Narita may be the more commonly used one for international arrivals to Japan, but Haneda airport is statistically much superior. Travel analysts OAG have named Haneda the most punctual airport in the world for two years in a row with 87.5% of flights taking off and landing within 15 minutes of schedule.
Furthermore, Skytrax gave it the dual honour of ‘World’s Best Domestic Airport’ and ‘Best Airport Terminal Cleanliness’. These achievements may mean little to a bleary-eyed jet-lagged passenger who is simply passing through, but what will be of importance is Haneda’s close proximity to Tokyo. Compared to fighting your way across the breadth of Tokyo to reach Narita, Haneda is a short ride to the south of Tokyo’s city centre and there are plenty of ways to get between the two.
Bus from Haneda Airport to Tokyo
The ‘Limousine’ company offers plenty of destinations from Haneda to almost any major area in the greater Tokyo region. The earliest bus departs at 07:00 and the last at 01:00 in the morning, with very little waiting time in-between. For example, a bus to the busy hub of Shinjuku takes a just over 30 minutes and costs 1230 Yen (ca. 12 USD).
Many of Tokyo’s top tourist destinations will cost a similar price, but just be aware that the night buses after midnight cost about double. There is, unfortunately, no night-time shuttle bus to Haneda as there is to Narita airport but several bus companies offer special night-time services to ensure you can reach Tokyo no matter what time you land.
Train from Haneda Airport to Tokyo
When attempting to navigate the often incomprehensible Tokyo train map, it’s important to learn what some of the key train lines are. Arguably the most important (for tourists and commuters alike) is the green Yamanote line which runs in a circle and stops at almost all of the city’s major locations. Visitors to Tokyo will be using this line a lot and Haneda airport is very closely connected to it.
From Hamamatsucho Station, the Monorail takes just 15 minutes and costs 490 Yen (ca. 4,50 USD) while from Shinagawa Station (just two stops further clockwise) a regular Keikyu Line train will reach the airport in a similar time for 410 Yen (ca. 4 USD). The Monorail stops first at the International Terminal, followed by Terminal 1 and then Terminal 2 but the Keikyu Line stops at the International Terminal and then has one stop for both domestic terminals.
Both Shinagawa and Hamamatsucho lie just under 20 minutes from Shinjuku at the far side of the Yamanote loop, so most journeys to the airport will be take under an hour, providing you’re based relatively centrally.
Car from Haneda Airport to Tokyo
Compared to Narita airport, a taxi ride from Haneda to central Tokyo is not a ridiculous idea. With average costs between 5-10,000 Yen (ca. 50-100 USD), a taxi would make more sense than a bus for groups of 4 or those with large bags. The mini-metropolis of Shibuya, for example, would be a short ride away, providing you don’t do so during peak traffic hours.
Best way to get from Haneda Airport to Tokyo
While the airport that you arrive in Tokyo is very often not up to you, landing at Haneda makes for a much more relaxing and cheaper journey into the city. Providing you’ve done a little research on what part of the world’s largest city you’re going to, taking the train makes the most sense for those staying anywhere along or close to the Yamanote line, including Shinjuku, Shibuya or Ueno.
Arriving in the evening or during rush hour, however, is a different story as the Yamanote line will be very busy and almost impossible with suitcases. Therefore, a ‘Limousine’ bus or a taxi would be a good option.