18 Japanese Airports with “Nicknames” to Promote Localities and Familiarity

18 Japanese Airports with “Nicknames” to Promote Localities and Familiarity

Yamaneko (Wildcat) acts as a mascot for Tsushima Yamaneko Airport (Tsushima Airport) in Nagasaki.

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This month, there was news that Yonago Airport in Tottori Prefecture has decided on “Kiitaro Airport” as its nickname. In the past decade, at least 18 airports and airfields in Japan have adopted “nicknames” (other than the official names used for aircraft operations) for promotional purposes to attract more visitors.

These nicknames targeted at general visitors are often adopted after being drawn from the public, in cooperation with municipalities, visitor promotion organizations and airport building administration companies, as a part of a marketing campaign to increase the airport’s name recognition and attract visitors.

Some names use characteristic words taken from the local area’s culture or history, such as Okhotsk Mombetsu Airport (Mombetsu Airport), Shinshu Matsumoto Airport (Matsumoto Airport) and Mt. Fuji Shizuoka Airport (Shizuoka Airport), which put geographical locations at the beginning of their names, or Tancho Kushiro Airport (Kushiro Airport), Konotori Tajima Airport (Tajima Airfield) and Tsushima Yamaneko Airport (Tsushima Airport), which include the names of local wildlife.

According to experts in the aviation industry, the official names of many airports outside Japan include the names of politicians or prominent figures who have rendered some service to their country, whereas there are few that adopt the names of particular landmarks or animals. The only Japanese airport with a person’s name is Kochi Ryoma Airport (Kochi Airport).

Nicknames can widely promote the characteristics of the local area and make it more familiar. However, some have criticized the practice for being financially counterproductive, as most airports do not use the nicknames in their English renditions and an airport’s low name recognition may inadvertently confuse travelers.