Chitose Airport, now known as the New Chitose Airport is a public airport located south southeast of Chitose and Tomakomai in Hokkaido, Japan. The airport mainly serves the metropolitan area of Sapporo. Servicing both domestic and international flights, Chitose is the largest airport in Hokkaido in terms of land area. It is constructed with a semi-circular domestic terminal with eighteen gates and a smaller terminal for international flights with six gates. According to the data gathered in 2005, New Chitose Airport is the third busiest airport in all of Japan, following Narita and Haneda. In terms of passengers carried, the airport ranked 64th worldwide. In 2010, the Chitose - Tokyo Haneda route was hailed as the busiest air route globally with 8.8 million passengers carried out of the 13.2 million seats available. In addition, the airport is also one of the closest Asian transports to North America along Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport in Russia. New Chitose Airport is also Japan’s first 24-hour airport in 1994 although currently, the airport only operates between 10 in the evening until seven in the morning. The airport now only services a total of six flights per day due to noise alleviation concerns.
What to see & do
When visiting Sapporo, it’s a must to visit the Clock Tower as it is the symbol of the city. It is the oldest building in Sapporo that was built in 1878 for the Sapporo Agricultural College, now known as the Hokkaido University. Another must-visit destination in Sapporo is the Ishiya Chocolate Factory that also houses a random toy museum. An hourly robot show will complete your tour at the factory. Odori Park, the city’s most famous park will allow you to relax between your busy tours around the city. Though narrow, the park is considered as one of the known symbols of the city. It stretches to over fifteen blocks across downtown Sapporo and is lined with numerous trees and flowers. When in Sapporo, don’t miss a visit to the Sapporo Beer Museum. At the end of the tour, tourists can drink to their visit to the museum and the city by having a taste of all the different beers.
How to get around within Sapporo
Ground transportation in New Chitose Airport includes rails and buses. Via rail, you can get to the airport from the city centre or other locations in Japan and vice versa aboard the Chitose Line of the Hokkaido Railway or JR Hokkaido. There are also rapid service trains to and from Sapporo Station that takes around 36-39 minutes. It’s great to know that rails in Japan are almost always on time. Through bus, there are four bus companies that connect the airport to various destinations across the country. These are: Hokkaido Chuo Bus, Hokuto Kotsu, Donan Bus, and Atsuma Bus. Around the city, travelling can be done by bicycle (with a city bike scheme and a large bike hire), by the JR above-ground trains, by Sapporo’s three subway lines, by streetcar that connects to the subway at Susukino, and by car.
How to get there
You can get to New Chitose Airport by flying in aboard numerous domestic and international airlines that serves the airport. Among the airlines that offer domestic flights are Air Do, All Nippon Airways, Fuji Dream Airlines, Ibex Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jetstar Japan, Peach, Skymark Airlines, and Vanilla Air. Internationally, you will find yourself in the grounds of New Chitose Airport aboard various international airlines flying from neighbouring Southeast Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand. From across continents, United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines connect the airport to Guam and Hawaii, respectively, as well as to Russia.
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