How Long Did It Take to Sail From Japan to America?

Japan and America are separated by the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. It is a journey that has fascinated explorers, adventurers, and historians alike.

The question of how long it took to sail from Japan to America has intrigued many over the years. Let’s delve into the details and uncover the fascinating history behind this epic transpacific voyage.

The Early Voyages

The first recorded attempt to sail from Japan to America was made by Hasekura Tsunenaga in 1614. He embarked on a mission to establish trade relations between Japan and Mexico.

Tsunenaga’s voyage, which was undertaken in a small sailing vessel, took approximately six months. This pioneering expedition set the stage for future attempts to cross the Pacific.

The Age of Exploration

During the Age of Exploration in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, European explorers were driven by a desire to discover new trade routes. The Spanish explorer, Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, undertook an expedition in 1567 with the aim of finding Terra Australis (the hypothetical southern continent) but ended up reaching the Solomon Islands instead.

In 1595, another Spanish explorer, Sebastián Vizcaíno, set sail from Acapulco on the west coast of Mexico with four ships. His mission was to explore and map California and its surrounding areas. It took Vizcaíno nearly eight months to reach Japan from Mexico.

The Modern Era

In modern times, technological advancements have significantly reduced travel times between Japan and America. With the advent of steamships in the 19th century and later advancements in aviation technology, crossing the Pacific became much faster and more convenient.

Sailing Time by Steamship

During the steamship era, the average sailing time from Japan to America was around 30 days. Steamships were equipped with powerful engines that could propel them at greater speeds, making the journey more efficient and reliable. This marked a significant reduction in travel time compared to the previous centuries.

Flying Time by Airplane

In the modern era of aviation, flying has revolutionized transpacific travel. Today, non-stop flights between Japan and America take around 10-12 hours, depending on factors such as wind patterns and aircraft type. The introduction of long-range aircraft, such as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, has further shortened travel times and provided passengers with greater comfort.


The journey from Japan to America has evolved significantly over time. From the early voyages that took several months to cross the Pacific Ocean to the present-day where air travel can complete the journey in just a matter of hours, technological advancements have transformed transpacific travel into a much more accessible and efficient experience.

Whether it be through sailing ships of old or modern airplanes that defy gravity, the ability to bridge vast distances between nations is a testament to human ingenuity and our unending quest for exploration.

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Lindsay Collins