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Osaka Kansai Airport

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Continent: Asia Country: Japan
Osaka Kansai International Airport
Location Osaka, Japan
Airport type Commercial
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 118.2
Ground 121.6
Clearance 121.9
Approach 120.25
ATIS 127.85
Plane Spotting Hotels guide

The Osaka Kansai International Airport is located on an artificial island in the Osaka Bay, Southwest of the city of Osaka. Being located on a dedicated island, there are limited spotting opportunities available (without renting a boat of course). Luckily, the airport has provided an excellent spotting area adjacent to the threshold of the airport's main runway. The airport observation hall offers unique views overlooking the Osaka Bay, the airport causeway, and widebody aircraft approaching the airport.

Official Spotting Locations

SkyView Observation Hall

Osaka Kansai has a dedicated spotting location which is accessible by bus from the passenger terminal. The SkyView Observation hall is housed in a pair of four-story buildings linked by an aerial walkway. These buildings overlook the approach for Runway 24L as well as the North end of the terminal and apron. Both buildings feature rooftop decks (3rd and 4th floor). Inside the buildings there are two aviation themed restaurants (a Concorde themed formal restaurant on the 2nd floor of the West building and a cafe style restaurant on the 3rd floor of the East building) as well as an aviation hobby shop. A Japanese-language bus tour of the airport is available on weekends and Holidays, departing from the first floor of the SkyView hall.

The spotting deck is best for photography in the afternoon hours, but there are still some opportunities for photography of aircraft on the ramp in morning light. Photography of aircraft approaching Runway 24L can be accomplished with a 250mm focal length lens or smaller, but a longer lens may be desired for smaller aircraft (such as the Japan Coast Guard Saab 340).

The Observation hall is linked to the passenger terminal by a dedicated bus line which runs approximately every half hour. From the terminal, go outside to the curb and turn left; look for Bus Stop 1 (the furthest South bus stop). The bus will be labeled in English as "Observation Hall". As of July 2012 both the shuttle bus and the observation hall are free of charge. Be aware that private bus lines run service to the Observation Hall and other nearby destinations for a fare. The free shuttle operates from Stop 1 and is run by Nankai Bus.

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Locations to Avoid

Since Osaka Kansai is located on a dedicated island it is difficult to access other areas of the airport for spotting purposes. The SkyView tower offers plenty of excellent spotting opportunities and there should be no need to poke around other corners of the airfield.

Regular Traffic

Osaka sees frequent traffic from Japanese domestic carriers, as well as regular service from many major carriers ranging from Korean Air to Delta and Lufthansa. Domestic traffic often includes widebody aircraft (ANA and JAL 767-300s) in addition to frequent B737 and A320 series traffic. International carriers utilize various aircraft types, ranging from 737s up to 747s and 777-300s. The Japan Coast Guard operates a station near the SkyView deck; aircraft stationed at the Coast Guard hangar include Bell 212 and Super Puma aircraft, as well as specialized Saab 340 maritime patrol turboprops.

Facilities and Transportation

The Kansai spotting area can be accessed via a free shuttle bus from the airport terminal or by automobile across the airport causeway. The airport terminal is most easily reached by train, either on the Nankai Electric or JR West line. Typical airport amenities are available inside the passenger terminal. The SkyView complex is home to two restaurants, restrooms, vending machines, as well as an aviation hobby shop.