With Japan seeing an increasing number of foreign visitors every year, many airlines have risen to meet the need with an expansion of routes from various parts of the world. The guide below introduces visitors to the major international airports across Japan, as well as the major airline routes linking Japan to the world.
Major Airports Across Japan
Airports around Tokyo
Many visitors arrive in Japan via Tokyo, the nation’s capital. The city is served by two airports.
Narita (NRT) is the main getaway for most international long-haul flights and a handful of domestic flights on budget carriers. Narita Airport is located an hour’s train ride outside of Tokyo, in the neighboring prefecture of Chiba.
Haneda (HND) is the city’s main domestic hub, though in recent years many flights to SE Asia and other Pacific region destinations have begun to use the new International Terminal. Haneda Airport is located a 20-25 minute train or monorail ride from major stations on the eastern side of the city.
Airports around Osaka/Kyoto
Much like Tokyo, the Kansai region is also served by two airports. Nearly all international visitors will arrive at Kansai International Airport (KIX), a large airport on a manmade island just off the coast of Osaka’s southern fringe. Trains run directly from the airport into Osaka (50 minutes) and Kyoto (70 minutes), while the two cities are also served by a fleet of airport buses.
Those arriving from another destination within Japan will likely find themselves in Itami (ITM), from where airport buses will ferry passengers to both Kyoto and Osaka in a short time.
Japan’s western region of Kyushu is served by Fukuoka Airport (FUK), which sees many flights from neighboring Asian nations as well as a growing number of long-haul flights to northern and central Europe. Fukuoka Airport, Fukuoka prefecture, is linked to the city centre by a convenient subway – visitors will reach the centrally-located Hakata train station in only 6 minutes.
Major Airline Routes to Japan
Our route lists are non-exhaustive and subject to change as new routes are added and old ones eliminated.
Flights from Asia
Numerous cities across the Asian region offer direct flights into Japanese gateways. Visitors from such locations as Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and even Guam are all just a direct flight away. Asia is served by both national carriers and a range of budget airlines, both established and up-and-coming.
While by no means an exhaustive list, the following airlines frequently offer direct flights to Japan’s major cities:
- Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific and HK Express
- Malaysia's AirAsia and its subsidiaries
- Philippines' Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines
- Singapore's Singapore Airlines and Scoot
- South Korea's Jeju Air
- Taiwan's Tigerair Taiwan and Eva Air.
Flights from North America
Both Canadian and American carriers offer direct and connecting flights to major destinations across Japan. North America is also served by the Japanese carriers Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Air (ANA). Below is just a sampling of connection-free options.
- From San Francisco to Tokyo (HND) with Japan Airlines
- From Honolulu to Tokyo (HND) with Japan Airlines
- From Detroit to Tokyo (HND) with Delta
- From New York (JFK) to Tokyo (HND) with American Airlines
- From New York (Newark, JFK) to Tokyo (NRT) with United Airlines
- From Washington DC (IAD) to Tokyo (NRT) with United Airlines and ANA
- From Las Vegas to Osaka (KIX) with United Airlines
- From San Diego to Osaka (KIX) with United Airlines
- From Honolulu to Fukuoka with Delta
- From Vancouver to Tokyo (NRT) with Air Canada and American Airlines
- From Mexico City to Tokyo (NRT) on Japan Airlines and All Nippon Air
Flights from Australia/New Zealand
While residents of both coasts of Australia can find direct flights to both Tokyo and Osaka, travelers coming from Canberra must connect on Australia’s east coast first before heading north to Japan.
- From Sydney to Tokyo (NRT) with Japan Airlines and Qantas
- From Sydney to Osaka (KIX) with Qantas
- From Brisbane to Tokyo (NRT) with Qantas
- From Cairns to Tokyo (NRT) with Jetstar Airways
- From Perth to Tokyo (NRT) with All Nippon Airways (beginning September 2019)
- From Auckland to Tokyo (NRT) or Osaka (KIX) with Air New Zealand
Flights from Europe
Europe is served by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, as well as European carriers such as British Airways, Air France and KLM.
- From London (LHR) to Tokyo (both NRT and HND) with British Airways
- From Paris (CDG) to Tokyo (HND) with Air France
- From Paris (CDG) to Osaka (KIX) with Air France
- From Rome (FCO) to Tokyo (NRT) with Alitalia
- From Amsterdam to Tokyo (NRT) with KLM
- From Amsterdam to Osaka (KIX) with KLM
- From Copenhagen to Tokyo (NRT) with SAS
- From Helsinki to Fukuoka (summer only) with KLM
Flights from the Middle East
Most flights originating in the Middle East must connect in either Europe or Asia. However, a handful of flights run directly to Tokyo.
- Dubai to Tokyo (NRT) with Japan Airlines and Emirates
- Dubai to Osaka (KIX) with Emirates
- Abu Dhabi to Tokyo (NRT) with All Nippon Air
- Doha to Tokyo (NRT) with Qatar Airways
Other ways to Reach Japan
Traveling to Japan by Ferry
For most international visitors, arriving in Japan by ferry isn’t an option. However, those with access to the Asian port cities of Busan (Korea) and Shanghai (China) may want to consider the money-saving option of a slow boat to their destination. Busan serves the Japanese ports of Fukuoka, Shimonoseki and Osaka while Shanghai connects to Osaka.
Visa Regulations for Visitors to Japan
While citizens of a number of nations can visit Japan for up to 90 days without a visa, certain countries require additional documentation, as well as any visitors seeking to study or work in Japan. For further information on the various visa types, our guide to Japanese visas is a good place to start.