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. If you plan to skip Tokyo or zero in on a specific region, international airports in Kansai (for Kyoto and Osaka), Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Naha (for Okinawa) might be more time and cost effective. Unless you're flying from east or Southeast Asia, you'll most likely fly first to Tokyo and transfer from there.
Japan's major international airports:
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 direct flights to/from major cities in east and Southeast 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, has direct flights to/from major cities in east and Southeast Asia, USA, Australia, Europe and the Middle East; domestic flights to/from Tokyo usually arrive/depart here.
Kansai International Airport (www.kansai-airport.or.jp) Serves the key Kansai cities of Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kōbe. Direct international flights to/from major cities in east and Southeast Asia, west coast USA and Australia.
Naha Airport (www.naha-airport.co.jp) On Okinawa-hontō (the main island of Okinawa), with direct flights to/from major cities in east Asia (including Beijing, Hong Kong, Busan, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai 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 from around the world; most budget carriers flying to Tokyo arrive here.
New Chitose Airport (www.new-chitose-airport.jp) In central Hokkaidō, south of Sapporo, with direct flights to/from all major cities in east and Southeast Asia.
Departure tax (¥1000) is included in the price of a ticket.