If you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, you most likely have stumbled upon the dilemma of which airport to set as your destination – Narita (NRT) or Haneda (HND). I’ve gotten a few questions on what the differences are and which one you should realistically travel to so I’ll write this post as a simple head-to-head comparison based on a few important factors: distance to the city center, flight options, and lounges.

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Narita International is much further from the Tokyo City Center than Haneda!

Distance to Central Tokyo

Haneda Airport is located approximately 10 miles from Tokyo city center whereas Narita International is closer to 40 miles away. As you can imagine, transportation from Narita to the city center is more expensive than that of Haneda.

However, getting to Tokyo from NRT is relatively easy thanks to the Narita Express train. A round trip ticket from Narita to Tokyo is around ~$40. You can also grab a taxi for roughly $200 (!) or bus for as low as $10.

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The Narita Express train makes it easy to get to central Tokyo from Narita.

Haneda transportation ranges from $2 for public transportation via train to $65 for taxi.

Winner: Haneda Airport (HND)

Flight Options

If you are traveling from the U.S. you can expect to fly into Narita, which serves as the central command for both All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) international flights (Haneda is the actual base for these airlines).

Haneda has a fraction of the U.S. flights that Narita does. For example, United Airlines operates flights to 10 U.S. destinations from Narita, but only one from Haneda. Japan Airlines doesn’t operate any flights from Haneda to U.S. destinations, whereas they have eight from Narita.

You get the point. Haneda better serves as a domestic airport while Narita is the larger international airport in Tokyo.

Flights between the U.S. and Tokyo Narita (NRT).

Flights between the U.S. and Tokyo Narita (NRT).

 

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Flights between the U.S. and Tokyo Haneda.

Winner: Narita International (NRT)

Lounges

As is much of Tokyo, Haneda and Narita are both gorgeous airports and clean, but the disparity between the number of lounge options is gaping, but this is certainly expected. Note that this list is comprised mainly of lounges associated with major carriers and alliances.

Narita International:

  • Korean Air Lounge
  • Delta SkyClub
  • United Club
  • Admirals Club
  • Emirates Lounge
  • Qantas Lounge
  • Cathay Pacific Lounge (First/Business)
  • ANA Lounge
  • JAL Lounge

 

Haneda Airport:

  • JAL Lounge
  • ANA Lounge
  • Cathay Pacific Lounge
  • Sky Lounge

Winner: Narita International (NRT)

Bottom Line

In my opinion, the winner based purely on flight options and amenities is Narita. Given the fact that comfortable train travel to and from NRT exists, the only downfall to flying into the airport is mitigated.

I’m willing to bet I missed a few points here so I’ll open it up to those of you that have more intimate knowledge of these airports to share your thoughts.