8 Differences Between 2 Tokyo Airports Narita vs Haneda!

8 Differences Between 2 Tokyo Airports Narita vs Haneda

Seasoned travelers will already know that there are two Tokyo airports: Narita and Haneda. As a regular business traveler to other Asian destinations, I have occasion to use both airports. As you might expect, I have my personal favorite for departures and arrivals, but a lot depends on whether I’m traveling to/from home or my company. So what, if any are the major differences between Narita and Haneda?



 

8 Differences Between 2 Tokyo Airports Narita vs Haneda!

 

1. Brief History

Haneda Airport first opened in 1931 as Haneda Airfield, with flights to Korea, Manchuria and domestic destinations; the first flight took a cargo of insects to Dalian in China! Though it was Tokyo’s first international airport it became solely domestic when Narita opened in 1978 and began handling all overseas routes. Haneda resumed international flights from its new terminal in 2010.

 

2. Which Airline?

Whether you arrive at or depart from either Tokyo airport will depend on which airline you’re using. For example, flights to and from Sydney by Japan Airlines (JAL) use Narita Airport, whilst All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Qantas use Haneda. If you’re flying on to other destinations in Japan, you will have to decide which airport is more convenient for your onward connection.

 

3. Distance from Tokyo

However, probably most travelers arriving at the Tokyo airports will be heading into the capital, and it’s here we find one major difference between them: distance. In fact, Narita airport isn’t in Tokyo at all; it’s 65km away in Chiba prefecture. Haneda, on the other hand is just 15km from the centre of Tokyo. Getting from Narita to Tokyo Station will take at least 1 hour, whereas from Haneda, it’s just 30 minutes.

 

4. Tokyo – Narita

The fastest rail connections from Narita are the Skyliner to Ueno (41mins), and Narita Express (N’EX) to Tokyo Station (60mins). At ¥2,470 and ¥3,020 respectively, one way, they aren’t cheap but a N’EX round trip ticket, valid for 14 days, can be purchased for ¥4,000. The airport buses, known as Limousines, can take you directly to various downtown hotels for a little over ¥3,000. Although convenient if you have a lot of luggage, or kids with you, the journey can take a couple of hours in peak traffic.

 

5. Tokyo – Haneda

The difference between 60mins and 30mins to Tokyo might not be that great, but the difference in cost is significant. Haneda is served by the Tokyo Monorail, and Keikyu Airport line. With changes at Hamamatsucho Station, or Shinagawa Station respectively, most central Tokyo destinations can be reached for under ¥700. Haneda’s airport limousines too are cheaper at around ¥900 to Tokyo Station with a journey time of 30mins (a little longer at peak times).

 

6. Rail Passes

JR Rail Passes, which many travellers buy ahead of their trip to Japan, can be used on Haneda’s Tokyo Monorail and the Narita Express. The prepaid Suica or Pasmo cards are accepted on the Tokyo Monorail, Keikyu Airport line and Narita Skyliner.

 

7. Facilities & Shopping

Whatever your lounge, refreshment, restroom or travel needs may be, both Tokyo airports are pretty much the same, and both have extensive post-security, duty-free shopping for essentials and luxury items. However, Haneda edges it by having such a modern international terminal with far superior pre-security shops and eateries, such as the quaint Edo Marketplace and ultra-modern Tokyo Pop Town.

 

8. Charm

Probably the biggest differences between Tokyo’s airports, from my Japanese perspective, is their ‘feel.’ Haneda was, for a long time, the airport we used for domestic trips, like skiing in Hokkaido or Snorkeling in Okinawa, so, even when I fly from there on business, I still get that holiday feeling. Despite being the world’s 4th busiest airport, Haneda has retained a certain quintessential charm that Narita’s never had.

 

Conclusion

Of course, the bottom line is that travelers don’t go anywhere just to hang around in airports, though sometimes that’s exactly what we end up doing! But whether you’re just passing through, or for some reason stranded at one of Tokyo’s airports, rest assured you will find what you need for your comfort and convenience.

 

8 Differences Between 2 Tokyo Airports Narita vs Haneda!

1. Brief History
2. Which Airline?
3. Distance from Tokyo
4. Tokyo – Narita
5. Tokyo – Haneda
6. Rail Passes
7. Facilities & Shopping
8. Charm