About 400 onlookers gathered to watch a flying car cruise over Tanoura Beach in the city of Oita on Friday, marking the country's first successful manned outdoor flight of such a vehicle with transport ministry approval.

The flying car rose to a height of some 30 meters above the ground, traveling 400 meters, and was in the air for 3½ minutes.

The vehicle, which can carry two passengers, is 5.6 meters wide, 1.7 meters high and weighs 430 kilograms.

The test was conducted by MASC, an organization founded in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, mainly by aviation and automobile-related companies to create an aerospace industrial cluster.

"The flight was comfortable without any shaking, with only minor vibration felt during hovering," said MASC leader Hiroshi Kirino, who was on board the vehicle.

"The ride was like being in an automobile," he said, adding the flight demonstrated the safety of the vehicle.

Japan aims to make flying cars a part of the 2025 World Expo in Osaka.

Oita Mayor Kiichiro Sato said he believes that the flying car has, from a technical standpoint, reached a point where it can be put into practical use. He called for it to be available for use in Oita in 2025.