How Long Does It Take to Go from California to Japan by Boat?

Going to Japan from California within a few hours is nothing extraordinary. Just buy an airplane ticket, board your flight, and presto, in just 11 hours and 20 minutes, you are already in Tokyo. But what if you are scared of flying? How long does it take to get to Japan by boat from California?

Traveling from California to Japan by boat will take about 20 to 28 days. It could be done, however, in as fast as 10 days. It all depends on the type of boat that you will take. Much will also depend on where you will start and end your trip, also the weather and ocean currents.

You may be surprised to know that many people choose to travel from the US to Japan by boat, perhaps because they are afraid to fly or just for the adventure.

You can take a cruise ship. But if you are traveling on a budget, you can choose to book your ride on a container ship. Yes, cargo or container ships also accommodate passengers. And their accommodations are not Spartan either. For an even greater adventure, you can take a sailboat and cross the pacific in a grand old-fashioned way.

There are many ways you can cross the Pacific, going to Japan from a port in California. That’s a very long voyage, but it is not impossible. Just realize that you will be spending a lot of time in the boat, whatever kind it is, for a good portion of one month.

Read on to learn more about how long it will take to go from California to Japan by boat. 

How Long Does It Take to Go from California to Japan by Boat?

The are several answers to this question. Generally, it takes about 20 to 28 days to go from California to Japan by boat. This is by a cruise ship, which most people would take to travel. It is safe to say that you will be able to make it to Japan in less than a month by boat.

Here is additional information that will give you a more accurate picture of the travel time between California and Japan.

How Long Will It Take a Cruise Ship to Go to Japan from California?

It will take a cruise ship approximately 15 to 30 days from a port in California to a port in Japan. But the cost is a bit expensive. The fairest estimate of a passenger ticket from California to Japan is around $5,000. But it could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it might be worth it.

For such a long trip, the easiest and most comfortable way to travel is on a cruise ship. There are lots and lots of attractions, entertainment, and activities in a cruise liner. You won’t get bored while traveling on a cruise ship.

Princess Cruises is offering a 20-day cruise to Japan. The ship will start from Los Angeles, California, and will end up in Tokyo, Japan. Along the way, the cruise ship will pass by Canada, Alaska, and then Japan. The departure date is mid-August.

Also, in 2020, Oceana Cruises is offering a 25-day cruise to Japan. The trip will begin in Los Angeles, California, and will end up in Tokyo, Japan. Along the way, the ship will pass by Canada, Washington, Alaska, Russia, and on to Japan. The departure date is September 30.

How Long Will It Take a Cargo Ship to Reach Japan from California?

A cargo ship needs from 15 to 30 days to cross the Pacific. The actual travel time will depend on several factors, one of which is the boarding point and the destination point. There is really no way to accurately give the travel time of a cargo ship. This is the reason why it is called ETA or estimated time of arrival.

It takes cargo ships this long to cross the Pacific mainly because of two reasons. The first reason is the incredibly huge size of the Pacific Ocean. It covers one-third of the earth and is larger than all the land area of the planet combined. The widest section of the Pacific is a staggering 12,300 miles or 19,800 kilometers.

The second reason is fuel economy. They deliberately slowed down the speed of cargo ships to save fuel. The faster a ship goes, the more fuel it needs to burn. These huge ships can travel at 25 knots (46 kph) maximum, but they are deliberately slowed down to only 20 knots (37 kilometers per hour) or even 12 knots (22 kph) for fuel economy.

Take note that cargo ships are not really for passengers. Although they can carry passengers, they are only incidental. You will be given small quarters. There are no passenger services like those in passenger ships. Therefore, you should take care of yourself. These ships are optimized for cargo and not for people. They don’t have stabilizers, so you will feel all the movements of the ship.

But some people can manage. For example, a former director of the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago used to take freighters or container ships to visit other foreign lands for his annual vacation.

There are travel agencies that offer freight space to interested travelers. One of them is TravLtips Cruise, which offers several freighters that start from the United States going to Japan. There are freighter fleets that also service a California to Japan route. The cost is about $1,456 only.

How Long Will It Take an Oil Tanker to Make the Same Trip?

Oil tankers are some of the heaviest sea vessels built by man. The biggest of them all is Seawise Giant, also known as Knock Nevis. Its gross weight is an incredible 260,941 tons. This supertanker has a capacity of 564, 763 deadweight tons. The cruising speed of Knock Nevis is 16 knots (18 miles per hour or 30 kph).

At that speed, it may take more than 20 days for it to cross the Pacific Ocean, from California to Japan and vice versa.

How Long Will a Navy Ship Accomplish the Same Distance?

US ship from california to japan

A US Naval Officer and a US Naval Aircrewman said 2 weeks is a reasonable estimate for a naval ship to cross the Pacific Ocean, from San Diego, California, to Tokyo, Japan. They estimated that if the naval ship’s speed is 15 knots, it will take 20 days to reach Japan.

But if it increases its speed to 20 knots, the naval ship will reach Tokyo in just 10 days. However, if it is a nuclear-powered navy ship going at the speed of 35 knots, it will only take 5.8 days to reach Japan.

How Long Will the Trip Take for a Solar-Powered Boat?

Kenichi Horie also used a solar-powered boat to cross the Pacific Ocean. He did it in 1996, from Mar. 20 to Aug. 5, a total of 148 days. His trip took him from Salinas, Ecuador, to Tokyo, a distance of about 10,000 miles or 16,092 kilometers. The vessel that he used is called “Malt’s Mermaid,” which is about 28 feet or 8.68 meters long. Solar panels totaling 130 square feet provided power to the boat.

The sea distance from California to Tokyo is nearly 21,000 miles or 33,600 kilometers. That is more than twice the distance that Horie traveled from Ecuador to Tokyo. Therefore, we can get a safe estimate of how many days it will take a solar-powered boat to make the trip from California to Tokyo if we base our calculations on Horie’s trip. This brings us to an estimated travel time of 148 x 2 = 296 days.

Somebody Made the Trip Using a Sailboat 

It is possible to cross the Pacific Ocean using a sailboat. This feat was already accomplished by Brian Platt, a Briton, who traveled from Japan to California from Sept. 20 to Dec. 25, 1959, onboard the High Tea, a junk built in Hong Kong. Platt was the first person to accomplish this feat.

The second person to cross the Pacific is Kenichi Horie, a Japanese yachtsman. He made the trip from May 12 to August 11, 1962, onboard the Mermaid, a 19-foot (5.8 meters) sailboat. It took him a total of 94 days to make it to California.

The funny thing is that he was promptly arrested upon reaching the port in San Francisco because he didn’t have a passport. The story says that he also didn’t have any money at all. He made sure to depart from Japan legally. But because of a lack of precedence of using sailboats for international travel and without a passport, the authorities in California arrested him.

However, when the Mayor of the city learned of his unusual feat, he freed Horie. The Mayor also gave Horie a 30-day visa and the key to his city. So, it is possible to cross the Pacific from Japan to California onboard a sailboat. But you will have to endure 90 days doing it.

Horie repeated his voyage in 1999, sailing from California to Japan. He used a boat crafted from 528 beer kegs. Horie revealed that 500 of the kegs were empty. However, he made a stop in Hawaii. That means he did not make a straight trip. He again repeated the same kind of trip in 2002. This time it took him only 67 days to complete the trip.

Two Boatmen Rowed Their Boat from Japan to California

This is unbelievable, but two boatmen rowed their boat from Japan to California. They started their trip from Choshi, Japan, and rested their oars upon reaching the San Francisco Harbor in California, USA. They accomplished this feat in 2009. It took them a total of 189 days to complete their Pacific crossing.

The two boatmen are Mick Dawson and Chris Martin. They achieved a Guinness World Record for this astounding accomplishment. They were the first team to row across the vast North Pacific Ocean.

How Long Will It Take to Ship Goods from California to Japan?

If you are a shipper of goods in California and have customers in Japan, you will have to calculate the shipping time for the sake of your customers. They need to know when they will receive their goods.

It takes only 11 (eleven) days to ship goods from Long Beach or Los Angeles, California, to Tokyo or Yokohama, Japan. But we can’t simply calculate the hours or days it will take the trip. There are peripheral activities that affect the actual time that the goods are delivered to your customers.

For example, the goods will have to undergo customs clearance. You must meet the deadline for the containerization of your goods. This is usually 5 (five) days from the departure date from the USA. There is a lot more documentation and processes that the goods have to undergo. So, it will take more than 11 days to actually ship goods from the USA to Japan or vice versa if you will use a sea vessel.

The Fastest Boat That Went from California to Hawaii

The Alfa Romeo II, a maxi yacht that is 100 feet or 30.38 meters long, set the world record for the fastest voyage record in 2009 from California to Hawaii. It took the boat only 5 days, 14 hours, 36 minutes, and 20 seconds to cross the Pacific Ocean. Her maximum speed is set at 35 knots (60 kph or 40 mph).

The boat’s propulsion system is top-of-the-line. If the boat kept going from Hawaii to Japan, it might take only 10 days, similar to a nuclear-powered navy ship.