Getting to Japan from overseas
* Also known as Tokyo Narita Airport
Located in Chiba Prefecture, Narita International Airport is about 60km to the east of central Tokyo. The airport handles about half of international passengers coming to and from Japan and an even larger percentage of the cargo traffic. There are three terminals.
To get to many of the snow resort regions north of Tokyo, you will initially need to get into central Tokyo and there are a number of ways to get from Narita into central Tokyo and beyond.
There are two stations at Narita Airport - Narita Airport Station (for Terminal 1) and Airport Terminal 2 Station (for Terminal 2 and 3) with both Japan Railways (JR) and Keisei lines operating. Both are well signposted once you arrive in departures. Note that to get from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3, a free shuttle bus or a 500m walk is necessary.
The Narita Express (N'EX) is a limited express train service operated by JR and runs on the Narita and Sobu lines. The train runs approximately every 30 minutes or so in mornings and evenings and about once an hour during the daytime. Narita Express operates between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station and beyond - Shinagawa Station, Shibuya Station, Shinjuku Station, Ikebukuro Station and Yokohama Station.
The Skyliner is a limited express train service operated by the Keisei Electric Railway company. The train operates between Narita and Keisei Ueno Station and runs on the Narita Sky Access (keisei-narita-kuko-sen) route. The train stops only at Nippori Station. Keisei Ueno Station is about a 5 minute walk from the main JR-operated Ueno Station, making connections with the following JR train and subway lines fairly easy. The Yamanote line, Tohoku line, Takasaki lines; the Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines; the Ginza and Hibiya subway lines can be found at Ueno Station.
Both the Narita Express and Skyliner offer a lot of storage space and comfort and have power outlets for re-charging devices.
Other local trains also stop at the Narita Airport stations. These services are cheaper than the Narita Express and Skyliner, but they also take longer and as they are normal trains they are not as comfortable or prepared for large suitcases and baggage.
* Commonly known as Haneda Airport
Haneda Airport is located about 14km south of Tokyo Station. Until 2010, Narita International Airport handled most of the international flights into the Tokyo region, but in that year Haneda opened a dedicated international terminal along with a fourth runway. That allowed long-haul flights during the night-time and in 2014 Haneda also opened long-haul flights during the daytime. Haneda is closer to central Tokyo than Narita, but still handles more domestic than international flights. It is the busiest airport in Japan.
Alternatively, transfer from the JR Keihin-Tohoku-sen line to the Keikyu Airport Line at Shinagawa Station to get to Haneda Airport.
Kansai International Airport is located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay less than 50km from central Osaka. There are currently two terminals with a planned third. Terminal 2 is a low cost carrier terminal which provides lower landing fees than the main Terminal 1 and is currently used exclusively by Peach (the airline, not the fruit). Terminal 2 is not directly connected with Terminal 1 or Kansai Airport Station, but free shuttle buses do run between the two terminals and the station.
JR Rapid Service
Nankai Rapid Service
New Chitose Airport (Shin Chitose Airport in Japanese) is the third busiest airport in Japan behind Haneda and Narita. Apparently, the route between Shin-Chitose Airport and Haneda Airport is the busiest air route in the world serving 8.8 million passengers in 2013!
The airport is next to Chitose Air Base and while they have separate runways they have interconnected taxiways and at times (such as when runways have been closed in winter due to blizzard conditions) the runways can be shared. Another interesting fact is that this was the first 24-hour airport in Japan back in 1994, though there is a limit to the number of flights in the early hours.
There is a domestic and international terminal at New Chitose Airport, with a total of 24 gates.
One way is 1070 yen, 310 yen more for reserved seats and half price for children. Kitaka, Suika and Pasmo cards are acceptable when paying at ticket vending machines.
Tickets can be purchased at the bus counter or from the available ticket vending machines and these tickets can used for buses of both companies.
Special deals (for example round trip tickets) and coupon tickets are also available.
A one way costs 1030 yen, 520 yen for children.
Kitaka, Suika and Pasmo cards acceptable when paying at ticket vending machines.
Sendai Airport is located about 14km to the south east of central Sendai City in Miyagi Prefecture and offers a selection of (mostly) domestic flights with international flights to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei, Honolulu and Guam.
The Sendai Airport Line (also known as the Sendai Airport Access Line) connects the airport with Sendai Station, the journey taking around 17-25 minutes. Sendai Station offers connections to the Tohoku Shinkansen and other local lines.
The airport can also be accessed easily by car using the Sendai Tobu toll road via Route 20.
Buses and taxis also can be found at the airport.