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Kapp’n and his boat tours – Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide

How do you unlock Kapp’n and his mystery tours?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Kapp’n on his boat with an animal crossing player Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

Kapp’n, the lovable kappa (not turtle), has arrived in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons 2.0 roster. He’s settled down on your island’s pier, ready to captain a little boat that’ll deliver you to different islands with unique landscapes, through Kapp’n’s Boat Tours.

In this Animal Crossing: New Horizons Kapp’n guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the crooning kappa’s arrival: Kapp’n history, what you can expect from his boat rides to mysterious islands that only he knows about, the price you’ll pay in Nook Miles for a trip and a sea shanty, and what you have to do before Kapp’n shows up.


Table of contents


Who is Kapp’n?

Kapp’n is a kappa, a mythical, turtle-like, Japanese folktale monster, known for operating different methods of transport. In previous Animal Crossing games, he’s driven taxis and buses, but in New Horizons, he’s returned to his sailing roots.

From your island’s dock, he’ll lead you mysterious islands. Kapp’n’s Boat Tours cost 1,000 Nook Miles per trip, and he’ll sing you a sweet song on the way. Players are only allowed one boat ride per day.

How do Kapp’n’s Boat Tours work?

kapp’n boat tour at night Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Kapp’n will take you to a random island, different from those you can get from a Nook Mystery Tour. There are a bunch of different islands that Kapp’n will take you to, and they’ve all got something special going for them — some have exotic flora, while others are in different seasons or times of day. They’re also helpful for farming seasonal items, like snowflakes or mushrooms.

How do I unlock Kapp’n?

Kapp’n won’t appear on your island unless and until you’ve made some progress in the base game (the part of the game that existed before the 2.0 update). We’ve confirmed (with extensive testing) that you have to do the following before Kapp’n arrives:

  1. Unlock Resident Services, so that Isabelle shows up in your town.
  2. Get a three-star town rating, so that K.K. Slider performs in your town.
  3. The day after K.K. Slider performs, Isabelle tells you that ordinances have been unlocked and that you can go on special boat tours, which is a reference to our beloved Kapp’n.
Kapp’n docked at the … dock in Animal Crossing New Horizons.
Kapp’n, docked and waiting for the first time in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Kapp’n will dock his boat on your empty New Horizons pier. When you start your game after the update is downloaded, he’ll be waiting for you there on the boat — no unlocking necessary.

If you happen to visit Blathers before, he’ll also push you toward the pier: To unlock Brewster, you’ve got to take one of Kapp’n’s tours to find the pigeon coffee slinger looking for gyroids.

What are the islands?

After a brief song, you’ll arrive with Kapp’n at a mystery island. They’re random, and you can’t choose where you’ll dock. Here are some we’ve seen so far:

  • Crop islands, islands filled with wheat, pumpkins, tomatoes, or other crops
  • Shooting star island, where shooting stars are abundant, and star fragments come from rocks
  • Vine and glowing moss island, with vine and glowing moss, which doesn’t grow natively on your home island
  • Money tree island, where all trees grow Bell bags
  • Winter island, a place to catch snowflakes out of season
  • Cherry blossom island, where the trees are still pink and you can catch cherry blossoms
  • Acorn/pinecone/mushroom island, a fall island where acorns, pinecones, and mushrooms litter the ground

Regardless of the island, search around and dig up anything hidden, too: Sometimes, you’ll find gyroid fragments hidden underground or DIY recipes bottled up on the beach.

Can I do anything while he’s singing?

You can’t skip Kapp’n’s song, and how dare you for asking!? Just kidding. But you don’t have to just sit there. You can clap along to the beat (or not) by hitting the A button. You can use Reactions, too, with the other buttons on the right side of the Nintendo Switch.

If you’re in a rush, you can also get him to skip his singing by mashing the B button, but you would never interrupt a singing kappa, right?

Update (Nov. 11): We’ve added information about skipping Kapp’n’s sea shanty.

Update (Nov. 12): We’ve added information that explains what you must do before Kapp’n appears the dock.