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Option 5: Fukuoka International Airport to Shin Iwakuni:
This route is only recommended for those with limited baggage, due to the fact that you must travel quite a ways by foot, and due to limited luggage storing. You can fly directly from the U.S. to Fukuoka Intl Airport, and take an airport shuttle to the Domestic Terminal. When you leave the Domestic Terminal you will be outside, so turn left and follow the (train icon) signs to the Subway (About 100 yd walk & go downstairs). At the bottom of the stairs and directly in front of you, you will see machines for purchasing subway tickets. Placing 250 Yen in coins into slot & pressing 250 button will spit out a small ticket for you. Take the ticket, and move to your right a few yards where subway entrance machines are located. Insert ticket in machine to be punched, walk thru gate & grab your punched ticket again. Follow crowd downstairs to subway and board next available train. Hakata Station is the 2nd stop after the Airport Subway Station (10 min ride).
If excess luggage is an issue, you can ship some to MCAS Iwakuni via Nittsu or Yamato Transport located in the arrival area of Fukuoka Airport Terminal (Note “Shinkansen Travel” concerning baggage service).
Upon arriving at Hakata Train Station, use the escalator to the upper floor, turn left and walk until you come to another escalator to the next level (Mr. Donut will be on your right side as you approach 2nd escalator). At top of escalator, look to your right for the Shinkansen ticket office and get in line to purchase tickets for “Iwakuni Shin Station” (Approx $70 Adult & $35 child 6-11). Children 5 and under are free, but do not get a seat (They share with you). Your train will not say it will stop in Iwakuni, more likely Yamaguchi or other, so ask the ticket issuer to write the # of the train for you so you get on the right one, (Example, Kodama #623). Right outside of the ticket office are LED signs indicating train#, departing time and track# (Use escalator on right most likely). Once you find the track and verify your train# and time with the LED nearest that track, board train arriving nearest your departure time and/or ask Shin support personnel if that is the # of your train (Car & seat #s should be on your ticket). NOTE that only KODAMA type Shinkansen trains stop in Iwakuni, the faster NOZOMI does not. The Shin will make a few stops before arriving at Iwakuni Shin Station (1.5 hour ride). Once your arrive at the Iwakuni Train Station, you can take a taxi (Depending on family size & luggage) or have sponsor pick you up. Refer to the “Shinkansen Travel” instructions for more detail on riding the bullet train.
Hiroshima Airport to Iwakuni: If your travel itinerary brings you to Hiroshima Airport, you will have some options on proceeding to Iwakuni:
Option A: Have your sponsor meet you at Hiroshima Airport. Some sponsors do not mind driving to pick you up at the airport, but keep in mind that they are not required to do so, and are not reimbursed for the trip, so you may want to offer them at least $70 to cover gas, expressway, and parking fees.
Option B: Reserve the Hiroshima Airport Shuttle, a service offered by MCCS Iwakuni. For reservation information, call IT&T 253-4030, or from the US, call 011-81-827-79-4030. Your sponsor can also make reservations for you. The cost is $60 per person, reimbursable on your travel claim. Small caged pets are authorized on the shuttle; if the caged pet is in a set, the $60 fee applies to the pet as well. You may utilize the shuttle even if you do not have the money on hand to pay for the service, but you will be required to sign an agreement that you will make the payment the following day.
Option C: Take a bus from Hiroshima Airport to the Hiroshima JR train station, and take the train to Iwakuni. You can buy bus tickets from vending machines outside baggage claim (prior to exiting the terminal) to get to the Japanese Rail (JR) Hiroshima Station (a 50 min ride). Once you arrive at the Hiroshima Train Station, you will then purchase a ticket for a local JR train to Iwakuni JR Station in downtown Iwakuni (1 hr ride). From the local Iwakuni JR Station, it is a 10 minute taxi ride to base (at a cost of about 1500 yen, which is about $15; the taxis only take Yen), or your sponsor can pick you up. Follow this link for more information.
Option D: BE ADVISED: A taxi directly from Hiroshima Airport to MCAS Iwakuni is expensive (approx 30,000yen) and can be difficult to fit all of your luggage. If a taxi is needed due to large size of family and amount of baggage, it is more advisable that the bus is taken to Hiroshima Train Station from the Airport, then look for English sign for “TAXI” where a larger taxi can be obtained for travel to the base by going to the taxi office and asking for a “Jumbo TAXI”. Note that the taxi will not be allowed on base, so your sponsor will have to pick you up at the front gate, and you must have ample Yen to pay driver.
Notes: You may hear about Shiraichi Station which is a local train station that is closer to the airport (15 min bus ride), but not recommended for first time travelers. Luggage must be hand-carried aboard the shuttle bus and there is only room to sit, (I have traveled this many times myself with limited luggage). The bus to Hiroshima Train Station however, will allow you to store all luggage in below compartments.
The Air Station website has very good instructions on how to get from Hiroshima Airport to Iwakuni. I highly recommend printing out the instructions and carrying it with you to refer to if this is the route you will be arriving. The last page has numerous contact numbers & a reminder on how to use Japanese phones. Also, please be sure to have enough money exchanged to Yen prior to leaving the U.S. At least $300 is recommended, but if you have several dependents, more is better (you will use it while in Japan, I assure you, or you can exchange it back to Dollars at one of the cash cages on base once you arrive). Here is the link.