The Best Tokyo Airport: Narita Vs Haneda

Planning a trip to Tokyo can be an exciting adventure, especially for first-time visitors. One of the crucial decisions to make is choosing the right airport to fly to.

Tokyo has two main airports: Narita International Airport (NRT) and Haneda International Airport (HND), each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Narita, located about 75 kilometers from Tokyo city center, is the larger of the two airports and serves more international flights.

Despite being further away from the city, the airport has ample transportation options, including trains and buses, to help you reach your destination.

On the other hand, Haneda is closer to the city center, about 20 kilometers away, making it a more convenient option for travelers who prioritize saving time on their commute.

Before making a decision, it is necessary to consider factors such as flight prices, air connections, hotel location, and plans when arriving in Tokyo.

By carefully weighing these elements, it is possible to choose the best airport in Tokyo to suit the needs of each traveler.

Narita Airport vs. Haneda Airport

Welcome to Tokyo sign at Haneda airport

When flying to Tokyo, there are two main airport options: Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND). Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so a detailed comparison is necessary to choose the best option for each trip.

Narita International Airport (NRT) is located about 75 km east of central Tokyo, in Chiba Prefecture. As a major international hub, it has many flight options, especially long-haul connections.

Due to its distance from the city, the travel time to the center of Tokyo, for example, to Shibuya, is one and a half hours, depending on the means of transport chosen.

There are several options, such as Narita Express, Keisei Skyliner, buses or cabs. It is important to note that cabs can be expensive due to the distance.

Haneda International Airport (HND), on the other hand, is much closer to the city center, located about 20 km south of Tokyo.

Travel time to central Tokyo usually takes about 30 minutes, and transportation options include the Tokyo Monorail, Keikyu Line, buses, and cabs.

You can spend more time trying to buy a Suica or Pasmo card for the first time than going to Shibuya from the airport XD.

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Pro Tip to Save Time

You can add a Pasmo or Suica card to your wallet on an iPhone. If you use Android, check out Google Wallet.
Then, use your phone to pay, and don’t forget to add money to your transport card. You’ll save a lot of time if you do that!

In terms of facilities, both airports are equipped with a variety of stores, restaurants, and services. However, Haneda has more extensive facilities and is often considered more modern and user-friendly.

As an additional factor, Haneda offers more local transportation services, which can benefit visitors trying to explore specific areas of Tokyo.

As for cost, it is often said that flying to Haneda can be a bit more expensive than to Narita due to its proximity to Tokyo and limited international flights. But, from our experience, flying to Haneda was cheaper in terms of flight and proximity to Tokyo.

From our experience, the best airport to travel to Tokyo is Haneda. Since it is closer to the city center, it is very well connected and the flight prices, for us traveling from Paris, were more convenient.

Take a look at the prices of the two airports. You can find reasonable prices depending on the dates of your trip.

As with any trip, the best decision must be made based on each traveler’s itinerary, budget, and preferences.

Understanding Tokyo airports

Monorail from Haneda Airport, Tokyo

Tokyo’s two main international airports, Narita and Haneda, offer long-haul flights worldwide but have different advantages and disadvantages, ultimately depending on price, connections, location, and travel plans.

Narita International Airport, located 75 km from Tokyo, is the main international gateway to Japan and serves many international flights.

The Narita Express train connects you to central Tokyo in about an hour and costs about 3190 yen each way.

Alternatively, you can choose cheaper options, such as buses, which take a little longer but help save on transportation costs.

If you prefer, you can hire a shared or private transfer to your hotel.

Advantages of Narita:

  • Increased number of international flights
  • Often less expensive flight options

Disadvantages of Narita:

  • Farther from Tokyo
  • Longer and potentially more expensive transportation to the city

Haneda International Airport is closer to the city center, approximately 25 kilometers from downtown Tokyo. Historically, it has been a domestic airport, but in recent years, it has expanded its international services.

As Haneda is closer to the city, transportation to downtown Tokyo is faster and more affordable. For example, a train to Shinjuku costs as little as 500 yen.

Advantages of Haneda:

  • Closer to downtown Tokyo
  • Faster and more economical transportation to the city.

Haneda Disadvantages:

  • Fewer international flights compared to Narita
  • Potentially higher flight costs due to demand

In summary, when deciding which Tokyo airport to choose, factors such as flight costs, accommodation location, and plans after landing must be considered.

Both Narita and Haneda have advantages and disadvantages, so it is essential to compare them with your priorities and preferences to enjoy a smooth and comfortable travel experience.

If you prefer, you can hire a shared or private transfer to your hotel.

Accessibility and Transportation

Monorail and airport trains

Tokyo Monorail

Arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda or Narita airports, the city can be accessed by various means of transportation. A popular option is the Tokyo Monorail, which connects Haneda Airport with Hamamatsucho Station on the Yamanote Line.

In addition, the Keikyu Airport Line connects Haneda Airport with Shinagawa Station on both the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku lines.

From Narita Airport, you can use the Narita Express (N’EX) train, which connects to major stations such as Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shibuya.

In case you have a Japan Railways (JR) pass, this option is very convenient as the pass covers both the Tokyo Monorail and the Narita Express.

Buses, Taxis and Cars

Transportation from Haneda Tokyo airport

Another means of transportation from the airports is the Limousine Bus, which runs from Narita and Haneda airports to major areas of Tokyo, including Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno, Asakusa and more.

Cabs are also available at both airports; however, they can be expensive, especially from Narita Airport.

Renting a car is another option for travelers who prefer to drive, but be aware that traffic in Tokyo can be heavy, and parking in popular areas can be challenging to find.

Public Transportation

For most tourists, using public transportation is an efficient way to explore Tokyo. The city offers an extensive train and subway network, with the JR Yamanote line being the most important line for visiting popular attractions.

Using a Suica or Pasmo card will make it even more convenient, as you can effortlessly pay fares on multiple lines.

Tokyo also offers an extensive bus network, which can be useful to reach destinations not served by the train. The accessibility and reliability of Tokyo’s public transportation make it an excellent choice for getting around the city.

Distance to Popular Areas

Tokyo Monorail cabin

From Narita and Haneda airports, there are fast transportation options to reach popular areas of Tokyo, as well as surrounding areas such as Yokohama and Kawasaki.

For example, from Narita Airport, the N’EX train takes about 1 hour to Tokyo Station, while from Haneda Airport, it takes about 30 minutes via the Keikyu Airport Line to Shinagawa Station.

Flight options

International flights

Flight to tokyo

When flying into Tokyo, the two main airports, Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND) offer numerous international flight options. However, Narita serves a slightly larger number of international airlines.

Some of the major airlines operating exclusively at Narita include Swiss, Turkish, Qatar, British Airways, Air France, Singapore, and Thai.

However, Haneda has also been home to several international airlines for years, making it a viable option depending on travel needs.

To determine which airport is best for each traveler, factors such as ticket prices, connection options, and hotel location must be considered.

Domestic flights

Haneda Airport is the main option for domestic flights. Being closer to Tokyo’s city center, it offers better accessibility and more domestic flight options than Narita.

Haneda serves as a hub for Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), the country’s two major domestic carriers, offering a wide range of options when planning a trip within Japan.

When selecting airport and flight options, compare ticket prices and available routes to make a well-informed decision that meets your specific travel needs.

Japanese Airlines

When traveling to Tokyo, two major Japanese airlines offer a variety of domestic and international flights: All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL). Both airlines are known for their excellent service, extensive route networks, and modern fleets.

International airlines

In addition to Japanese airlines, several international carriers also offer service to Tokyo. Notable airlines such as United and Delta have flights to and from major cities around the world.

The aforementioned airlines’ extensive networks and partnerships with other operators make it easy to reach Tokyo from almost anywhere in the world.

It is essential to note that some airlines can only operate at one of Tokyo’s two airports, Narita or Haneda, so it is essential to check your airline’s airport preference.

Low-Cost Airlines

For those looking to save on airfare, it is advisable to consider flying with budget airlines operating out of Tokyo, such as Jetstar and Peach Aviation.

These low-cost airlines offer lower fares and more flexible fare options. While they may not offer the same service or amenities as traditional airlines, budget airlines are an excellent alternative for cost-conscious travelers.

It is also worth mentioning that some budget airlines may have more baggage restrictions and additional fees for services, so it is advisable to check the policies of each airline before booking.

In conclusion, there are a variety of airline options to choose from in Tokyo. By considering factors such as budget, preferred level of service, and connection possibilities, it is possible to choose precisely which is the best option for each trip.

Airport Facilities

Tokyo Tower


Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) has three main terminals: Terminals 1 and 2 are mainly for domestic flights, while the international terminal handles international flights.

Terminals 1 and 2 are connected by a subway walkway and free shuttle buses run every 4 minutes between the international terminal and the domestic terminals.

It is advisable to be prepared to walk quite a bit inside the terminals, given their extension.


Haneda Airport offers a variety of lounges for passengers to relax and rest before their flights.

There are airline-specific lounges, such as United Club and other premium lounges that cater to the needs of their customers, providing comfortable seating, complimentary snacks and beverages, Wi-Fi and other amenities.

Access to these lounges often depends on frequent flyer status, class of travel or membership in certain lounge access programs. It is advisable to check the conditions of use.

Shopping and dining

At Haneda Airport, it is possible to find a wide range of shopping and dining options to suit various needs and preferences.

From duty-free stores, fashion boutiques and electronics stores to authentic Japanese restaurants, casual cafes and international food chains, there is something for every taste and budget.

In addition, the airport offers other facilities such as hotels, pharmacies and car rental services to ensure a seamless travel experience for passengers.

Tokyo Shinjuku Neko

Cost considerations

When planning a trip to Tokyo, it is essential to consider the costs associated with flying into Narita or Haneda airports. Budget will play an important role in determining which airport is most suitable for each traveler’s needs.

Ticket prices may vary depending on the airline and the time of booking. Narita Airport tends to have more international flights, and some airlines such as Swiss and Turkish only offer service at Narita.

As a result, it is possible to find cheaper fares or more flight options at Narita compared to Haneda. However, it is essential to consider the actual cost of the flight, including factors such as transportation to and from the airport.

Transportation costs from the airport to downtown Tokyo can also be a considerable factor. Haneda Airport is closer to the city center (25 km away), while Narita Airport is approximately 75 km away.

Travel from Haneda to central Tokyo usually takes 25 minutes by train, 40 minutes by bus and about 30 minutes (approximately) by cab. On the other hand, travel from Narita may take longer and be more expensive due to the greater distance.

In other words, transportation costs from Haneda tend to be lower than those from Narita, making it a more economical ground transportation option.

In addition to transportation, it is also advisable to consider the prices of hotels near each airport, in case you need them. Although hotels near both airports can be somewhat expensive, staying near Haneda Airport may be more affordable compared to Narita, given its proximity to the city center.

In conclusion, for cost considerations, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of both airports in terms of airfare, ground transportation costs and hotel expenses.

Ultimately, the most suitable airport for each traveler will depend on his or her specific needs and budget.

Final decision: the best airport in Tokyo

When deciding on the best airport to fly to Tokyo, consider factors such as location, accessibility and planned destinations in the city.

Narita International Airport is located further away from the center of Tokyo but is well connected by public transportation, including trains and buses. Travel time ranges from 1 hour to more than an hour and a half, depending on the means of transportation.

Narita usually offers more international flight options and may have cheaper fares. However, the longer travel time to the city center can be inconvenient.

Haneda International Airport is closer to the center of Tokyo, making it a more convenient option for travelers looking to reduce travel time.

Access to Haneda is also easy via public transportation and travel time to the city center is usually between 15 and 30 minutes. Haneda offers mainly domestic flights, but has expanded its international flight offerings recently.

To decide which is the best airport in Tokyo, it is necessary to consider your travel situation and priorities.

If you value a shorter travel time from the airport to the city center, Haneda is probably the best option.

On the other hand, if it is essential to find a broader range of international flights or potentially cheaper fares, then flying to Narita may be more suitable.

Plan your trip to Tokyo, Japan

Last Updated on 29 January, 2024 by Veronica

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Author: Veronica

Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.


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