Japan's major international airports include Narita and Haneda (for Tokyo); Kansai International Airport, near Osaka and Kyoto; and New Chitose Airport, near Sapporo. There are also many regional airports with shorter-haul international flights to countries in Asia, such as China, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Airports & Airlines
Narita Airport, near Tokyo, is the main point of entry for international travellers; Tokyo has another smaller international airport, Haneda, which is closer to the city centre. For travel to a specific region outside Tokyo, international airports in Kansai (for Osaka and Kyoto), Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Naha (for Okinawa) might be more time and cost effective.
Chubu Centrair International Airport (www.centrair.jp) Nagoya's airport has direct flights to countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia.
Fukuoka International Airport (www.fuk-ab.co.jp) At the northern end of Kyūshū, and the main arrival point for destinations in western Japan. The airport is conveniently located near the city and has connections with several countries, mostly in Asia.
Haneda Airport (www.tokyo-airport-bldg.co.jp) Tokyo's more convenient airport – about 30 minutes by train or monorail to the city centre – Haneda, also known as Tokyo International Airport, is getting an increasing number of international arrivals; domestic flights to/from Tokyo usually arrive/depart here.
Kagoshima Airport (www.koj-ab.co.jp) At the southern end of Kyūshū, with flights to/from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei.
Kansai International Airport (www.kansai-airport.or.jp) Serves the key Kansai cities of Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kōbe. Not as many direct international services as the Tokyo airports, but useful if you want to zero in on the Kansai area (or fly in from one and out of the other).
Kumamoto Airport (www.kmj-ab.co.jp) In central Kyūshū, with flights to/from Seoul and Kaohsiung.
Nagasaki Airport (http://nagasaki-airport.jp) On the west coast of Kyūshū, with flights to/from Shanghai and Seoul.
Naha Airport (www.naha-airport.co.jp) On Okinawa-hontō (the main island of Okinawa), with flights to/from Beijing, Hong Kong, Pusan, Seoul, Shanghai, Taichung and Taipei.
Narita International Airport (www.narita-airport.jp) About 75 minutes east of Tokyo by express train, Narita gets the bulk of international flights to Japan; most budget carriers flying to Tokyo arrive here.
New Chitose Airport (www.new-chitose-airport.jp) In central Hokkaidō, south of Sapporo, with flights to many countries, mostly in Asia.
Niigata Airport (www.niigata-airport.gr.jp) In Honshū, on the Sea of Japan coast, with flights to/from Harbin, Khabarovsk, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Vladivostok.
Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.
It is not possible to travel here by land.
Ferries connect Japan to its nearest neighbours, China and South Korea, and during summer, Russia. There are several ferry routes to Busan, South Korea. The following run from Hakata Port International Terminal:
Beetle ¥13,000, three hours, twice daily.
Camellia Line From ¥9000, 5½ hours from Fukuoka to Busan, six to 10 hours from Busan to Fukuoka, daily at 12.30pm.
Kampu Ferry From ¥9000 (plus ¥300 fuel surcharge and ¥610 terminal fee), 12 hours, daily.
Panstar Ferry One-way 2nd-class fares from ¥13,000, 19 hours, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Hokkaidō Sakhalin Line connects Wakkanai to Korsakov (on the Russian island of Sakhalin). Ferries sail twice weekly from August to mid-September; the trip takes 4½ hours. Many of those who make the journey are Japanese who have family ties to Sakhalin, though there are tourists, too.
You must book through a travel agent, which should also handle the necessary visa preparations. Note that this ferry service has been suspended in the past and is currently operating on a trial basis only.