Haneda Airport: So Much Excitement While You Wait for Your Flight
The long hours of waiting until my flight, what a drag! That’s probably what everyone thinks. But not in a Japanese airport! The Haneda airport in particular, being so close to the city it’s used for “airport dates” even by people that have no plans of taking the plane. That’s how fun and exciting this airport is! Today, I will show you what you can do at the airport, tips on last minute souvenir shopping and other useful information.
1. The Haneda Airport International Terminal
The Edo Market Place
In Haneda, the departure lobby of the international terminal is on the 3rd floor. If you go further in the back closer to the baggage screening area and take the escalator up to the 4th and 5th floor, there is the Edo Market Place. The concept here is “Made in Japan – Haneda Only One-“. It’s made so that you can feel a very Japanese atmosphere. It looks like a movie set of a period piece or as if you time traveled.
The main street is on the 4th Floor and it’s called the “Edo-Koji”. It is a mall inspired by Edo (former name of Tokyo) with many shops and restaurants. They have decorations like cherry blossoms or tanabata festival (July 7th) that express the different seasons.
If you want to have a light meal with someone that’s seeing you off, it’s better to stay in this area since they aren’t allowed past baggage inspections. Here they have branches of famous restaurants in Tokyo so you can have ramen, udon, sushi, oden, teishoku, katsu, almost anything you want and you can get high quality, authentic Japanese food.
In the center area there is an Edo Stage, which is a space to hold exciting events. In the summer they have an interactive bon-odori dance festival, a cosplay event, and other fun events for various times of the year.
On the 5th floor, there is the Tokyo Pop Town Area. Here there are stores that are representative of Japan’s culture or trends. It is divided in 2 different areas. In the HOT ZONE, they have store that have character items, snacks and knickknacks.
In the COOL ZONE they have stylish goods and other fashion items. If you forgot to buy souvenirs for loved ones, you can get unique and Japanese souvenirs here! I usually end up buying more souvenirs for myself than for others. Lol.
If you’re tired from shopping there’s an observation deck on the 5th floor where you can see the airplanes. I think this may be quite common in other airports as well but what’s amazing about Haneda Airport is that there is a planetarium inside. During the day it’s a café and at night it turns into a bar. So you can sit and have a light meal while looking at the stars. See why people come here for a date?
Once you go past immigration and go through the gates, there are large Duty-Free shops. This scene is not so different from what you would see at other airports. They have many premium brands. You can also buy Japanese cosmetics here. My friend usually buys a whole lot of oil-blotting papers from Yojiya. She says it’s small, light and Japanese so it’s the perfect small gift for her girlfriends.
What’s unique about Haneda airport starts here. You can buy rice-cookers, electric kettles and other household appliances! The neon lights inside the shop spell out Akihabara! This of course takes after Akihabara the area famous for stores that have electronic appliances. When you see this much household appliances all lined up, it makes you want to buy something. The only hassle is that you wouldn’t be able to check it so you would have to take it as a carry-on.
You can also buy your last-minute gifts here. They have t-shirts with illustrations of sumo wrestlers and kabuki actors, as well as items that feel Japanese. And don’t forget Japanese snacks! My personal recommendation is a shop where you can buy local gifts from Hokkaido. They have exclusive items that you can normally only buy in Hokkaido. They have Royce chocolates and Jaga Pokkuru, a snack made from potatoes grown in Hokkaido. Some of these you can’t buy elsewhere in Tokyo so it’s nice that you can get it here.
2. Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal
If you have some extra time, you can even go out to the domestic terminal. There’s a different vibe than that of the international terminal. There a shuttle bus that goes between the domestic and international terminal so you can go between the terminals for free. If you take the Keikyu Line train or the monorail, it’s only 1 station and they don’t charge between these stops.
In the domestic terminal, they sell gift items that Japanese would give to other Japanese so those may be fun to look at as well. For example, they have gourmet foods from regional areas of Japan, products that are exclusive to a particular region.
3. Sightseeing During Flight Transits
If you are switching planes at Haneda Airport and you have about a half day in between the flights, you can go out for some light sightseeing. Just be very careful about watching the time though!
Haneda Airport, it’s a super convenient airport that’s only about 30 minutes from the airport. In fact, in the past only domestic flights flew in and out of the airport. Now, it’s an international airport and after several renovations, it’s become even more convenient. Spending a lot of time at the airport is inevitable. But to think about how the users can have a good time during that time and to make improvements is, I think a reflection of the Japanese heart of “omotenashi (hospitality)”. Enjoy Japan even in the limited time at the airport!
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