Getting to and from Matsuyama from Tokyo is best done via Matsuyama Airport. It is a really nice little airport and serves its purpose very well. I really had a good time and they really promote the local wares so do make sure you spend a little time looking around the airport before you go to the gate.
Being a JAL/ANA member and having a smartphone with NFC capabilities means that I don’t have to check-in to any domestic flights. I can easily head to the airport and walk through security using my phone as ID. I arrived early because I wanted to check out the airport as it was my first time there. I took the Limousine Bus from Matsuyama-shi Station directly to the airport. It only took about 15 minutes and it felt like nothing.
When you arrive at Matsuyama Airport, you will probably be around the central area of the terminal. You will easily be able to check into your flight but be sure to spend a moment to enjoy the large stain glassed window. It is of the mikan trees of the area. They also have a large champagne tower, but instead of champagne flowing down glasses they use mikan juice; I believe it is real mikan juice. I heard there is even a nice faucet where you can get mikan juice for free, but I didn’t find it or look for it.
While my friend “I” was checking-in, I headed up to the roof of the airport to enjoy the view. The view is actually pretty good and if you just want to do a little planespotting, you can head to the roof. Unfortunately the flights are infrequent so you need to time a visit right to enjoy the flights taking off or landing. The only problem is that the flights will usually take off and land from the sea, and the terminal is closer to the land side area, so getting good photos won’t be easy.
If you have time to kill, you can easily enjoy a lot of shopping on the second floor. It is a nice place and you can find a lot of good souvenirs. You don’t have to worry about liquids either as you are allowed to bring liquids onto the plane as long as they are still sealed. I had a large capped bottle of beer and it was no problem. I was nervous, of course, but I didn’t worry too much. I regret not buying some beer before entering the secure area because the beer inside that area was more expensive.
The secure area is a real disappointment. They have the regular small shops for you to buy gifts and souvenirs for co-workers but nothing else. There really isn’t anything to do when you go inside. I bought a beer and just chilled while I waited for my flight to board. If you have a choice, try to stay in the public area as it is much brighter and there is a lot more to do. It may be more crowded but it is nicer.
Matsuyama Airport is a good place and while I did enjoy checking out the airport a little before my flight, it is still a small airport. You don’t need a lot of time to enjoy it but as I have recently enjoyed taking my time to really enjoy the places that I visit, I always plan for a lot of extra time. Thankfully Matsuyama Airport is relaxing enough that you can just sit down with a nice beer while you wait for your flight to board.
- Matsuyama Airport (Official Site – Japanese Only with limited English)
Iyotetsu Transportation Information (Official Site – English)