Monday, April 4, 2011

Kagoshima International Airport

Kagoshima International Airport is a 30-minute bus ride from the main city center of Kagoshima, Kyushu, and pretty effectively described as "being in the countryside". Planners had expected a city to form up around the airport, and had zoned various convenience stores and other shops, but over the years the plans failed to conform to reality. The only businesses that have survived to one extent or another are the car rental agencies. If the prefecture had run a train line out here from the city center, that would have been one thing, but since the majority of travelers have cars, there's no reason to stay in the area, and the bus is 1200 yen ($15 USD) one-way, making the flow of steady traffic too expensive for casual visitors. As a result, the international terminal is open only when one of the few scheduled flights arrives or departs. The domestic terminal has a lot more activity, but it's on the scale of a small city airport. On the other hand, anyone wanting to go from Kagoshima up to Hokkaido will want to fly, so the airport is guaranteed some traffic into the future, at the least.

Japan Rail's "Guri-buu" campaign character is very much in evidence here.

Kyushu is famous for its hot spring spas (onsen), and as a way to play on this, the airport has installed a "foot onsen", advertised as using water from one of the area's springs.

The surrounding scenery is nice. There's a ring of mountains around the area, and some of them are still emitting steam.

(Looking out on to the fields facing away from the airport.)

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