For many travelers in Japan, Haneda remains sort of a second choice after Narita for landing in Tokyo. This is explained by a simple reason: the airport still has this image to handle the capital's domestic air traffic and transit passengers coming to / from Asia. However, it is interesting to chase away these misconceptions as Haneda is:
- not only the historical Tokyo airport opened in 1931 (while Narita opened in 1978);
- but also (and by far) Japan's busiest one with about 230,000 passengers a day (almost twice more than Narita in 2011) as well as the second in Asia and the world's fifth largest airport.
Even more quieter than its alter-ego in its international terminal, Haneda has the luxury to accelerate time spent on immigration control and baggage reclaim. But one of the main assets of this airport is without a doubt its geographical proximity to the Japanese capital. Located on Tokyo Bay (in the South), barely thirty kilometers separate it from the megacity's major districts, which is about half less than Narita (in the East).
Therefore, reaching your accommodation in the heart of the city can take up to three times less. And this will get even faster, as Japan Railways announced in 2014 the construction of three new lines directly connecting Haneda to Tokyo Station, Shinjuku and Shin-Kiba, further reducing transportation times. Unfortunately, these connections will not be operating on time for the 2020 Olympic Games.
New runways and terminals
Since the 2000s and with this idea in mind, the Metropolitan Government wants to reverse the trend by offering foreigners a privileged access to Tokyo. In 2010, with the aim of increasing Haneda traffic for tourists, were inaugurated:
- a new and fourth runway, built directly on the sea (while the fifth one may already be on its way);
- and an international terminal building (the closest to the capital) all renovated and enlarged in 2014.
Therefore, more and more people go through this airport for arrival or departure. Transit passengers, whose plane lands late or takes off very early, can even stay at the "Royal Park Hotel", directly nested in the International Terminal. The airport also has two domestic terminals, mostly used by ANA for Terminal 2 and JAL for Terminal 1. The First Cabin, a famous high-end capsule-hotel, can be found in this area.
In addition to the vast selection of shops and restaurants spread out on a dedicated area, the top floor presents a large esplanade, including an open-air terrace, from which you can contemplate the constant come and go of planes, with Tokyo in the background. But remain careful to the crowd and the full-of-kerosene atmosphere!
Always at the forefront, Haneda tested at the end of 2015 a robotization program via three axes:
- cleaners which will work around Haneda 24/24h;
- automated luggage carriers;
- and exoskeleton fitted to the luggage workers’ bodies.
In 2018, Haneda has been ranked as the world's third best airport by Skytrax, after Singapore Changi and Seoul Incheon.
How to get to Haneda Airport
Read our Haneda transportation guide
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 264)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
羽田空港 (Haneda kûkô)
東京国際空港 (Tôkyô Kokusai Kûkô) Tokyo International Airport
HND (IATA airport code)
Accomodation in Haneda Airport
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Official Website (in English)