Akita Airport is the gateway to the stunningly beautiful Akita Prefecture, a place filled with festivals and natural beauty in every season.
The airport is about 30 minutes from the city center. While there are no airport trains, the Airport Limousine (which is actually a coach style bus) and the taxis are both convenient options, depending on your final destination, budget and the number of travelers in your group.
The Airport Limousine timetable is synchronized with the domestic flight departures and arrivals, with a bus departing usually within 15 minutes after the flight arrival. Being a compact airport, the airport arrival processing is quick and domestic passengers should be able to meet the next bus within 15 minutes. There is also a bus that is timed to meet the international arrivals, departing 60 minutes after the plane lands, so there should be enough time to clear immigration and customs. If you do miss the bus, the wait time is between 20 and 80 minutes, as the next bus is timed to meet the next flight rather than departing on regular half hour intervals. A one way fare is ¥900 for adults and ¥450 for children. This bus makes a small number of stops on its way to Akita Railway Station and then the Akita Civic Center a few kilometers west of the Railway Station. Most hotels, like Toyoko Inn and the Richmond Hotel, are located near the Railway Station, so even if you have some luggage, it should only be a short walk between the Railway Station stop and your hotel. The bus also makes a stop for hotels near the Kawabata nightlife district, such as the Pearl City Kawabata Hotel.
If you are going beyond Akita City, you have a choice of the Airport Limousine Bus + Train, or the Airport Liner Taxi Van. The latter is more convenient, especially to places that are far from the nearest train station, such as the Namahage Museum in the Oga Peninsula or the Tazawa Lake onsens in Semboku. While the Airport liner is more expensive, it would save you one or two transfers to get to your final destination. Besides, some of the more remote areas, such as the Onsens in Oga, have infrequent bus services, so unless your hotel has a pick-up service from the nearest train station, the airport liner bus is the quickest and most stress free way to get to the Onsen directly from the airport. The taxi van does not meet every flight, however, so check that there is a service meeting your flight before you book.
The Airport liner costs ¥3,400 to Oga Station (80 minutes), while the Airport Limousine Bus to Akita Station, and then a train to Oga Station would take at least 100 minutes in total depending on connections, but would only cost ¥1,640.
For the Akita City metropolitan area, Sky Access provides the cheapest door to door transport service, starting from ¥1,300 to the Akita Station area. It is basically a shared taxi or minibus service, for which you need to reserve by phone or fax.
Lastly you can hire a taxi or a rental car, which won’t be so expensive if you can split the cost between four people. With the taxi a 30 minute trip could cost around ¥6,000, while a hire car starts from ¥4,500 per day by clicking the car icon on the top right corner of this article. Europcar or Hertz on the other hand has cars from ¥7,000 per day. Outside the heavy snow periods in winter, it is quite easy to drive in Akita, with little or no traffic and multi-lingual GPS available for the major car rental companies. If you can’t rent an English GPS, you could always rent a mobile Wi-Fi in Tokyo or Osaka before turning your smartphone into a GPS. The other alternative is to try the Japanese GPS, and all you need to do is to key in the phone number of your destination.
Tips for a stress-free trip
As it is mentioned in the Akita Airport article, taxi passengers should have a written address of the destination in Japanese, including the telephone number. Many cab drivers have a strong Akita accent that even Japanese have trouble deciphering. If you don’t have this the personnel at the information desk at the airport are happy to help.
For the Airport Liner Taxi Van (not the regular Airport Limousine Bus), you need to book 12 hours in advance. If you are not confident in Japanese, maybe the receptionist at the previous hotel can do this for you.