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The advantages of travel via Haneda

by Takahiro Fukada

The opening of Tokyo’s Haneda airport to more international flights, starting Thursday, makes a lot of sense for travelers.

The time required to travel to Haneda from central Tokyo is short and the airport is connected to many other Japanese cities.

The new international terminal, open 24 hours a day, will also have facilities likely to attract not only travelers but also visitors from the city.

Following are some basic facts about Haneda’s new international terminal:

From central Tokyo and Yokohama, how long will it take to get to the new international terminal?

From Shinagawa it will take 13 minutes and cost ¥400, while from Yokohama it will take 26 minutes and cost ¥440 on the Keikyu Line.

Luggage carts are available on Keikyu station platforms, and can be taken to and from the airport terminal, according to Keikyu’s operator, Keihin Electric Express Railway Co.

From Hamamatsucho Station in Tokyo, it will take 13 minutes by monorail and cost ¥470. Trains to and from Hamamatsucho depart every three to six minutes during the daytime.

How many international cities can be reached from Haneda?

Haneda is set to be connected to 18 cities overseas, according to the new terminal’s operator, Tokyo International Air Terminal Corp. They are Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, London, Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Vancouver, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Busan.

Twenty airlines are scheduled to fly to Haneda, including Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Asia-bound flights will depart between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. There will be 17 daily flights from Thursday to Oct. 30, and the number will jump to 32 flights starting Oct. 31.

Flights bound for Europe, the U.S. and some Asian cities are allotted departure times from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. After Oct. 31, 20 flights will depart daily and 10 other flights are planned to depart weekly.

What will the facilities at the new terminal feature?

On the fourth floor, directly above the departure lobby, there is a shopping area re-creating old Tokyo streets. There are Japanese restaurants and shops selling “tenugui” towels, “furoshiki” wrapping cloths and confectionaries, among other items, along Edo Koji alley.

The fifth floor, Tokyo Pop Town, features examples of Japanese pop culture such as “anime.” Shops sell Hello Kitty, Doraemon and other character merchandise. The floor also has a slot car circuit to play with, a planetarium cafe and bar, as well as an observation deck outside.

The Sky Lounge, set up beyond the customs gates, offers showers, a rest area and a business center. Duty-free and souvenir shops are also in this area.

What kind of language services are available?

Many signs are in four languages: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. Information desks will have clerks who speak those languages, the terminal operator says.

Meanwhile, the Keikyu Line will have an information counter on the arrival lobby floor. Information on transportation, sightseeing, hotels and restaurants are available in the four languages.

East Japan Railway Co. said it will open a similar information office at the Tokyo Monorail station in the new terminal.

Are there any disadvantages to departing from Haneda rather than Narita?

Airfares are higher for some of the flights from Haneda. Compared with Narita departures, All Nippon Airways said it will charge around ¥10,000 more for Bangkok and Singapore flights, ¥5,000 to ¥10,000 more for Beijing and Shanghai flights, and ¥10,000 to ¥12,000 more for Los Angeles and Honolulu flights.

The airline cited better transportation access from Tokyo and Yokohama and thus high demand among business travelers as a major reason for the higher fares.

JAL meanwhile said it will “basically” set the same airfares at Haneda and Narita. However, it added that airfares may change due to vacancies on each flight.

Nighttime departures for Europe and the U.S. may also prove inconvenient for travelers.

How long does it take to transfer from domestic to international flights and vice versa?

JAL says the transfer takes 60 minutes from domestic to international flights and 70 minutes the other way around.

ANA adds 10 minutes to each of those transfer times.

Free shuttle buses, running about every six minutes, will connect the new international terminal with domestic terminals No. 1 and No. 2.

Free tickets on the Keikyu Line and monorail will be available to passengers connecting between international and domestic flights at Haneda, the terminal operator said.

What kind of transportation and hotel services are available for travelers with late-night or early morning flights?

Keihin Kyuko buses will depart from Yokohama, Shinagawa, Omori, and Kamata stations to the new international terminal.

From Haneda, destinations include Tokyo, Kita-Senju, Shibuya, Yokohama, Shin-Yokohama, Sagami-Ono, Machida, Chiba-Chuo, Nishi-Funabashi and Funabashi stations.

Airport Transport Service Co. will meanwhile operate buses bound for Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and other destinations in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

For travelers looking to get some shut-eye, the Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu will offer short stays from 5 p.m. to midnight and from 6 a.m. to noon, charging ¥11,000 for a single room and ¥14,000 for a twin.

The Prince hotels in Tokyo’s Takanawa and Shinagawa area will offer several packages. Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa and Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa will offer ¥10,000 packages for two to stay from midnight to 5 a.m. and from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Some other packages include sauna and Jacuzzi services, the hotel chain said.