Next to Kansai, our member Maximilian visited Itami as well during his trip through Japan and presents you a total number of three spots. Osaka Airport (RJOO / ITM), was Osaka’s main airport until Kansai International Airport was opened in 1994. Nowadays ITM only handles domestic services. Traffic is restricted due to its location within a highly populated neighbourhood in Hyogo prefecture next to the city of Itami. Nevertheless, ITM’s traffic figures are comparable to Kansai as some 17 million passengers are handled every year.
The airport is accessible from Osaka either by bus or by train (Hankyu railway Takarazuka line from Umeda station, change to Osaka monorail at Hotarugaike station). This airport has only poor airline variety. Most operations are served by ANA, JAL and their subsidiaries. Ibex Airlines also offers a couple of flights. Good weather is common at this airport, but during the hot summer months you sometimes have to face misty conditions or heat distortion.
Written by Maximilian Ono (visited April 2014)
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|3.000 m||1.828 m|
|Terminals||North Terminal||South Terminal|
|JAL||ANA, Ibex Airlines|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not required|
|Car/Public Transport||Not required as you can reach the spots by foot and public transport. See description for each location.|
When you rent a bicycle from Sone station (It is 160 yen in 2 hours, in the case of electric bicycle, necessary identification card) you can can ride to all the spotting places. There is also a bicycle rental at Okamachi station north to Sone station.
|Restrooms||Not directly at the spots. Inside terminal buildings|
|Drinks/Food||Inside terminal buildings or at spot 2 there is a 7eleven.|
|Hotels||Not directly at the airport but Osaka city centre is easily accessible|
|Season||Spotting is possible all year long|
|Runway Usage||32L||departures & arrivals of larger aircraft (usually 737/A320 upwards)|
|32R||departures & arrivals of smaller aircraft (usually Embraer 170 downwards)|
|Due to mountains north of the airport, almost every arrival approaches from the south.|
|Spot #1 – “La Sora” observation deck – departures and arrivals, movements on the apron|
|WHERE||Rooftop of both terminal buildings|
|WHAT||You can see and spot movements on the apron as well as arrivals and departures on both runways.|
|TIME||Best light conditions are in the early morning. Later, movements on the runway are in backlight.|
|MISC.||Shops and restrooms inside the terminal, possibly also on the terrace itself.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Approx. 50-100mm for planes on the apron. Longer lenses are required for planes on taxiways and on the runway.|
|Spot # 2 – Itami Sky View Park – arrivals and departures on both runways|
|WHERE||Located on the other side of the runway system. By car you can park there directly. The number 25 bus goes there from the airport terminals and the stop for the Sky Park is outside the 7/11 convenience store (it’s the first stop after the bus comes out of the underpass beneath the runway). Buses are every 30 minutes and it costs around ¥150.|
|WHAT||You can see and spot all movements on both runways. There are plenty of opportunities where you can stand because the park is pretty huge.|
|TIME||Best light conditions are in the afternoon. In the morning, movements on the runway are in backlight. The spot becomes useful by around 11 o’clock.|
|MISC.||There is a 7/11 store next to the bus stop.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Below 100mm for planes on runway 32L, longer lenses required for planes on runway 32R.|
|Spot # 3 – Harada – RWY 32L and 32R arrivals, RWY 32L lineup|
|WHERE||Starting at Osaka (Umeda) Station, take Hankyu Railway Takarazuka Line and leave the train at Sone Station. Note you can only take the “Local” train service as Express trains don’t stop at Sone. Leaving the station to the south, take the first major street to the right as it is drawn on the map. The walk will lead you below a highway and takes approx. 20 minutes. Just follow the approaching planes above your head. After crossing a bridge above a small river, turn right into the small sand path.|
|WHAT||You can see and spot mainly approaches to Runways 32L and 32R. Besides, ground shots can be made for Runway 32L lineups.|
|TIME||Best light conditions are in the afternoon. In the morning, you have to go on walking along the sand path to the other side of the approach glidepath.|
|MISC.||There are no shops or restrooms at the spot, so buy what you need in the shops on the way or at Osaka (Umeda) station.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Max. 50mm for 777-300 on final to Runway 32L. If you walk back to the street, you’ll make it with a 55mm lens (see picture attached). Min. 200mm for Dash 8 Q400 approaching Runway 32R.|