Fukuoka Airport is the main gateway to Fukuoka City, Kyushu Island, and even Chugoku Region on Honshu Island’s (the main island) southern tip. It is the fourth busiest airport in Japan, next only to Haneda, Narita, and Kansai Airports. It is also connected to almost every other airport in the country and a considerable number in Asia.
On the other hand, Hakata Station is Fukuoka’s central station. Most of the bus and train journeys in and around the city start and end here. Why is it called Hakata Station then? Why is the central station not named after the city just like most Japanese cities? The answer to that lies in its history.
Present-day Fukuoka is composed of two defunct cities: Hakata and Fukuoka. Yes, Hakata used to be a separate city until 1889, when it was merged with Fukuoka, which is now called Tenjin. Hakata Station kept its name. Today, Hakata and Tenjin are the two wards making up the city center, where most of the action happens. The two are divided by a river.
Both Hakata and Tenjin are quickly accessible from Fukuoka Airport. One thing that I like about Fukuoka Airpot, it is located within the bounds of the city center. Hence, getting out of it is fast and easy. From here, it takes no longer than 30 minutes to reach Hakata Station or Tenjin Station.
Here’s the catch though: Fukuoka Airport’s domestic and international terminals stand on opposite sides of the runway. There is no pedestrian connection between the two. The only way to get from one terminal to the other is to take the FREE airport bus.
Here’s how to get to Tenjin or Hakata Station from the airport.
If arriving at the International Terminal, you need to take the FREE shuttle bus to the domestic terminal first.
- Go to Bus Stop 1 and wait for a bus.
- Alight at Domestic Terminal 2, the last stop, where the subway station is located.
- Go down to the underground level and get a ticket.
- Take the Kuko Line for Meinohama or Chikuzemmaebaru.
- Alight at Hakata Station, which is only 2 stops away. Travel time: 5 minutes. Fare: ¥260.
If you’re going to Tenjin Station, it’s 3 stops away. Travel time: 12 minutes. Fare: ¥260.
The bus is the cheapest and the easiest mode of public transportation to reach the Hakata or Tenjin. It’s very comfortable too. There is plenty of space for your luggage.
- Get a ticket from a ticket machine. Even if you approach the manned counter, you’ll be pointed to the ticket machine. Don’t be intimidated by the machine. You can switch to English mode.
- Once you have a ticket, proceed to Bus Stop #2.
- If going to Hakata Station, ride the City Bus (Nishitetsu bus). This bus also stops in Tenjin. Travel time to Hakata Station: 15-20 minutes. Fare: ¥260 (Hakata), ¥310 (Tenjin).
Please don’t lose your ticket. You will be dropping it off on your way out of the bus.
Hakata Station is just a short walk from the bus stop.
If your destination is closer to Tenjin City Hall or Canal City Hakata, go to Bus Stop #4 instead and take the Royal Bus. Travel time: Around 30 minutes.
Surprisingly, taking the taxi from the airport to the city center isn’t as expensive as I thought. If you’re a group, this is a wise choice, especially if you have heavy bags in tow. The taxi can accommodate up to 4 passengers. I’ve done it many times before.
Like in most cities, the fare depends on the distance covered and duration of the trip.
Here are the usual rates:
- Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station: ¥1200
- Fukuoka Airport to Tenjin-minami: ¥1580
- Fukuoka Airport to Tenjin Station: ¥1830
- Hakata Station to Tenjin-minami: ¥1080
These are just the usual costs. It can go a bit higher when there’s traffic build up. I have experienced paying around ¥1600 for a cab ride from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Bus Terminal (which is just next to Hakata Station).
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