Nasal mucosal tissues are equipped with physical barriers, mucus and cilia, on their surface. The mucus layer captures inhaled materials, and the cilia remove the inhaled materials from the epithelial layer by asymmetrical beating. The effect of nasal physical barriers on the vaccine efficacy remains to be investigated. Tubulin tyrosine ligase-like family member 1 (Ttll1) is an essential enzyme for appropriate movement of the cilia on respiratory epithelium, and its deficiency (Ttll1-KO) leads to mucus accumulation in the nasal cavity. Here, when mice were intranasally immunized with pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA, as vaccine antigen) together with cholera toxin (CT, as mucosal adjuvant), Ttll1-KO mice showed higher levels of PspA-specific IgA in the nasal wash and increased numbers of PspA-specific IgA-producing plasma cells in the nasal passages when compared with Ttll1 hetero (He) mice. Mucus removal by N-acetylcysteine did not affect the enhanced immune responses in Ttll1-KO mice versus Ttll1-He mice. Immunohistological and flow cytometry analyses revealed that retention time of PspA in the nasal cavity in Ttll1-KO mice was longer than that in Ttll1-He mice. Consistently, uptake of PspA by dendritic cells was higher in the nasopharynx-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) of Ttll1-KO mice than that of Ttll1-He mice. These results indicate that the ciliary function of removing vaccine antigen from the NALT epithelial layer is a critical determinant of the efficacy of nasal vaccine. The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Japanese Society for Immunology.