Travel from Portland to Japan


tokyoMany travelers I know choose to settle down in cities where there’s a good international airport, so when the mood strikes they have a variety of destinations to choose from. Living in Portland means there’s an international airport nearby, and you can always get “there” from “here,” but some destinations are definitely easier to reach than others. If you, like me, are a Europe lover, then living in Portland isn’t ideal – airfare always costs more than it does from the east coast, and you can count the number of direct flights on one hand.

Portlanders who happen to love Japan, however, are in luck – because what the east coast gets in cheap flights to Europe, we get in cheap flights to Asia.

It sometimes feels like we’re cheating with the “international” in Portland International Airport, since the majority of our flights to and from other countries are those on our northern and southern borders, but Portland does have regular daily flights to Japan that can sometimes be quite cheap. (As a side note to Japan fans, it’s only Delta Air Lines that flies from Portland to Tokyo, so you won’t be able to use those miles to go business class on Japan Airlines out of Portland – you’ll have to save them for another trip!)

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The flight from Portland to Tokyo’s Narita airport is actually one that Portlanders going to Asia often make whether they’re ending up in Japan or not – it’s the Delta hub where you’ll change planes for travel on to places like China as well. But if you are planning a trip to Japan, then it’s a direct flight from Portland to Tokyo, no layover necessary. Which is always welcome when you’re flying such long distances.

But if you are staying in Tokyo, then you might be in need of a place to stay. You may have heard about those Japanese “pod” hotels where you get something the size of a drawer at the morgue to sleep in – they’re super cheap, but I’m not sure they’d be ideal for a vacation. Especially when there are so many other Tokyo hotels to choose from.

photo by Ian Muttoo