Tokyo (東京, Tōkyō) is the nation’s capital, the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics and the most populous city in the world – there’s no shortage of places to see and things to do in Tokyo. While that means you’ll inevitably have to leave some things off your itinerary, it also means that there’s something for everyone.
Tokyo’s center, the 23 wards, combine some of the world’s busiest areas with remnants of old Japan; not far from Shibuya is the holy Meiji Jingu, while the 634-meter tall Tokyo Skytree and the iconic Senso-ji in Asakusa are within walking distance of each other. Shinjuku and Roppongi are two vibrant nightlife spots, yet they’re a short train ride away from Ueno Zoo and the Tsukiji Fish Market.
From both of Tokyo’s major airports, travel into the heart of the city is smooth and easy on Japan’s peerless public transportation system. Buses from each airport travel to all the major hotel districts and express trains and taxis are on hand to take you wherever you need to go.
For much of its recent history, Haneda Airport—officially Tokyo International Airport—was used mainly for domestic flights within Japan, but that changed with the launch of a new international terminal in 2010. Haneda is now by far the most convenient airport for getting into Tokyo. The airport’s three domestic terminals have flight routes going across Japan, and all around the world. Haneda Airport ranks among the busiest airports in the world.
Haneda has also undergone renovations in recent years that have brought in some excellent shops, restaurants and attractions, and the airport is only set to get better.
* The international flight-related facilities at Terminal 2 are currently not in operation.
Getting to and from Haneda airport
Haneda Airport is convenient, centrally located in Haneda area of Ota city, less than an hour from most of Tokyo’s biggest neighborhoods. The distance from Haneda to the heart of Tokyo is roughly 15km.
Express trains from each terminal run to Shinagawa Station on the JR Yamanote Line—the loop train that circles the city— via the Keikyu Line, allowing you easy access to the rest of Tokyo. You can also take the monorail to Hamamatsucho, another Yamanote Line station closer to Tokyo Station.
From Haneda Airport: 11 minutes to Shinagawa Station
From Shinagawa Station: 13 minutes to Tokyo Station via Yamanote Line
From Haneda Airport: 13 minutes to Hamamatsucho Station (shortest 13 minutes from Terminal 3 station)
From Hamamatsucho Station: 7 minutes to Tokyo Station via Yamanote Line
Remember that if you have a JR Rail Pass, that will cover your fare on JR lines.
Buses connect Haneda Airport to all areas of the city, including the major hotel districts and tourist destinations. Visit the desk located at Arrivals to purchase a ticket from the bilingual staff.
Make sure to double check which terminal your bus is leaving from, and which stations it’s stopping at.
Limousine Bus (Airport Transport Service Co., Ltd.)
From Haneda Airport: 45 minutes to Tokyo City Air Terminal
55 minutes to Tokyo Station
60 minutes to Shinjuku Station
80 minutes to Kichijoji Station
Keihin Kyuko Bus
From Haneda Airport: 55 minutes to Tokyo Station
60 minutes to Shibuya Station
Taking a taxi is a stress-free way to travel into the city, and Haneda Airport’s central location means it won’t break the bank—especially if you are traveling in a group and can split the cost. The taxi pick-up area is clearly signposted in the Arrivals area. Normally, taxis offer metered services based on distance and time traveled, but budget-friendly flat-rate services are also available for trips to specific areas of the city. Reservations are required and a nighttime surcharge is applied for trips between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Any highway tolls incurred will also be charged separately.
To/From other cities in Japan
Haneda Airport runs flights to most of Japan’s major cities, including several flights a day to Kansai Airport (which serves Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe). It’s a 75-minute flight to Osaka, a 90-minute flight to Sapporo in Hokkaido, and a 3-hour flight to Naha, Okinawa.
For cities in the greater Tokyo area such as Yokohama and Chiba, you can get to Haneda easily by train, bus or car.
Haneda Airport to Narita Airport
Getting from Haneda Airport to Narita Airport generally takes somewhere between 75 minutes and 2 hours.
An Airport Limousine Bus service runs direct from Haneda to Narita.
An express train service run jointly by the Keikyu and Keisei lines runs between the two airports as well. It leaves about every 40 minutes. When departing Haneda Airport, this express service is called the “Airport Kaitoku.”
You could also take the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa Station and transfer to the Narita Express there.
A taxi is another option, but it would be very expensive, on the order of 25,000 yen.
Haneda Airport terminals & map
Haneda Airport has three terminals. Terminal 1 & 2 are connected by an underground walkway, and a free shuttle bus connects all three terminals.
* For more information, check the airport’s official website.
You can also see a detailed map here.
* Haneda Airport started operating international flight routes out of Terminal 2 from March 29, 2020.
Terminal 3 (International Terminal)
The new Terminal 3, opened in 2010, offers great food and even anime merchandise.
1F is the entrance plaza, 2F is the arrival lobby, 3F is the departure lobby, 4F is Edo Ko-ji, a collection of shops and restaurants modeled after an old Tokyo streetscape, and 5F has an observation deck and Tokyo Pop Town, a collection of shops and restaurants that offers some very unique experiences.
Domestic Travel: Terminal 1 and Terminal 2
Terminals 1 & 2 at Haneda handle mainly domestic flights. Japan Airlines (JAL) uses Terminal 1, while All Nippon Airways (ANA) uses Terminal 2. Japanese low-cost carriers such as Skymark and StarFlyer also fly out of Haneda.
In both domestic terminals, the B1 level is where trains arrive and depart. For domestic flights, 1F is the arrival lobby, 2F is the departure lobby. And the floors above have shops and restaurants. The top floors of each terminal also have an observation deck (5F for Terminal 2, 6F & R for Terminal 1).
Facilities and services
Haneda Airport has all sorts of services to help make your airport experience a pleasant one, and your Tokyo experience go more smoothly, from currency exchange and portable Wi-Fi rental to car rental services.
There’s also a pharmacy and a clinic in all three terminals , dozens of AED machines, and a police box just outside the first floor of Terminal 3. And information counters (marked with a “?” symbol), 24-hour public sign language phones and an information call center at various locations are also available.
Wi-Fi rental and SIM cards
Several locations in Haneda Airport offer rentals of pocket Wi-Fi devices and prepaid SIM cards, including convenience stores, vending machines and specialized shops.
If you think you do want to use a pocket Wi-Fi during your stay in Tokyo, it might be a good idea to reserve one in advance.
Temporary baggage storage counters (B1F in Terminal 1 & 2; 2F/3F in Terminal 3) will store your luggage for up to two weeks. Coin lockers are also available for up to one week at a time.
The airport also offers luggage delivery to the airport from your accommodation, or from the airport to your accommodation.
Currency exchange and ATMs
Currency exchange is available at several locations in the Terminals 2 & 3, and one location each in Terminal 1. ATMs from most of the big Japanese banks are available throughout both terminals. Generally speaking, the Seven (as in Seven-Eleven) Bank ATMs get along best with international cards.
It is possible to purchase overseas travel accident insurance from vending machines located in the Departure Lobby on the third floor of Terminal 3.
Over a dozen rental car agencies, including Japanese and international companies, offer car rental out of Haneda Airport. Most are clustered around Terminals 1 & 2, although some are a bit up the road from the airport. If necessary, you’ll get a ride on a shuttle to your car.
Narita International Airport
Narita International Airport, which opened in 1978, is often called the world’s gateway to Tokyo.
Although it sits relatively far outside central Tokyo, in the city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture, excellent transport links mean it’s an easy journey to or from the heart of the city.
Getting to and from Narita Airport
Narita Airport is located a little further outside Tokyo than Haneda—roughly 50-60 kilometers from the city center—but great transportation links offer easy access into the city. Depending on your choice of transportation, it is possible to be in the city in around an hour, and your door-to-door journey will probably take between 90 and 120 minutes. The express lines out of Narita stop at several of Tokyo’s biggest stations, from which you can head to your specific destination.
Be aware that taxis from Narita Airport are a convenient option, but they will be pricey. If you decide to take a cab, make sure to request a fixed fare as this is a relatively cost-effective and stress-free travel option.
The JR-operated Narita Express is your quickest way into Tokyo, connecting Narita Airport directly to the major areas of Tokyo Station, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. Your Japan Rail Pass can be used on this service, however, seat reservations are required. The private railway company Keisei also runs the Skyliner express service from the airport to the Yamanote Line stations of Nippori and Ueno on the east side of Tokyo. All seats on the Skyliner must be reserved. If you have a limited budget and no time constraints, take a leisurely local train ride into Tokyo. You can purchase and/or charge a Suica or Pasmo IC card to pay for your journey.
From Narita Airport:
About 50 minutes to Tokyo Station
About 73 minutes to Shinjuku Station
About 80 minutes to Ikebukuro Station
From Narita Airport: about 41 minutes to Ueno Station
From Narita Airport: about 90 minutes to Haneda Airport
Note: For those who have arrived at Narita in Terminal 2, please get on at Airport Terminal 2 Station, also called Narita Airport Terminal 2-3 Station.
Express buses to major stations, hotel districts and sightseeing areas leave from the airport at regular intervals. If you are traveling to a hectic area of Tokyo with lots of baggage, buses are a good option.
Multiple operators provide buses from Narita Airport to Tokyo. You have the so-called Limousine Bus as well as various shuttle buses. Buses run by different operators may have different stops and terminals. Please be careful to check the bus stops and terminals when purchasing a ticket.
From Narita Airport: about 60 minutes to Tokyo City Air Terminal
About 90 minutes to Haneda Airport
AIRPORT BUS “TYO-NRT”
From Narita Airport: about 60 minutes to Tokyo Station and Ginza Station, for only 1300 yen per ticket
To/From other domestic cities
Narita runs flights to Japan’s major cities, many of them on low-cost carriers. These routes include multiple flights a day to Kansai Airport (which serves Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe). It’s a 80-minute flight to Osaka, a 100-minute flight to Sapporo in Hokkaido, and a 2.5-hour flight to Nagasaki.
At Narita, you can also catch express buses that run directly to many of Japan’s most popular cities and attractions for tourists.
Narita to Haneda
Getting from Haneda to Narita generally takes about 90 minutes. An Airport Limousine Bus service runs direct from Narita to Haneda.
An express train service run jointly by the Keikyu and Keisei lines runs between the two airports as well.
Narita Airport terminals & map
Narita Airport has three terminals. Many flights at Narita are international, but each terminal does have domestic flights, in particular Terminal 3, which is relatively new (it opened in 2015), and which was built primarily for low-cost carriers. A free shuttle bus runs between the terminals.
The flights out of Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are, generally speaking, divided by airline alliance. SkyTeam has the Terminal 1 North Wing, Star Alliance has the Terminal 1 South Wing, and Oneworld has Terminal 2.
For more information, check the airport’s official website.
You can also see a detailed map here.
©NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CORPORATION
Terminal 1 is divided into a North Wing and a South Wing (with a central building connecting the two).
The B1 level is where trains arrive and depart (Narita Airport Station), 1F is the arrival lobby (as well as bus & taxi pickup/drop-off), 2F is a parking lot accessway, 4F is where you find the departure lobby and various restaurants & shops, and 5F has more restaurants and shops as well as an observation deck.
Terminal 2 is divided into a Main Building and a Satellite Building.
The B1 level is where trains arrive and depart (Narita Airport Terminal 2 Station), 1F is the arrival lobby (as well as bus & taxi pickup/drop-off), 2F is a parking lot accessway, 3F is where you find the departure lobby, and 4F has restaurants and shops as well as an observation deck. Passport control is next to the departure lobby on 3F. You’ll also be able to access the Satellite Building via walkway.
Terminal 3 is mainly for low-cost carriers. It is divided into a Main Building and a Satellite Building.
1F of the Main Building is the arrival lobby, and 2F of the Main Building is the departure lobby.