is this unheard of in Japan? Pretty normal? Or some do and some don't?

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    I don't think Japanese ferries have a formal (in advance) standby system, but it's certainly possible to rock up to the ticket counter at the ferry terminal and buy tickets on the spot. – jpatokal Apr 28 at 6:36
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    I do not think so. AFAIK, neither the Matsuyama-Hiroshima ferry nor the Yawatahama-Beppu ferry take standby reservations, but not sure about things up north. Of course you can go to the ticket counter and see if they have last-minute tickets. Also, how long is "long distance"? – xuq01 Apr 28 at 22:35
  • Well overnight ferries you sleep on are definitely long distance, but it might be subjective beyond that. – hippietrail Apr 29 at 6:09

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