Haneda Airport (東京国際空港, Tōkyō Kokusai Kūkō, HND) is one of two international airports serving the Tokyo metropolitan area. It is located in the special district of Ōta, just 15 kilometers from Tokyo Station in the very center of the city. It is considerably closer to the city than Narita Airport, Tokyo's other airport. Reaching the city is easier and cheaper, so if you can choose between a flight to Haneda and one to Narita, we always recommend Haneda for the same price. The airport has three terminals. Terminals 1 and 2 are dedicated to domestic traffic, while Terminal 3 hosts almost all international traffic. All three terminals are served by the railway and monorail that connect the airport to the city, as well as by an extensive bus network. The city center is 20-30 minutes away.
Among all the means that connect Haneda airport to the city, if there are no special needs we recommend the train.
There are two different railway companies: Keikyu Railways and Tokyo Monorail. The first goes to Shinagawa, the second to Hamamatsucho. Both of these stations are served by the JR Yamanote Line, a circular urban line that serves many districts of the city.
Therefore, to reach or depart from famous areas of Tokyo such as Shinkuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Akihabara or Tokyo Station, each is worth the other in terms of time and convenience.
However, it is advisable to almost always choose the Keikyu Railways, simply because it costs less.
The Keikyu Railways is also much more convenient and therefore unbeatable to go to Yokohama or Asakusa directly, without making changes.
Tokyo Monorail is only recommended in specific circumstances, namely:
If you have an active Japan Rail Pass. In this case, you can take the Tokyo Monorail for free, while Keikyu Railways is not covered.
If your final destination or starting point is Odaiba. The Tokyo Monorail stops at Tennōzu Isle, an interchange station with the Rinkai Line. This line connects Tennozu Isle with Tokyo Teleport Station in the heart of Odaiba, and takes you to Odaiba from Haneda in about 25 minutes overall and making only this change. With Keikyu Railways, the journey would be much more complex.
There is also a large number of buses connecting the airport with different areas of Tokyo and many other cities. In general, buses cost more and are slower than trains . They are not in our opinion the number one choice, except in rare cases:
If you arrive at Haneda Airport after 11pm, as the last trains leave around midnight.
If you have to go to other cities (eg Kamakura or Hakone), or to Tokyo Disneyland / DisneySea. By train it would take at least two changes, by bus you arrive directly in 45 minutes.
There are two railway alternatives and both are very valid. Each railway company operates at its own railway station. Once you arrive, therefore, follow the signs for one or the other company. Tokyo Monorail has three stations, each under each terminal. Keikyu Railways has two stations, one under Terminal 3, and another in the center between nearby Terminals 1 and 2, both within a few minutes' walk. For both lines it is possible to use the prepaid cards SUICA, PASMO and the like. The Japan Rail pass is valid only on the Tokyo Monorail. Keikyu Railways costs less for the same convenience for most destinations, so if you don't have a Japan Rail Pass (or you don't want to activate it on your first day), we recommend using Keikyu Railways. For both companies, the first trains leave Tokyo around 5 am, the last trains leave Haneda Airport around midnight.
The Tokyo Monorail is an old monorail built at the time of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. The line stops at three different stations under each respective terminal. In Tokyo, the terminus station is Hamamatsucho, located in the city center and served by the very convenient JR Yamanote Line with which you can easily reach many important districts. The journey between any of the Haneda terminals and Hamamatsucho costs 500¥, plus another 130-200¥ for the Yamanote Line or other city lines to your final destination. It takes 15-20 minutes to get to Hamamatsucho. Along the way, the monorail also stops at Tennōzu Isle, an interchange station with the Rinkai Line. This line connects Tennōzu Isle with Tokyo Teleport Station on the man-made island of Odaiba in just 3 minutes (210¥). Although not a JR line, the Tokyo Monorail is covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
The Keikyu Railways Airport Line stops at two different stations at Haneda Airport, one at Terminal 3 and another in the middle between Terminals 1 and 2, which can be reached within a few minutes on foot. Airport Line trains can have two different destinations: most go to Shinagawa (20 minutes, 300¥), an important railway station where you can change to several lines, including the Yamanote Line, and also high-speed shinkansen trains to Osaka and Kyoto. Fewer trains go to Yokohama (25 minutes, 340¥), a large city south of Tokyo. In any case, any train, a few minutes after leaving the airport, stops at Keikyū Kamata Station, an interchange station where you can change to trains bound for both Yokohama and Shinagawa. Finally, thanks to an agreement between the two companies, trains to Shinagawa then continue along the Toei Asakusa Line of the subway to the terminus of Asakusa (40 minutes, 520¥), famous tourist area full of hotels. This line is not included in the Japan Rail Pass.
Numerous buses to the most varied destinations serve Tokyo Haneda Airport. The two main companies are Airport Limousine Bus and Keikyu Bus. For a list of all the destinations served by buses you can see this page of the airport website . In general, the bus costs more than the train and can take longer due to traffic. If you have no particular fear of dealing with Japanese railways and the point of departure or arrival is the center of Tokyo, we recommend the train. The bus is in our opinion a good idea if you have some specific needs, which can be summarized as follows:
If you arrive in Haneda very late in the evening (approximately after 11pm) or want to go to the airport from the city in the middle of the night (before 5am). In both cases you will not find trains, so you will have to take a bus or taxi.
If you like the idea of arriving or taking the bus in front of your hotel. Some bus lines stop right in front of some large hotels in the city. If interested, check that your hotel is listed among the available stops or locate a stop nearby.
If you are going to or from outside the city, for example famous tourist spots like Hakone and Kamakura. Changing several trains with heavy luggage is not the best of life, a direct bus is much more comfortable and recommended.
If you are going to or from Tokyo Disneyland. With the train it takes at least two changes. Frequent coaches offer a direct connection in 45 minutes and cost approx. 1000¥.
By pre-booked taxi
If you have never been to Japan, the first impact with one of the largest metropolises in the world, where a completely unknown language is spoken and with an alphabet illegible for a Westerner, after 13 hours or more on the plane, can be a traumatic and stressful experience for someone. If you don't want any worries once you land in Japan, you can choose to pre-book a private taxi service.
Just provide your flight details when booking, and upon your arrival you will find the driver waiting for you with the typical board with your name on it that will make you feel like a VIP. The price is fixed and you can reach any location within the city borders. The service is quite expensive if you are a solo traveler, but the more you are, the cheaper it becomes. For one person it costs 13,600¥. If you are a family of three it becomes less than 4,500 ¥ each. The minivan can accommodate up to a maximum of nine people, in which case the price drops to just 2,400¥ each.
Book your private taxi transfer
Outside the airport you will easily find a long line of taxis. Japanese taxis are generally very reliable and professional, but their rates tend to be quite high. The cost of a daytime taxi ride is between 8,000 ¥ and 12,000¥ for the majority of the main destinations, while between 10pm and 5am the rates are raised by 20%. As an example, to reach Tokyo Station it takes about 20-25 minutes and the fare is approximately 9,000¥.
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.
How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences
Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.
You can reserve your table in a lot of cafes and restaurants, for example one of the legendary 3-star Michelin restaurants in Japan, or crazy cafes like a unique Owl Cafe in Tokyo or one of the many and nowadays worldwide famous maid cafes