Which Airport in Japan Should I Fly Into?

Which Airport in Japan Should I Fly Into?

Mount Fuji Greeting you flying into Narita Airport in Japan.
Mount Fuji greeting you flying into Narita Airport in Japan.

Your cycling holiday is booked, and you are onto the logistics of flights. So, which airport in Japan should you fly into?

There are three major airports (and a handful of minor airports) that operate international flights into Japan from abroad, and which one is best for you to fly into has a lot to do with your trip itinerary.

We here at Bike Tour Japan are based primarily in three regions, Kita Kanto (northwest of Tokyo), Nagano Highlands (about 3-4hrs by train from Tokyo), and the Setouchi Sea Region (east of Hiroshima).

For all of our tours except the Setouchi Sea Region both of the Tokyo area airports (Narita Airport & Haneda Airport) are the best option to fly into. Each airport offers direct trains to Tokyo’s major hubs, which from there, have express trains out to our start and end points in the countryside.

Below is our recommendations on which airport are best for each of our tours. Beginning with all tours based in Kita Kanto and Nagano Highlands, and ending with tours based in the Setouchi Sea area.

Tokyo Based Flights

Tokyo Airports, What’s the Difference between Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND)?

Guests often ask if it is better to fly into one or the other airport when flying into Tokyo, and on a base level there is very little difference between the two.

In general, Narita Airport offers more frequent international long-haul flights between the US, Australia, and European stopover locations. While Haneda offers more “business” centric travel, often between other countries in Asia. This is of course a generalization, but it helps give you an idea of the focus of each airport, and therefore a good idea of where you will find the most flights from your respective departure.

Once you land at either Narita or Haneda, expect roughly 30min-1hr to transit to any major hub in Tokyo via Train. If you are planning to rent a car from the airport and immediately drive out of the Tokyo metro area Narita is the better choice. This is because Narita has far more rental car operations, and you will not have to drive through downtown Tokyo to get out the area.

If you are flying in for a private trip and are planning for us to pick you up at the airport, then Narita is the most convenient to fly into. This is because transit times by car from Narita to Kita Kanto is roughly 2-2.5hrs vs 2.5-4hrs from Haneda due to Tokyo traffic.

Transiting from Tokyo Airports to Your Tour

Nikko North Alps Tour / Valleys & Volcanoes Tour / Tokyo Escape Tour

If you plan to fly in and transit directly to your tour start point, or spend just one night in Tokyo, we recommend that you transit into Asakusa Station for these tours. From here you can take a direct train to and from our start and end points of each tour.

Japanese Alps Tour

If you are flying into Narita Airport, you will transit at Ueno Station to the Hokutaka Shinkansen. Then at Nagano Station onto the Shinano Line down to Matsumoto, 3.5hrs total transit time.

Narita Airport to Matsumoto Station

For flights into Haneda Airport you will want to transit from the airport to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. Then take the Chuo Express Train to Matsumoto Station, also 3.5hrs total transit time.

Haneda Airport to Matsumoto Station

For the return trip, this tour will end at Nikko Station, where there is a direct train back to Asakusa Station, 2hrs total transit time.

Nikko Station to Asakusa Station

Hiroshima & Osaka/Kyoto Based Flights

Flying into Hiroshima (HIJ) or Osaka (KIX) for the Setouchi Sea Region

For guests on our Setouchi Sea Tours we recommend flying into Hiroshima Airport (HIJ). While a smaller airport, it regularly has direct flights from other hubs in Asia, and hourly flights from Tokyo. From Hiroshima Airport it is 30min-1hr by taxi (10,000-20,000yen one way) to our start point of Onomichi City, and our ending point of Takehara City.

Alternatively, many more flights are available to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX). From here, you can transit to Onomichi or Takehara via the Shinkansen Bullet Train in roughly 3.5hrs (10,000yen one way). This is of course less convenient, but many guests fly in a few days early to explore Osaka & Kyoto before transiting over to Onomichi to start their tour, breaking up the trains.

Lastly, there are trains between Hiroshima City and Onomichi and Takehara taking roughly 1.5hrs (1,200yen) each way. These are a popular option for guests wanting to see Hiroshima City before or after their trip as well.

Osaka Kansai International Airport to Onomichi Station

Hiroshima Station to Takehara Station

Hiroshima Station to Onomichi Station

Still Unsure How to Get To and From Your Trip?

We are always a short email away, so drop us an email via our contact form and we will be happy to help!

Also, if you would like to check out more of our recommendations for ways to explore each city, check out our City Guide Pages below!

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