How Many Airports Does Tokyo Have and Which One is Better?

When you plan your travel, one of the first things you do, after choosing your destination, is to pick up your flight tickets. But sometimes – OK, maybe a lot of times – you don’t know if you have the choice between airports and which one to choose. Well, that’s probably the case if you travel to Tokyo in Japan.

So, how many airports are available in Tokyo? Tokyo has two airports: Haneda airport located at Hanedakuko, Ota City, Tokyo and Narita airport located at Furugome, Narita, Chiba. While Haneda airport is 25 minutes away from central Tokyo, Narita airport is 55 minutes away.

Let’s take a closer look to each airport so you can choose easily which one is better for you.

Haneda Airport (HND)

Airplane at Haneda Airport

Haneda airport (or Tokyo International Airport) is very close to central Tokyo – just 11 miles (ca. 18 km) away – and it usually takes less than 30 minutes to get there. This airport serves plenty of domestic flights, but it also serves a growing part of international flights. It has 3 terminals: terminal 1, 2 and the international terminal.

Between the landing and the arrival lobby, you have to follow the international arrival procedures which consist of the following steps:

  • Quarantine: if you had a medical questionnaire on the plane, just submit it at the quarantine counter after filling it
  • Immigration: have your passport ready and remove it from its plastic cover
  • Baggage Claim: retrieve your baggage in the designated area
  • Plant/Animal Quarantine: you might have to go through this step, depending on your country, to check if you brought animals or food into Japan
  • Customs Inspection: take your baggage with you and submit your customs declaration form (more info available at the official website)

One amazing thing about traveling to this airport is that you can’t lose yourself. Actually, yes you can, but they have created these awesome videos that show you exactly where to go when you land. By watching their videos, you feel like you already know the airport even if you’ve never been there before. Take a look at this one by clicking on the link. You will have a straight idea of where to go from the arrival lobby.

P.S.: Have you noticed the funny ninja that appears briefly at the bottom after minute 3:14? And he keeps showing up later in the video. One thing is for sure, Japanese don’t lack of humor. 🙂

Nevertheless, let’s get back to the real subject of this post.

Haneda airport is well-equipped and has a lot of facilities which make your travel much more pleasant. So you will find:

  • A Japanese shrine for praying at Terminal 1
  • A Pet Hotel at P4 Parking (only for people who live in Japan, but take a look at their website to have an idea of the thing)
  • 2 Observation Decks where one is on the Terminal 1 rooftop. This one has a 360 degree view of planes landing and taking off. If you want to know more about this, take a look at this link.
  • Juveniland Tokyo at Terminal 1which is a collection of old toys where even adults can have a good time
  • Designated Smoking Areas and even 2 amazing smoking rooms at Terminal 2
  • Free Wi-Fi areas
  • Self-Service Coin Exchange Kiosk at the Arrival Lobby
  • More than 40 Restaurants and Cafés spread all over the entire airport

To help you find all you need, the full floor map of Haneda Airport can be downloaded here. And here’s also a video of Haneda’s airport so you can have an idea before going there.

And if you’re afraid of not finding your way to the hotel or your next stop, let me tell you that Haneda airport website has a tool that shows you the best way to travel to your destination. Just click this link to go directly to their page.

Narita International Airport (NRT)

Narita Airport at night

Narita International Airport is 40 miles (ca. 64 km) away from central Tokyo. Despite the distance, getting to Tokyo is really easy and it doesn’t take that long (around 1 hour, but it depends on the means of transport you pick). This airport has 3 terminals, all serving domestic flights, but most importantly, international flights.

Just like in Haneda Airport, before you can get to the arrival lobby, you have to follow the international arrival procedures with the same basic steps:

  • Quarantine: if you had a medical questionnaire on the plane, just submit it at the quarantine counter after filling it
  • Immigration: have your passport ready and remove it from its plastic cover
  • Baggage Claim: retrieve your baggage in the designated area
  • Plant/Animal Quarantine: you might have to go through this step, depending on your country, to check if you brought animals or food into Japan
  • Customs Inspection: take your baggage with you and submit your customs declaration form (more info available at the official website)

Once you get to the arrival lobby, you can start your visit and enjoy the best facilities and services at Narita International Airport :

  • Free Wi-Fi areas to let your family and friends know that you have finally arrived
  • Narita Airport Navigation App which shows your location in real-time and gives you the best way to get to boarding gates, shops, etc
  • Prayer Rooms in each terminal, before and after the passport control
  • Pet Hotel at terminal 2, only for Japan residents
  • A Kids Park in each terminal for children to play before boarding
  • Automatic Currency Exchange Machine at terminal 1 and 2
  • Designated smoking areas (14 at terminal 1 and 19 at terminal 2)
  • A huge selection of Restaurants, Shops and Duty-free shops

For the detailed information about the airport, you can download the floor guide of each terminal in this page.

If you have some free time, it might be interesting to enjoy all the art spread throughout the airport. Just take a look at this page to understand what you will be able to see while walking around, and don’t forget the NAA Art Gallery and the Kabuki Experience Gallery & Shop at terminal 1. There are also a lot of events going on every time at the airport, so if you’re interested in knowing more about the Japanese culture, feel free to look the official airport page for the events details.

I put a video below to help you with the arrival procedures when you first travel to Narita airport. I know this can be a little stressing if you don’t know the language, but the airport has all the indications you need in English, so don’t worry. 🙂

Once you’re done with the airport, you have the possibility of finding your way to the hotel thanks to the tool available at the airport website. This is a very useful tool because you can search the best way of getting to your destination just by entering the date and time of travel. And it even makes the difference between a search for those who know how to move in Japan and those visiting – that carry a lot of baggage and can’t make a lot of changes. But the best thing is that it tells you how long and how much it will cost you.

Conclusion

In terms of distance only, Haneda Airport is definitely closer to Tokyo than Narita International Airport, but the last one has a lot of means available that make this distance very short. If you pick the Skyliner – the fastest train on conventional tracks – the ride only takes 36 minutes to get to Nippori Station, for example.

Regarding the choice and all the services available, Narita International airport has much more things as it is a bigger airport and a more recent one too.

I’m sure you’re going to have a good time traveling to Japan, no matter what airport you choose. They have different sizes and main purposes, but they all reflect the Japanese culture, and they will grant you an amazing experience.

Haneda and Narita airports location

Related Questions

Is Haneda airport better than Narita airport? In general, it’s not possible to say that Haneda is better, or vice versa. Haneda airport – which is smaller – is more likely to be used for domestic flights while Narita is more suited for international flights.

How much does it cost from Narita airport to Tokyo? Depending on the transport, rides can cost from 900 yen (the lowest price with a bus ticket bought in advance) up to 3100 yen (for a limousine bus ticket). Taking a taxi is very expensive (around 20000 yen) and not recommended.

 

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