The Fukuoka Airport International Terminal is Fukuoka’s gateway to the world. Whether you’re departing or arriving, it’s useful, and most importantly relaxing, to be able to navigate the terminal quickly and easy. In this guide, Nathan Spencer introduces Fukuoka Airport’s International Terminal, giving you all the info you need to breeze through in style…
Flying used to be fun. It used to be thought of as a glamorous adventure. Now, it’s considered an inconvenience at best and, at worst, a downright nightmare. As air travel has become more and more complex, knowledge is your best shot at having the adventure you deserve instead of the nightmare you want to avoid. This article is all about equipping you with the knowledge you need to navigate Fukuoka International Airport’s International Terminal.
First off, let’s talk about how to get to/from the International Terminal. There are several ways you can make it to or from the terminal. The best method of travel will probably depend upon the amount of luggage you are traveling with. That being said, if you want to reduce your load, you can also use a delivery service to ship your luggage between nearly any two points in the country, and even some international locations (more on that later on).
1. By Taxi/Car
If you have a fair amount of luggage, traveling by car is certainly the preferred method of airport-bound transportation. When it comes to taxis, there are two sizes. The first, and most common, holds four passengers, or three adults comfortably. The larger version will hold five passengers and has more room for luggage. If you don’t need the extra size, make sure you don’t flag down a large taxi, as the rates are higher. If you are arriving in Fukuoka from the international terminal, there is a taxi stand just outside the center right door as you leave.
If you have a car of your own, there is also the option of parking at the terminal. Parking is free for the first 30 minutes and then ¥200 per hour, with a maximum charge of ¥2,400 per 24 hour period. Keep in mind that they cap the number of consecutive days you are allowed to park at 14.
2. By Bus
If getting a car isn’t an option for you, traveling by bus is the next best thing. You can grab the Nishitetsu Airport Bus from Tenjin or Hakata. From Tenjin, it will take you 30-35 minutes and from Hakata 20-25 minutes. Bust timetables can be found here. You can’t beat this option if price is the most important factor, with ¥260 adult tickets to/from Hakata and ¥310 adult tickets to/from Tenjin. However, if you have more than a carry-on sized bag, I wish you the best of luck with this option.
The international terminal has four bus stops located just outside its main doors, grouped closely together. Differentiating the individual bus stops is more important for those arriving in Fukuoka than those departing. For those using Fukuoka as a jumping point to the rest of Kyushu, bus tickets can be purchased on the first floor of the terminal. The four stops serve:
• The domestic terminal, via the free terminal transfer bus.
• Hakata Station, Tenjin, and Dazaifu via city bus. The second bus stop also serve Beppu, Yufuin, and Kurokawa Onsen via highway bus.
• Saga, Nagasaki, Sasebo, and Huis Ten Bosch via highway bus.
• Kurume, Kokura, Kumamoto, Omuta, Arao, and Greenland Amusement Park via highway bus.
You’ll see the numbered stops outside the terminal and there is usually a staff member roaming the area ready to help with any last minute bus questions.
3. By Subway
Whether you are departing or arriving in Fukuoka, the subway Kuko (airport) line offers quick and regular connections to the city. However, you can only take the subway from the domestic terminal which means you must use the terminal transfer bus to travel between the international and domestic terminals. This bus is free, but can also be quite busy and cumbersome for those with large amounts of luggage. If you’re planning to travel by subway, factor in an extra 15 minutes to make the transfer between the subway and the international terminal. Airport ← 12 mins → Tenjin Station (¥260). Airport ←5 mins → Hakata Station (¥260).
Now let’s focus on navigating the Fukuoka International Terminal in style.
Whether you are arriving or departing, the first floor of the airport is a great place to take care of any last minute travel details. The first floor contains the arrival gates, baggage claim, customs, a couple of spots to grab a quick bite, a fairly large statue of an ancient Japanese warrior, and perhaps most importantly, several service counters, information desks, and money exchange services.
Both arriving and departing travelers can take advantage of the first floor services mentioned at the beginning of this section. Among the service counters there are a handful of cell phone rental services available, should you not have coverage through your current plan. Just next to the cell phone counters you will find information about local public transportation (this is where you buy bus tickets), hotel reservations, and the rental car counters. If you need to withdraw or exchange currency, the first floor has a Tisco currency exchange desk, a Seven Bank ATM, and a 7-11 (which is often best for international users).
Baggage delivery services, located just inside the first floor doors, can be extremely helpful when traveling to, from, or within Japan. While I won’t go into extreme detail here, the delivery services in Japan will deliver your luggage between addresses and airports throughout the country (and even some international destinations) for prices ranging from ¥2,000 to ¥6,000. One of the largest of these delivery services, Yamato, has a service desk conveniently located on the first floor.
For those arriving in Fukuoka, the first floor is also where you pick up any checked luggage you might have. There are four baggage carousels within close proximity of each other, and finding the correct carousel is as simple as looking up and finding the screen with your flight number. Once you are done with the baggage area, you’ll make the short walk to the customs section. If you have nothing to declare, simply hand over your declaration form. You will most likely be waived on to the exit. Even if you do have something to declare, customs officials are quick to check baggage and get you on your way.
On both the arrival and departure sides, the second floor is pretty bare. On the arrival side of the second floor, you will encounter the quarantine and immigration areas. You likely won’t have to deal with quarantine procedures. The exception to that is if you enter the country and are visibly ill. In that case, officials may direct you to the quarantine area for further inspection. Your arrival on the second floor will primarily be characterized by the immigration counter. Fukuoka’s International Terminal does an excellent job of staffing the line area of immigration section with helpful staff. If you are not sure as to which immigration counter to approach, just show your passport to one of the staff members. They will kindly direct you to the correct spot.
On the departure side, there are two important features. The first, a branch of the Bank of Fukuoka, is a convenient spot to withdraw or deposit cash. The second distinguishing feature is a replica of Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s Lockheed Sirius aircraft. The Lindberghs landed in Fukuoka on September 17, 1931 as part of their survey of the Orient. Now that you have taken in some history and taken out some money, departing travelers should go ahead and climb the escalator up to the third floor; where most of the action is.
Third Floor (Pre-Security)
The third floor of Fukuoka International Airport is home to the check-in counters, as well as a host of other amenities. No matter your method of moving to the third floor (stairs, escalator, or elevator) you will come out in the middle of the third-floor lobby.
The check-in counters are located on either side of the escalators and are divided, of course, by airline. The check-in counters are not arranged in any specific way (not one that was apparent, at least) so I would recommend you check the handy sign near the third floor escalator exit, as it points the way to the different counters.
If, all of a sudden, you realize that you need a new bag once at the airport, the third floor has a small but decent shop with everything from small shoulder bags all the way up to large rolling suitcases. The luggage store is on the northwest side of the lobby. Perhaps more plausible is that you’ll want some reading materials. There is a small bookstore on the third floor, just to the right of the luggage store. Keep in mind that the English options are limited.
There are a few standard gift shops, but I would recommend holding off until after you go through security. You can also find an ATM/currency exchange area, which includes Bank of Fukuoka, Shinhan Bank, and TISCO in the southeast corner of the lobby. Should you need it, there is also a decent sized smoking area in the southwest corner.
Third Floor (Post-Security)
If you have time before your flight and want somewhere quiet to sit or grab some food, skip down to the section on the fourth floor (which is only available pre-security). If you’re ready to just get through security, there are a few things to know about, in regards to the third floor.
Although I’m not allowed to thoroughly describe the security checkpoint, suffice it to say that the process is smooth and quick. If you are currently a foreigner living in Japan and plan to return after your trip, make sure you fill out an embarkation form before you visit the immigration desk. You’ll be required to hand that to the immigration officer.
Having traversed the security/immigration area, you will immediately see a good-sized duty-free shopping area. If you are celebrating the closing of a big business deal or are in need of a last minute gift, you are in luck. This shopping area offers shoppers fine watches, high-quality clothing, expensive jewelry, and of course, an assortment of nicely packaged edible goods and alcohol. Further duty-free offerings are spread throughout the area.
If you are done with your pre-flight shopping and need to re-caffeinate, there are two small cafes on either end of the departure area. The coffee is pretty decent and each cafe offers a few food options. There are two lounges in the departure area, but they are exclusively for certain designated passengers (as qualified by the airlines). The lounges are not considered to be especially luxurious, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t have access.
Earlier I told you that the key to traveling in style is knowledge. For example, the knowledge that the fourth floor of the Fukuoka International Terminal has great seating and is often underutilized by visitors. That means peaceful relaxation for you. Just remember that the amenities of the fourth floor are only accessible before you go through security.
Upon arriving on the fourth floor, you will see a central seating area. Flanking the seating area are several different restaurants. My most recent trip took me to the airport during breakfast and I’m happy to report that solid breakfast classics (both Japanese and Western) are available on the fourth floor.
Should you be craving something sweeter, there is an ice-cream vending machine on the northwest side of the fourth floor. If you enjoy watching planes take-off and the weather is nice, you’ll also find an open-air observation deck just beyond the ice-cream vending machine.
The Fukuoka International Airport’s International Terminal, although small in size, is rich with amenities and easy to navigate. Whether your first trip to our airport is in your future or you’re a veteran Fukuoka traveler, you can be confident that the Fukuoka International Airport’s International Terminal can be navigated with ease. Forget your worries, remember your passport, and above all, travel in style.
Fukuoka Airport doesn’t have any airport hotels attached, but it is located so close to the city that if you are flying through Fukuoka on an overnight layover it isn’t a problem. Search for hotels in the Hakata area for easy access to the airport!
Written by Nathan Spencer for Fukuoka Now.
This guide was originally researched and published in Nov. 2016. If you notice that any information is out of date or missing, please use the website’s contact form to get in touch.