International Airports in Japan
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International Airports in Japan

There are four international airports in Japan.
They are Narita, Haneda (near Tokyo), Kansai (near Osaka) and Chubu (near Nagoya), and are located around three largest cities in Japan.

Each airport has routes between the city and many major cities in the world.
Therefore, when you visit Japan, you will probably use them.

And, the airports near the other large cities have some flights from the world.
They are Shin-Chitose (near Sapporo), Sendai, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

In addition, there are many regional airports in Japan.
Many of them have the routes from one or a few cities in neighbor Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Taiwan, etc.

Narita International Airport

Map of the railway routes from Tokyo to Narita International airport

Narita is the biggest international airport in Japan, and is located 60km east of central Tokyo.

It has flights to and from many cities in the world.
Of course, it is the gateway to Japan.

Narita Airport

In most cases, you may need to go to Tokyo right away.
You can choose railways (JR Line or Keisei Line) or express bus.
Both are operated frequently, and it takes between 60 and 90 minutes to central Tokyo.

But, Narita Airport is closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
No train and bus are operated during this time period.
Therefore, when you may arrive at Narita late at night, you need to be careful.

JR Line to central Tokyo

JR Narita Express
Narita Express, Photo by

JR (Japan Railways) is a railway company group with nationwide network. Originally, it was the national railway of Japan.
If you plan to use "Japan Rail Pass", you should choose the train of JR line.

The main train is "Narita Express" which is a limited express of JR.
It is operated once or twice per hour, and makes a stop at main stations in central Tokyo (Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku) and Yokohama.
It takes about 60 minutes between Narita Airport and Tokyo station.

JR East Railway Co.

Keisei Line to central Tokyo

Keisei Skyliner
Keisei Skyliner, Photo by

Keisei is a railway company connecting between Ueno in central Tokyo and Narita linearly.
You can't use "Japan Rail Pass" for this line.

Keisei has two route.
Along the southern route, there are many cities and towns.
So, it is the route for commuter train.
On the other hand, the northern route is a shortcut for limited express.
Only a few intermediate stations are set up.

The fastest limited express is "Skyliner" and it runs on the northern shortcut.
It takes about 40 minutes to Ueno.
Because Skyliner is very fast, the price of the ticket is the double of the fare by adding limited express fare. (But, the price is cheaper than "Narita Express" because the distance is shorter than JR.)

As other limited expresses, "Access Express" and "Limited Express" are operated.
You can use the train by ordinary train ticket without limited express fare.
The cars are the same as commuter train. So you may feel narrow.
It takes between about 60 and 70 minutes to central Tokyo.
Some trains enter Subway Asakusa Line. You can go to Asakusa, Ginza and Haneda Airport directly by the train.

Keisei Railway

Express Bus to central Tokyo

From Narita Airport, many express buses are operated frequently toward Tokyo area.
The destinatons are Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT), main railway stations, some major hotels, Haneda Airport, etc.
T-CAT is a big terminal for airport bus and is located in Nihonbashi near Tokyo station.
And, Airport Limousine Bus company operates the express buses mainly.

It takes between 60 and 70 minutes from Narita to TCAT.
But traffic congestion often causes around Tokyo. Therefore when you use express bus, you should keep in mind that it may arrive behind schedule.

Bus info of Narita Airport T-CAT Airport Limousine Bus

Haneda Airport

Map of the railway routes from Tokyo to Haneda Airport

Haneda Airport is located in the southern part of central Tokyo, and the nickname of the airport terminal is "Big Bird".
It is a very convenient position for visiting Tokyo area.

Haneda has been the biggest domestic airport in Japan, and many flights connecting most regional airports in Japan arrive and depart.

But, international flights are increased for attracting foreign tourists in recent years.
Therefore, Haneda is going to be the main airport of Tokyo.

You can find the flights from and to many cities in the world in the timetable of Haneda already.
When you want to visit Tokyo conveniently, you should check the flight to Haneda.

Unlike Narita Airport, Haneda International Terminal is open all night. (But, Haneda Domestic Terminal is closed during the midnight.)
There are many facilities to pass a night in the terminal.

But, the transportations to central Tokyo aren't operated between 0 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Therefore, when you arrive at Haneda late at night, you need to consider for passing a night there.
(Only a few midnight buses are operated.)

Haneda Airport

From Haneda Airport to central Tokyo, you can use Tokyo Monorail or the train of Keikyu Line. (Unfortunately, there is no route of JR Line.)

Both trains run to central Tokyo for about 30 minutes.

Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsu-cho in Tokyo

Tokyo Monorail
Tokyo Monorail, Photo by

Tokyo Monorail connects between Haneda and Hamamatsu-cho in the central Tokyo.

At Hamamatsu-cho station, you can transfer to JR Yamanote loop line. It leads to Tokyo, Ueno, Shibuya, Shinjuku, etc.

Fortunately, though this company isn't JR, "Japan Rail Pass" is available.

Tokyo Monorail

Keikyu Line to central Tokyo

Train of Keikyu
Train of Keikyu, Photo by

Keikyu Line (officially "Keihin-Kyuko") connects Shinagawa in central Tokyo, Yokohama and Yokosuka mainly.

At Kamata between Shinagawa and Yokohama, a short branch line leads to Haneda Airport.
But, you can't use "Japan Rail Pass" for this line.

Many trains go to central Tokyo, and most of them enter Subway Asakusa Line.
You can go to Ginza, Asakusa, and Narita Airport directly by the train.
And, at Shinagawa station, you can transfer to JR Yamanote loop line and Shinkansen.

You can use the train by ordinary train ticket without limited express fare.
(Keikyu has no special limited express train. All are commuter trains.)

Keikyu Railway

Bus to central Tokyo

Many buses are operated from Haneda to various destinetion of central Tokyo.
I think it is not equal to Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu Line in speed and accuracy of time because of traffic jam.

But, because Haneda is open all night, some midnight buses are operated to central Tokyo.
(To each destination, the buses are operated only a few times between 0:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.)
When you arrive at Haneda late at night and must go to central Tokyo, these buses are good transportation.

Bus info of Haneda Airport Airport Limousine Bus

Kansai International Airport

Map of the railway routes from Osaka to Kansai International Airport

Kansai International Airport is the main international airport in western Japan, and is located 40km southwest of central Osaka.

In this area, there are the popular historic cities and attractions such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Koyasan, etc.
When you travel around this area, Kansai Airport is the best entrance.

Unlike Narita and Haneda, some flights arrive at Kansai Airport at midnight.
No train to Osaka area is operated at midnight, but express buses are all night.

Kansai Airport

There are Itami Airport and Kobe Airport in this area.
These are the domesic airports. Of course, you can use the airports after the travel of Kansai area.

The formal name of Itami Airport is "Osaka International Airport".
It was certainly the international airport. But, after Kansai Airport was completed, the role of international airport was moved from Itami to Kansai.
Therefore, Itami Airport has no international flights now.

From Kansai Airport to Osaka, you can use JR Line or Nankai Railway.
And, express buses are operated frequently.

JR Line to Osaka, Kyoto

JR limited express Haruka
JR limited express Haruka, Photo by

As mentioned above, JR is a railway company group with nationwide network.
If you want to use "Japan Rail Pass", you can use this JR line by the pass.

The main limited express of JR is "Haruka".
Most "Haruka" train go to Kyoto via central Osaka (Ten-noji and Shin-Osaka stations).
It takes about 35 mintutes to Ten-noji and about 1 hour 20 minutes to Kyoto.
It is operated twice per hour.

In addition, rapid commuter trains are operated about four times per hour.
It takes about an hour to central Osaka.

JR Usage Guide from Kansai Airport

Nankai Line to Nanba in Osaka

Nankai Rapi:t
Nankai Rapi:t, Photo by

Nankai is a railway company connecting Kansai Airport and Nanba, and has a line to Koyasan.
Nanba terminal station is just center of downtown Osaka.
(Ten-noji station of JR is a little way off.)
Unfortunately, you can't use "Japan Rail Pass".

The main limited express of Nankai is "rapi:t".
All "rapi:t" train go to Nanba and it takes about 40 mintutes
It is operated twice per hour.

In addition, express trains are operated about four times per hour.
It takes about an hour to Nanba.

Nankai Railway

Express bus to Kansai area

From Kansai Airport, express buses are operated frequently.
The destinations are not only Osaka but also Kyoto, Nara and Kobe.
Especially, the bus to Osaka is operated all night.

As the main bus terminal in Osaka , Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) is set up in Nanba station of Nankai Railway.
Of course, it is one of the destinations from Kansai Airport.
And from OCAT, you can use the express buses to Itami Airport and various cities in Japan.

Kansai Airport Bus Osaka Airport Limousine Bus OCAT

Chubu International Airport (Centrair)

Map of the railway route from Nagoya to Chubu International Airport (Centrair)

Chubu International Airport is located 30km south of Nagoya city.
This is a relatively new international airport (opened in 2005).

Nagoya is the fourth largest city in Japan, and is between Tokyo and Osaka.
"Chubu" means "central region of Japan".
The nickname of this airport is "Centrair" ("Central [Japan]" + "air").
And the formal name is "Chubu Centrair International Airport".

But, we usually call this airport "Chubu Airport" or "Centrair".

Nagoya is not very well known to foreign travelers, but a global company Toyota Motor is based around this area. (The headquarters is in Toyota city.)

From Nagoya, you can visit Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Ise area, etc.
And if you use Shinkansen from Nagoya, it takes only 40 minutes to Kyoto and 1 hour 40 minutes to Tokyo.

Chubu Airport

Meitetsu Line to Nagoya

Meitetsu Mu-SKY
Meitetsu μ-SKY, Photo by

Basically, you use Meitetsu Railway to go to central Nagoya.
(JR has no route to this airport. And buses are not frequent.)

The airport limited express is "μ-SKY", and all cars of the train have reserved seats.
In addition, express trains with reserved seats or without ones are operated frequently.
When you use reserved seat, only 360 yen are add on the fare.
It takes about 30 minutes to Nagoya station.

Meitetsu Railway

Other main regional airports with international flight

Shin-Chitose Airport (near Sapporo in Hokkaido) Sendai Airport (in Tohoku Region) Hiroshima Airport (in Chugoku Region) Fukuoka Airport (in Kyushu Region) Naha Airport (in Okinawa)