The following is detailed information on how to get to the Kagoshima ferry ports from both the Kagoshima train station and the Kagoshima Airport.
To take the ferry to Yakushima you will need to go to the main Kagoshima Ferry Port at the South Pier (Minami Futo) in Kagoshima City.
The jetfoil (Toppy or Rocket) leaves from the Express Boat Terminal. 種子・屋久高速船旅客ターミナル Streetview link This terminal is on the right as you enter the pier area. There is a large car park in front of the terminal. The Express Boat Terminal does not have English written on the building, but look for the green triangular roof and the kanji above.
The Yaku 2 Ferry (the slow ferry) to Yakushima, which leaves at 8:30 every morning, departs from the end of the South Pier 南埠頭旅客ターミナル. Streetview link Go to the building at the end of the road and buy your ticket. The Yaku 2 Ferry will be docked on the right of the pier.
Click on the ferry icons on the map above to see exactly where they are.
To the Port from Kagoshima Chuo Station
There are two train stations in Kagoshima City. The biggest one is Kagoshima Chuo Station which is marked on the map above. If you take the Shinkansen to Kagoshima then you will arrive at Chuo Station. (You will only arrive at Kagoshima Station, the smaller station, if you are coming from the direction of Miyazaki or Kirishima.) Chuo Station is very distinctive as there is a huge big wheel behind the Amu Plaza Shopping Center which is situated right next door. From the station there are 4 options to get to the ferry terminal from the station.
1. Take a taxi.
If you are pressed for time, travelling in a group or have a lot of luggage, a taxi will be the simplest and most stress-free way of reaching the port. You can get a taxi from the front of the station. Ask to go to 'Minami Futo' or say in English 'Toppy Terminal Yakushima' or 'Yakushima Ferry Terminal' and they should understand. The journey will take 10 to 15 minutes, but this is dependent on the traffic. Expect to pay between 1000 yen and 1500 yen.
2. Take the tram
The tram leaves from the front of the station. When exiting the station you need to get on a tram that is heading to your left and goes over the river into Kagoshima City Center towards Tenmonkan. (Tenmonkan is the city center with the main shopping arcade.) Get off at the stop after Tenmonkan where the tram turns sharply to the left. This stop is called Izurodori いづろ通り. From here you should walk towards the sea (if you see the volcano, Sakurajima, you're heading the right way). You should arrive at a series of shops and cafes called Dolphin Port. The South Pier is to the right of the Dolphin Port. It should take less than 10 minutes on the tram and then another 10 to 15 mins on foot. The tram fare is 170 yen for adults and 80 yen for children under to 12 years old. Children 6 years and under travel for free. Follow this link to a very useful English information page about how to take the tram in Kagoshima.
3. Take the bus
Get the bus from E5 in front of the Shopping Center next to the station and it will take you to the aquarium (suizokan), or even all the way to the port depending on which bus you get. Check with the driver first try: 'Minami Futo?' or 'Toppy Terminal?' From the aquarium it is about a 10 minute walk. The fare will be 170 yen for adults and 80 yen for children under 12 years old. Children 6 years and under travel for free. Here's another link on how to get on and off the bus in Kagoshima. This method is probably the hardest to do if you don't have any Japanese ability, but local people in the south are notoriously kind and helpful so why not give it a go.
If you are not laden down with bags, or in a hurry, then it's also a good way to see some of Kagoshima City. From Chuo Station follow the main tram street to your left and go over Kotsuki River. Head straight into the center of town and go past the shopping arcade street and Maruya Gardens – a leaf covered department store on your right. Where the tram street turns left you should carry on straight and go past a couple of large banks all the way to the sea. You will then see Dolphin Port and the South Pier will be to your right. This walk should take around 45 minutes.
To the Port From the Airport
In front of the airport you will see the bus stop ticket machines. You need to buy a bus ticket for the (red) No. 2 Airport Shuttle Bus service into Kagoshima City. The fare is 1200 yen for an adult and half price for children. There are usually staff on hand to help. Wait by the (red) No. 2 bus stop. The timetable is written on the stop. Bus times in red will take you all the way to the Toppy terminal. If written in black then they will take you to the city center. If you get off at the city center you will have a 10 to 15 minute walk to the port.
If you take a taxi from the Kagoshima Airport then expect to pay at least 11,000 yen to get to the port. This taxi estimate is a rough guess, so if it ends up being inaccurate then please contact YES and tell us the actual price.