Haneda Airport - from domestic to international airport
Haneda airport is located in the south of Tokyo and is the first airport open in Japan in 1931.
After Narita airport open in 1978, the role of the international airport was replaced by Narita airport and Haneda airport mainly operated as a domestic airport since then.
During the last decades, Haneda became busier and busier and reached almost its capacity. In the 2000s, Haneda has finally expanded its runway and international terminal. Then, Haneda returned to the international airport in 2008.
As you can see, the majority of Haneda airport is a reclaimed land made by landfills. Tokyo is actually expanding its size due to this (all of Tokyo Bay are the same).
Why Japanese people prefer Haneda rather than Narita?
Since Haneda returned to the international airport, it didn't take so much time to surpass Narita airport. Today, Haneda is by far the largest airport in terms of the number of passengers in Japan.
When Japanese people buy an international flight ticket from/to Tokyo, now we've got two options. Haneda or Narita. If it's the same price, the majority of people choose Haneda rather than Narita. Why?
It's the location. While Narita airport is more than 70km from central Tokyo and at least takes more than an hour to get there, Haneda airport is accessible to central Tokyo in just 30 - 40 minutes.
So, if you plan to buy a flight ticket to Tokyo and tickets have the same conditions, definitely choose Haneda (unfortunately, a ticket to Haneda is normally more expensive which is no surprise).
If your destination is Narita airport, the airport is not in Tokyo and located a bit far (70km) from central Tokyo, but don't worry. Here's the guide.
If you arrive Haneda, I assume the most of you still need to move to your final destination, where you stay. This blog will let you know what option is the most suitable for different type of travellers.
How to get to central Tokyo from Haneda airport
1. Budget Traveler
Take Train or Monorail - Keikyu Line or Tokyo Monorail
Two lines are operating from Haneda airport and they're no wonder competing for each other. Basically, there's no big difference between the two, so you can choose either of them.
Keikyu Line goes to Shinagawa station.
Tokyo Monorail goes to Hamamatsu-cho station.
Also, so many different services like Local, Limited Express, Express confuse you, just ignore them. It doesn't make a big difference. Just check the destination (Shinagawa or Hamamatsu-cho) and get on the train comes first.
Just two stations (Yamanote-line) between Shinagawa and Hamamatsu-cho stations. If your hotel is located in Shinagawa or Hamamatsu-cho, you should choose which one to take based on your hotel location.
Otherwise, you need to change at either station to go to your final destination.
This is Keikyu Line inside the train. It's pretty similar to a normal train in Japan.
This is inside Tokyo Monorail. It has a luggage space inside.
Keikyu Line (to Shingawa) 410 yen (3 pounds / 4 dollars)
Tokyo Monorail (to Hamamatsu-cho) 490 yen (3.5 pounds / 4.5 dollars)
Keikyu Line (to Shinagawa) 11-20 minutes
Tokyo Monorail (to Hamamatsucho) 18-24 minutes
Can experience local Japan immediately (Please note that you might face the challenge of Japanese crazy train in rush hour)
Faster than the bus
Not so foreign tourists-friendly (stations and train type could be confusing)
Not all stations have lifts(elevators) & escalators
The chances are you cannot find a seat (basically always busy).
2. Budget Traveler (with heavy luggage)
Take direct bus
If you're a budget traveller and like a simple and easy option, the bus would be the best option.
So many direct destinations from Haneda airport. You can reach most of the main areas in central Tokyo directly. In addition, you can even go to the places outside Tokyo such as Tokyo Disneyland (actually not in Tokyo), Yokohama and even Mt.Fuji etc.
For further destination info, please check here.
First, find the ticket counter right after the exit gate. Two companies (Keikyu Bus, Airport Limousine) are operating from the airport.
You will see something like this.
Price: 930 yen (To Tokyo Station) (6.5 pounds / 8.5 dollars)
Time: 40 - 60 minutes (depending on traffic, but can reach most places in central Tokyo within an hour.
No seat reservation, so you have to wait for the next bus if it's full. But, such a case is extremely rare. All bus companies are running very frequent service, so normally you won't wait more than 30 minutes.
Easy. Get on the bus. Then just sit down and relax.
Hands-free (staff will help you to put your luggage underneath)
Frequent service (of course not as frequent as local train, but the most frequent time they run every 15 minutes or so which is very nice).
May take longer in case of traffic jam.
Not as frequent as a train & monorail.
3. Affluent Traveller who is willing to pay more for quicker access
Take Taxi (still not that expensive)
For those who would not mind spending a bit more for the time and comfort, taking a taxi should be the best option.
This option may be out of option if you take a taxi from Narita airport (another gateway to the Tokyo area, but the airport is not in Tokyo. 200 dollars trip to central Tokyo from there!), but if it's from Haneda airport, it's actually not that expensive especially if you can split the bill with friends or someone else.
Time: 40 - 60 minutes
Price: 7,000 - 10,000 yen (50- 70 pounds / 65 - 90 dollars)
If you have less luggage, max 3 - 4 people can split the bill, so it's quite an affordable option.
If you're lucky, you might be able to get on the new Tokyo taxi. (20 - 30% of the taxi in Tokyo will be replaced by this model before 2020.
Super easy (direct access to your final destination)
Might take longer time depending on traffic
Recommendation from Tokyo Direct
Our first recommendation is to use the train or monorail (Keikyu Line or Tokyo Monorail). It's frequent and cheap, very easier to use than all other options.
But, if your hotel or final destination is located in a different area, you should consider another option.
For example, your hotel is in the south part of Tokyo between Shinagawa and Haneda airport, your first choice will be taking a taxi.
If your hotel is a bit outside central Tokyo area and the bus directly goes there, you should use the bus.
In any case, Haneda is located very close to central Tokyo, it won't be difficult to get to central Tokyo from there.
Have a nice trip!
Thank you for reading.
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