Niigata Airport is definitely on the small side but it is a clean, modern little airport and can occasionally be a better bet, if you live locally, then heading down to the Tokyo airports. There are domestic flights to Okinawa, Sapporo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Komaki, as well as international flights to parts of China, Russia, Korea and Guam. If you can get some good deals flying out of Seoul, Niigata becomes quite a useful link.
The airport itself is only one building. The departure gate, a couple of restaurants and a few shops are located in the middle and there are check-in desks on either side. The airport does everything it can to promote its home prefecture. Most of the decorations, from banners, stained glass windows, display cases and art exhibitions, are all showcasing the sights, flavors and products of Niigata. Both the souvenir shop and the little general store both have an interesting range of Niigata keepsakes (and I urge everyone to buy their own Niigata T-shirt.) The airport is also home to the regional Immigration Bureau (which is accessed outside on the far right hand side of the main building as you look at it from the carpark) so is a well-known port of call to Niigata's foreign residents.
The airport is easy to get to, with buses taking 25 minutes from Niigata Station, or if you are driving take the Niigata Airport IC off the Nihonkai Tohoku Expressway.
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