Amakusa Airfield, also called by the locals as the Amakusa Airport, is the main entry point to the Amakusa Islands floating off the west coast of Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan. The airport is located on the northern side of Shimoshima, approximately 2.3 nautical miles or 4.3 km northwest of Amakusa City in Kumamoto Prefecture. Amakusa Airfield was owned by the Kumamoto Prefecture government, which initially announced plans of building the airport during a regular press conference on September 6, 1982. The plan was approved by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on December 26, 1990 and construction began only in 1992. However, it took another seven years for the airport to be operational, with a certain DHC-8 aircraft of Amakusa Airlines making the first touchdown on November 19, 1999. Amakusa Airfield opened its doors for public use the following year on March 23, 2000.
By spring of 2000, Amakusa Airlines now has round trips between Amakusa Islands and Kumamoto. The demand for the round trip intensified in 2005, wherein the operating hours was extended to 7:40 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. from its original schedule of 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. and has now round trips between Amakusa Airfield and Kumamoto Airport, as well as one round trip between Kumamoto Airport going to Kobe Airport. Amakusa Airfield is only being serviced by DHC-8 of Amakusa Airlines.
The name Amakusa means Heaven’s Grass, and is comprised of a series of islands. The largest group of the island is Shimoshima, stretching about 42.6km and is 21.7km in width. Ironically, the name Heaven’s Grass doesn’t reflect the island’s bloody past. Amakusa, along with its neighbouring Shimabara Peninsula, was known to be the site where Christian rebellion reached its peak during the 17th century, wherein Christians were persecuted for practising their faith. Despite this, Christians who managed to sneak away continues to practise their faith away from the prying eyes of the persecutors.
Long gone are the days of persecution for now, Amakusa was able to overthrow its infamous past and is being overshadowed by the fact that it is known to produce fine kaolin, a clay mineral which was a favourite ingredient ever since among the potters of Hirado and Satsuma Province. Having said this, pottery still remains to be a major export in the island. At present, the islands are organised as Amakusa District, Amakusa City, and Kami-amakusa City, all under the administration of Kumamoto Prefecture.
Amakusa City was established on March 27, 2006 consisting of two cities such as Hondo and Ushibuka, as well as the all of the six towns in Amakusa District such as Ariake, Goshura, Itsuwa, Kawaura, Kuratake, Shinwa, and Sumoto. Here, you can visit Amakusa-machi, a town famous for its scenic coastline. The Shiratsuru-hama is well lauded by the government of Japan for its natural, white sandy beach. If you want to see the beautiful rock formations, you can head to the Myoken-ura Bay. You can also soothe your senses and treat your weary state to the Shimoda-kita, which is home to a famous hot spring.
How to get around within Amakusa
From the Amakusa Airfield, you can reach Amakusa City in less than 20 minutes by hailing a taxi, or a private car. You can also catch a bus which runs from the airport and goes through the city centre. However, it will take you to reach one hour before you can reach your destination since the bus makes several stop overs along the way.
How to get to Amakusa
To reach Amakusa Islands, you have to fly into Amakusa Airport, which in turn is only being serviced by Amakusa Airlines. The airline only flies to and fro across three destinations, the first of which is the Kumamoto Prefecture on Kyushu Island. Amakusa Airlines also flies to the second class Fukuoka Airport in the Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, which functions both as a military and public airport, and is deemed as the fourth busiest airport in Japan. It also flies to Kobe Airport on an artificial island that serves Kobe City in Hyōgo Prefecture.
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