Tokyo’s Haneda Airport becomes fourth airport in the world to be awarded coveted 5-Star rating

By Scott R Dixon

If you’ve ever visited Japan, chances are pretty high that you’ve been through Narita International Airport, no doubt thinking that you were flying to directly into Tokyo only to discover that you were still an hour train ride away from the city. The smaller Tokyo International Airport, commonly called Haneda, is, however, actually located within the city, but has until recently been considered Tokyo’s main domestic airport.

But all that’s about to change. As well as increasing the number of destinations it serves, Haneda has been improving its facilities and significantly upping its game in an effort to become more of an international hub. In fact, it was recently awarded the coveted 5-Star award from the ratings company Skytrax, making it the first airport in Japan and only the fourth in the world with that title.

Each year, the London-based ratings company spends nine months surveying 400 of the world’s largest and busiest airports. Until now, only three airports had achieved the top 5-Star ranking— South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. After being evaluated on approximately 300 criteria such as food options, terminal design and service, Haneda now joins that exclusive group of airports that are considered the best places to travel through.

Although the 5-star rating was announced last month, the Skytrax CEO will be at the airport on Thursday to officially award the airport its top-tier ranking.

This is not, however, the first time that Haneda has been recognized by Skytrax. In March this year, it was named the World’s Best Domestic Airport and received the Best Airport Terminal Cleanliness award for the second year in a row. And that list of awards didn’t even include RocketNews24’s unofficial distinction last year for being a great place to stock up on Japanese souvenirs.

With Tokyo hosting the Olympics in 2020, this newly-gained 5-Star status is sure to give not only Haneda, but the rest of the city, a big boost as it prepares for the massive crowds that will come.

Source: Tokyo Bay Keizai Shimbun

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 2014: The 10 best airports in the world -- I thought everyone was exaggerating about how great the airport in Seoul was until I actually went there -- Manga and anime, my how you’ve changed

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An hour from Narita to Tokyo? It's only 35 minutes to the Yamanote line via Keisei Skyliner. Not that long, just 20m longer than Haneda.

Haneda is a much nicer airport, though.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Still prefer Narita at the moment due to the poor very early time slots the last time i checked for international flights at Haneda ( esp to London - ironic considering the emphasis of the location of the awarding body in this story).

At Haneda I would have to stay in a hotel near by the night before. They also didn't have accommodation at the international terminal of Haneda, just the other "domestic" one where the connecting transport wouldn't be up and running early enough in the morning/night.

Narita even though a couple hours away from prefectures outside Tokyo or closer if in Tokyo was a better option as could just get morning transport for a 11 am flight to Europe. That's a much better option time wise and cost of sacrificing the night before of my travel plans to get to a hotel somewhere "near" Haneda and the extra expense of that and possibly a taxi as public transport was not fully operational at that time of night/very early morning.

If they sort out the time slots for international flights leaving Tokyo, then Haneda may be a better option than Narita for long range international, especially if you live just outside Tokyo and not in area just near Haneda.

However Haneda was already one of the busiest airports in the world doing it domestic and short haul international flights, so maybe there are no decent time slots left for long haul without some further negotiation. Airlines are usually pretty precious about there time slots and gates, so don't usually give those up so easily.

Haneda long haul - nice idea, but not fully thought through so takes more time out of your schedule and is more expensive overall.

Narita will will doing business for many years for long haul and will continue to be more convenient(cost + time) at the current setup.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fukuoka is better because you don't have to be bused to your plane.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I've purchased about 30 to 40 international air tickets during my years as a Tokyo resident. No not has left from Haneda. Still waiting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The airside part of the Haneda international terminal doesn't have much in it and is quite dull. It is clean, efficient and convenient though.

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@888naff: I suggest you recheck then. As of February 1st 2015 - there will onlt be 1 flight to London a day from Narita - and 3 frim Haneda. The timeslot restrictions were lifted in April. The USA will continue to be served from Narita generally, as Delta/United continue to use it as a hub and during the last set of talks with the Japanese Government refused to yield on their conditions re Haneda.

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Haneda is far and away the very best domestic AND international airport in the world!

Through the past four decades (at least since 1974) I've now seen airports from Amsterdam's Schiphol, Singapore's Changi, Korea's Inchon, Hong Kong, Madrid (beautiful), O'hare (impressive), Heathrow, Dallas, Dulles, Denver, Atlanta, you name it. In fact, maybe the only one's I cannot lay claim to are Dubai, Africa, and South America.

But hands down, Haneda beats them all! Convenience, shopping, food, banking, access, hours of operations, with the sole exception that you can't get a shower there... But with the new Royal Park about to open, that problem ought to be solved very soon, too! I hated schlepping to Narita and felt exiled during the years Haneda was closed Internationally. Reopening international routes and carriers was the smartest thing the Japanese FAA (i.e. government) has done in modern times! Now, if only they would upgrade Itami in Osaka to be a "junior" Haneda...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I transferred at Haneda on Wednesday. I almost missed my connecting flight due to people pushing in at the re-entry queue at immigration and no one supervising the queue or being bothered about it, a 35 minute wait for my luggage and a long queue at Customs as only three desks were open. Add on the distance between the international and domestic terminals and it clearly doesn't deserve a five star rating. I don't give a fig about airport shopping, in the great scheme of things shops are bottom of the list when it comes to airports.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

haneda airport is good airport I think. many shops, restaurants in there but it is too far to go to narita airport. i went to there many time and every time I think that too many people in there so i have to wait long time to check the ticket or baggage...

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