Flight from the U.S.A. to Japan

One of the most common questions I get is:  “How long does it take to fly to Japan (or the U.S.)?”

I usually give the answer, “About twelve hours.”  But truthfully, it depends.

First, it depends on which direction you are travelling.  Flying towards Japan over the Pacific takes a little longer than flying toward the United States.  It usually adds at least an hour to my flight (a very uncomfortable hour, in which one is thinking, “Aren’t we there YET?!!?”)

Second, it depends on where one is travelling to in the U.S.  A trip to the west coast will take less time than a trip to the east coast.   It takes less time to reach the northern part of the U.S. than the southern part.  Also, you have to take layovers into account.  It might take twelve hours to fly to an international airport–then you wait for another two hours for your next flight (which takes two hours) to your final destination.

I consider myself lucky, though.  Many, MANY people make the U.S. to Japan trip but also may have been coming originally from Brazil.  Or heading to Thailand.  Their flight time (in total) is excruciatingly long.

I have some photos from our trip from the U.S. to Japan.  We travelled on American Airlines from Dallas to Los Angeles, then switched to a flight which headed to Tokyo (Haneda Airport.)

Here we are waiting for our flight at the Los Angeles International Airport. My son is used to these trips, since we take one yearly.  He just sort of goes into hibernation mode.

Looks like it is on time!  Hooray!  This flight is unusual in that it lands in Haneda Airport.  (Tokyo has two main airports–Haneda and Narita.)  Usually Narita Airport is reserved for mostly international flights, so that is the airport we had always used previously.

I see the west coast of the U.S…..we are on our way!

We sit in economy class (third class, coach class.  The other classes are first and business.)  Years ago everybody had to watch the same exact movie on a screen in the front.  But then around 2000, economy class started getting better in-flight entertainment–screens in the seats so each person can choose what he or she wants to watch.

This flight had many TV shows and movies to choose from.  This is a documentary about Warren Buffet.

After we take off, we first get a drink and some small snack like pretzels.

Then there is a “dinner.”   Basically, a passenger has two choices (like beef or chicken)  but one can order a special meal prior to the flight if one’s diet is more specific.  (Like a vegetarian meal or a kids’ meal.)

There were so many choices in movies–both current and classic–that I felt I could not complain.  If I can’t sleep, I just spend my time watching the TV.  (Which is what the majority of people do.  The lights dim after the dinner and it’s hard to do anything else, really.)

I had never seen “The Last Samurai” but I remember when it came to Japan.  I decided to watch it.  I enjoyed it, despite it starring that unloveable varmint Tom Cruise.


Inside the flight, midway.  You can see that it’s really dim.    Midflight we got a small snack–a sandwich and ice cream.


I watched the movie “Loving” which had not come out in Japan yet.  (I think soon…?  April?  May?)  This was a slow moving movie, but I really liked it.  I liked it even better after I googled it (later on) and found that a lot of the dialogue was taken from documentary footage.  I think the filmmakers tried to be accurate.


“Breakfast” is served about an hour before we land.  It usually feels like in the middle of the night (because it is, time-wise, for us) so I’m not very hungry.  But I’m happy because the arrival of this last meal means we are almost there!

Here we are at Haneda Airport!  Tokyo!

As you are aware, we live in Fukushima–which is not exactly close to Tokyo.  So the plan was to stay in a hotel in Tokyo and leave the next day for Fukushima.   Dividing up the trip like this is so nice!  It’s a long journey….

About kireikireikireiI am a mom.

5 thoughts on “Flight from the U.S.A. to Japan

  1. I saw the movie Loving too. And I agree the movie was a little too slow.

    Since my husband works for the airline and we use Delta all the time, at Delta, the classes for seats is broken up a little differently. It’s economy, economy plus and the business class at Delta, is their first class. We only fly in biz class/first class but that’s only because employees are put in there first and we fly for free. If we had to pay, we’d be sitting in coach right along with most folks.

    And fwiw, a lot of flights are starting to go through Haneda now. Delta for example has about 3 or 4 flights from the USA mainland to Haneda. And they still have many coming out of Narita too though. I think they are just trying to offer more options. And same for the other American owned airlines too. I think being able to fly out of both Haneda and Narita just gives travelers so many more options and choices.


    • Thanks for the info! You are really the international travel expert…Since I lived in Narita, I sort of knew a bit then, but my info has gotten outdated. We used American Airlines because its hub is Dallas. (I think its headquarters may be in Dallas? Not sure about that.)

      Thanks for reading! Have a great day!


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