Which Tokyo Airport Is Better?

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Japan is a popular travel destination and welcomes millions of visitors annually. Any smart traveler will pay attention to every detail, including airport information. But between Narita and Haneda, which Tokyo airport is better?

The answer to which between Narita airport and Haneda airport is better is a bit more complicated. This is a case-by-case scenario and the answer would be different per traveler. Depending on your travel plans, one airport might be a better choice than the other. Other times, it doesn’t matter.

Though it’s more of a gray area, knowing the major differences between these two options will help travelers make a more informed and convenient decision.

Which Tokyo Airport Is Better?

Japan is a prime holiday destination for many people around the world. The capital and largest city in Japan is Tokyo. It’s also the main destination and a major stop for anyone traveling to Japan, whether for leisure or business purposes.

When you find yourself looking through Japan inbound flights to book for your next holiday trip, you will find that two airports could take you to Tokyo: Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.

Before you click to finally book a flight for your next Japan trip, you should know which Tokyo airport is better for your itinerary and which you should choose to land in.

The question of which Tokyo airport is better is a bit more complicated to answer. There’s not one clear answer to this question and which one you should choose would be case by case.

Domestic flights and international flights

When people hear about the debate between Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports, the first thing they will tell you is that one is for domestic flights while the other is for international flights.

While it may be true that Narita Airport offers more international flights and Haneda specializes in domestic flights, both airports cater to both domestic and international flights at varying levels.

Though Narita is generally known as the country’s main hub for international travelers, it also caters to domestic airlines and flights that could take people from one city to another. In the same way, Haneda has a reputation for servicing domestic flights but has taken more international flights in recent years.

Narita Airport vs Haneda Airport: The Main Differences

Although it is true that when the debate of Narita vs Haneda airport is opened, people’s first thoughts would always be international vs domestic travel. While this argument is true in a sense, the differences between Tokyo’s major airports do not start and end there.

Here are the major differences between these two airports:


Narita International Airport, formerly known as New Tokyo International Airport, is situated in Narita, Chiba. It’s located about 60 km east of central Tokyo and is actually outside Tokyo, contrary to popular belief.

Haneda Airport, known officially as Tokyo International Airport, is located in Ōta, Tokyo, about 15 km south of the city center.

Distance from the city center

Haneda Airport is closer to Tokyo, with about 15 km of distance from the city center. Narita Airport, on the other hand, is further away from downtown Tokyo with a distance of about 60 km.

Given these numbers, Tokyo Haneda airport is the obvious choice if you want to be closer to the city center. But if your plans involve the easter parts of Tokyo like Ueno and Nippori, then Narita is a more convenient choice as it is closer there.

Flights and destinations

Initially, Haneda served as Japan’s major international airport until the construction and opening of Narita. When Narita opened, it became the country’s main hub for international air travel. Today, both airports offer a mix of both international and domestic flights.

While Narita handles both domestic and international flights, it still offers more international flights than domestic. In the same way, Haneda offers more domestic flights although it offers international flights too. About 60% of Haneda’s passengers use the airport to get across domestically.

Accessibility to the city center

Haneda’s location and proximity to the city center of Tokyo make it a more convenient choice for ease of access to travelers. Getting to Tokyo from Haneda on public transport can take about 30 minutes.

Because Narita is farther away from Tokyo, travel time from the airport to the city center could take more than an hour.

Of course, you would have to consider factors like what public transportation you’re taking and the current situation of traffic.

Luckily, both airports offer bus, train, and taxi services that can take you from one place to another. Remember, the longer the journey, the pricier the ticket will be.

Airport amenities

Though no one stays in airports that long, this may still be an important factor you might want to know more about.

Both Narita and Haneda airports offer a variety of dining, shopping, and lounge amenities in their respective facilities. They’re not all that fancy but enough to keep you occupied while you wait to board, whether you got in the airport too early, are experiencing some delays, or just there for connecting flights.

It’s important to note that Haneda is home to more and newer lounges than Narita. So if that’s an important factor for you, Haneda might be a better choice.

Travel costs

Though not at all times, flights to and from Narita airport are often and generally cheaper than flights coming in and out of Haneda.

But then again, you would have to consider that Narita is further away from Tokjyo’s city center. Remember, the further the journey is from the airport to the city center, the more you will have to pay for a bus, train, or taxi.

But if your destination is somewhere closer to Narita, then you’ve got the bonus of a generally cheaper flight plus cheaper public transport to where you’re going next.


Japan is a popular business and holiday destination for travelers across the world. If you’re planning your trip, you will find out that there are two airports where you can fly to and from. But which Tokyo airport is better?

There isn’t a “better” Tokyo airport between Narita and Haneda airports. Both serve the greater Tokyo metropolitan area and will take to to your prime Japan holiday. Which of the two is a better choice is case by case and would largely depend on your travel itinerary.

If you want to make the right call on which airport to fly into and out of Japan, knowing the major differences between the two airports is the place to start.

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