Cruise News

Sister City Rally to Japan 2023

Sister City Rally to Japan 2023

Konnichi wa and thank you for your interest in the 2023 Rally to Japan.

The inaugural Sister Cities Rally to Japan is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sister City relations between Christchurch and Kurashiki and nearly 30 years between Wellington and Sakai City, Osaka.

The event is being coordinated by the local sister city committee's and is being supported by Island Cruising NZ. 

Applications are now open and spaces are limited. 


Please join our Facebook group where we are sharing ideas and information about cruising in Japan. 

Proposed Schedule 2023 

All dates are estimated and will be reliant on the appropriate weather windows. As mentioned above, we may split the fleet to avoid congestion in Guam. 

End of February  Wellington boats gather for a display on the waterfront

31 March                Depart NZ for Fiji - aprox 1100NM - aprox 7-10 day passage

10 April                   Arrive Fiji - Denarau

                                     Welcome events and time for repairs & reprovisioning

17 April                   Slower boats depart for Guam, faster boats can enjoy some more Fiji cruising

                                     Fiji to Guam - 2700NM - aprox 3-4 week passage

15 May                    Guam

                                     7-14 days for repairs, reprovisioning and exploring

22 May                    Guam to Ogasawara - 800 miles - aprox 5 - 7 day passage

                                     Arrival formalities Japan & exploring

7 June                     Ogasawara to Osaka 600 miles

13 June                  Arrival Osaka 

                                    Day tours with Andrew - Nara, Kyoto etc

20 June                 Overnight passage to Kurashiki

21 June                 Sister City official welcome events

28 June                 Rally ends


After the Rally When you arrive in Japan you will be given a 90 day entry visa. Some people are planning on continuing on sailing north and heading over to the Aleutian Islands and on to Alaska. Some are planning on staying and cruising in Japan. Others are planning on sailing home. The choice is yours and the rally will connect you with others who share the same cruising interests and heading in the same direction. You are allowed to leave your vessel in Japan for an extended period without the need to import it. 


Rally Inclusions

  • Assistance with getting prepared and going through Cat 1 with the Island Cruising workshops - including safety, weather, passage planning, & navigation
  • Excellent sponsors discounts on all kinds of things to help you prepare including safety gear, haulout, boat repairs, Marine Medic & Sea Survival courses
  • Discounted charts and cruising guides
  • Assistance with obtaining Blue Water Insurance
  • PredictWind Rally Tracker
  • Discounted PredictWind weather subscription
  • Professional weather router guidance
  • Whangarei pre-departure events
  • Assistance with all documentation and arrival/departure formalities for NZ, Fiji, Guam & Japan
  • Assistance on arrival in Fiji with any repairs and reprovisioning
  • Comprehensive Rally Pack - including cruising information & advice on things to see and do along the way
  • Services of Agent in Fiji & Japan to complete arrival formalities 
  • Sister City Welcome events in Kurashiki & Sakai Cities
  • Shore crew service & local advice 
  • Crewseeker and crew change assistance
  • Discounts on recommended charts and cruising guides

Rally exclusions:

  • Customs/Immigration/Quarantine & Health expenses which are paid locally
  • Vessel and personal travel insurance expenses
  • Optional additional events and activities
  • Mooring & berthing fees


The safety of the vessel and her crew is the sole and inescapable responsibility of the skipper. A rally is not a race, we will help you prepare for and support you on your voyage, but the decision to set sail or continue is entirely up to the skipper. 

All vessels are expected to meet the Cat 1 Safety Regulations and be well prepared for the long blue water ocean passages ahead. 

All vessels will need to have AIS and a means of obtaining emails on passage. We recommend the IridiumGO with PredictWind. 

Island Cruising members get access to the cruising preparation workshops which give weekly tips on how to prepare your boat to go offshore. The workshops are combined with some excellent discounts from our marine sponsors and there are also webinars you can join and lots of excellent content to help you get ready. If you aren't already a member you can join online for just $95.00  

There is lots of content on there that may also be of interest to your crew, as well as discounts on Marine Medic & Sea Survival courses as well. 



The rally registration fee is NZD$2500.00. A deposit of $500.00 will secure your place on the rally. The balance will be due a few months prior to departure. Should COVID disrupt the ability for the rally to run, the rally fee will be transferrable or refundable less recovarable costs. 

We recommend you register early to assist with your preparations and to get the most value out of all the assistance and support we provide in the lead up to the event. 



We are working with a blue water insurance company who will be able to provide a quote for the voyage. We will send you more details on this as they become available. 


Visas for Guam

You require a USA B1/B2 Visa to enter Guam, and we will provide some more information on how to go about this. 


VISAS for Japan.

Pre-COVID, most nationalities were eligible for the 90 visa wavier on entry to Japan. This was reduced to a select few countries, not including NZ, and entry was said to be somewhat inconsistent depending on location, some places taking time at sea as part of the quarantine period. Presently, no visas of any kind are being issued and we can only hope that things will return to normal by 2023. If not, the rally may have to be postponed one year. Note that the 90 day waiver still lets the boat stay in Japan while you tour somewhere near by like Korea or Taiwan, then enter Japan for another 90 day period. A ferry can be taken to Korea.


Once visas are being issued as usual, there is a 'Long Stay Visa' which some people may want to consider. It gives 6 months and a further 6 months on application. More information here



We have got local agents in Fiji and Japan who will be able to assist with your arrival and provide information and advice should you need repairs or local information. In Guam we are being supported by the local yacht club. 

We recommend that you also use the services of Peter Mott from Passage Guardian  to track and support you while on passage. 



Please let us know if you have any questions. 


Keen to join us?

Please sign up online by clicking here. We will then send you an invoice for the $500.00 deposit and our rally workshops and newsletters will begin in June 2022. 


Many thanks

Viki Moore & Andrew McGeorge 


Viki Moore

Island Cruising NZ


P: 021 438 977