Plane spotting at Itami Airport

Posted in Photography on 16 January, 2015 (18:11)

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
I love planes! Riding them can be scary but they’re awesome pieces of engineering. When I was a kid a cheap family day out would be a drive to Gatwick Airport, park up at the top of a multi-storey car park and watch planes come and go. I even had a radio to listen to the air traffic control chatter!

Osaka has two major airports, Kansai International(KIX) about an hour south of the city, and Itami(ITM) to the north which is considerably closer. Since KIX opened in 1994, Itami only handles domestic traffic to and from Osaka but remains quite busy. Its also a great place for plane spotting, as I did recently.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
Itami has a number of good spots for plane spotting, both in the airport itself and around the perimeter fence. I chose to head to a spot outside at the very start of the runway which I hoped would offer some extreme close-ups as planes came in to land. To get here: head to Hankyu Sone station, then it’s about a 20min walk west.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
I was not disappointed.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
This was a really great spot! There’s a small waterway at the edge of the fence with a path running along each side, that’s where I set up. You’re surrounded by the landing lights(which stretch out beyond the airport) and standing no more than a few metres from the fence itself, this kind of access in England is almost impossible these days.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
Genuinely thought I’d freak out the first time a plane went overhead, but actually it wasn’t that scary, and only noisy for a split-second.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
Plane spotting at Itami Airport
As well as the huge jets coming in, smaller aircraft were also regularly arriving in so there’s a nice bit of variation.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
It was quite a windy day, so the pilots were flying in at a slight angle, then correcting at the last moment. This one still managed to get it just about perfect! Little bit of tyre smoke there too :)

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
Shot all these with my 10-year old DSLR and a stock lens, I’d love to rent a proper zoom lens and go back sometime.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport
EXTREME close up.

Plane spotting at Itami Airport

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I really enjoyed watching the planes here , and if you’re an aviation enthusiast I’m sure you would too. I probably arrived a bit late(2pm) and the sun was already starting to go, earlier is definitely better!

Thanks for reading! Here are some of my other posts you might like

Experimenting with Photoshop: stacking
Chinese New Year 2011: Celebrations in London
Photographing your Gunpla
An evening walk around Osaka Castle
Tuesday Time-lapse: Osaka Station City
Tuesday Time-lapse: Namba

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