Much More Than Just the Airport! 20 Things to Do Around Haneda
Haneda, which welcomes travelers from all over the globe at its famous international airport, is a small district located in the Greater Tokyo Area. Despite being readily associated with Haneda Airport, the district is far from being limited to it. Here you can find a wide variety of places where you can get first-hand experience of the many different facets of Japanese culture, not to mention the incredible number of cafes and restaurants you can easily get to before your flight. Here are 20 things that you should check out while in Haneda!
Jul 25 2019 (Jan 27 2020)
10 Sightseeing Spots to Visit in Haneda
1. Haneda Airport
Formally named Tokyo International Airport, Haneda Airport was officially inaugurated in 1931, but it was already in existence by 1917, under the name Haneda Airfield. The airfield was expanded after the Great Kanto earthquake – which struck Tokyo and the surrounding region in 1923 – to offer an alternative to the delivery of supplies by air, in case the railway network was damaged in a similar way again in the future. Currently, besides its regular services, Haneda Airport is almost exclusively the airport of choice from which the Japanese imperial family and prime minister depart from to go on official trips, and where dignitaries from other countries arrive in Japan.
Haneda Airport has a long and interesting history, having even been seized by the American occupation forces for some years after the war. By the Tokyo Olympic Games of 1964, the airport started serving more and more tourists and it is now one of the most famous airports in Japan. How about taking the opportunity to visit and explore the history of some tourist spots around the airport?
2. Jonanjima Seaside Park
Located along the Tokyo Bay and a 10-minute car ride from Haneda Airport, Jonanjima Seaside Park was opened to the public in 1991. The park hosts a variety of different attractions, including areas for camping and BBQ, a skateboard park, a dog run, clam digging spaces, and much more, not to mention you get an up-close view of airplanes departing from and arriving at Haneda Airport.
One of the main features of Jonanjima Seaside Park’s camping and BBQ facilities is that you can make use of them empty-handed. They have everything you might need at the park. Suppose you came prepared but forgot the coal, for example; you don't have to worry, because you can buy it there! As mentioned before, the park has a privileged view of airplanes coming and going from Haneda Airport, but you can also see ships and boats crossing the waters of Tokyo Bay as well. It is the perfect place to bring the family or go on a date.
3. JAL Factory Tour SKY MUSEUM
Japan Airlines’ SKY MUSEUM is located a mere 2-minute walk from Shin Seibijo Station on the Tokyo Monorail line. The visit to the museum is followed by a tour through JAL’s hangar and maintenance facilities, where they explain the work of aircraft mechanics, flight crew, and flight attendants. The tour is particularly popular among parents with children and offers a valuable experience that can be enjoyed by adults and young children as well.
During the 1 hour and 40 minutes long visit, you can learn about the history of Japan Airlines, get to know different airplane parts, see the cabin crew uniform throughout the years, and even take part in a class where you can ask in more detail about the company, how airplanes work, and anything else you would like to know more about. If you want, you can even try the uniforms and take some pictures to keep as a reminder of your visit! The museum shop has a full lineup of products that will certainly please aviation enthusiasts.
4. Keihinjima Tsubasa Park
Opened to the public in 1971, Keihinjima Tsubasa Park is located right in front of Haneda Airport Runway B, providing a close-up view of airplanes landing and taking off. The park is frequently used by aviation enthusiasts and for shooting TV shows. If you love airplanes or are a fan of Japanese dramas (or maybe both!), Keihinjima Tsubasa Park is just the place you're looking for.
The park is a fine strip of land extending 1.1 km along the bay. At the spacious green area in the northern part of the park, you can relax on the grass, play sports, fish, and much more. Even if you come empty-handed you can enjoy a nice barbeque here. It's a great place to visit for both adults and children! Keihinjima Tsubasa Park is the perfect place to spend a lazy day and enjoy the beautiful landscape that Haneda offers.
5. Haneda Shrine
The origins of Haneda Shrine trace back approximately 800 years to when a prominent feudal lord of the region called Namekata Yojiro is said to have worshipped the deity Gozu Tenno. Affectionately called “Tenno-san,” this Shinto shrine was the place of veneration for the Tokugawa clan during the Edo period (1603-1868). In 1861, shogun Tokugawa Iesada came to the shrine to pray for the end of a smallpox epidemic that was ravaging Japan. His prayers were answered, and since then, worshipers from all over Japan come to the shrine to supplicate for the recovery of loved ones.
Haneda Airport is one of the shrine’s parishioners, so many people come here to wish for a safe flight. It's also known as a matchmaking shrine because the mythological Susano-o, god of the sea and storms, and his wife, goddess Kushinada-hime, are enshrined here. Haneda Shrine is here for you whenever you are feeling uneasy about flying or are having trouble finding that special someone.
6. Anamori Inari Shrine
In the year of 1804, during the reclamation of agricultural land that took place in Haneda, violent waves breached the sea embankment protecting the area and numerous villages were massively damaged by the flood. In order to appease the sea, villagers built a shrine dedicated to Inari, the god of agriculture, on top of the embankment. Their success in the task is said to have been the origin of Anamori Inari Shrine.
Blessings are said to be brought upon those who take some of the sacred sand from the shrine and scatter it around their house. Anamori Inari Shrine also has omamori (lucky charms) prepared with the sacred sand especially recommended for those who want to always be under the protection of the shrine. The shrine is only a 5-minute drive from Haneda Airport so you shouldn’t miss the chance to make a visit.
7. LUXURY FLIGHT
LUXURY FLIGHT is a flight simulator facility where you can experience with ease how it is to pilot an airplane. Fully equipped to provide you with the most realistic simulations, the facility also has staff members with practical experience in aviation – including former airline pilots and flight inspectors – who can offer valuable information to those thinking about a career in the field and young ones whose dream is to become a pilot.
The moment you step foot in LUXURY FLIGHT, you'll feel as if you've entered inside an aircraft. Even the chairs in the waiting room are based on actual airplane seats. With very convenient access – roughly a 6-minute walk from Anamori Inari Shrine – you can easily visit the facility whenever you are sightseeing around Haneda. Take the opportunity to enjoy an amazing experience different from anything you have ever tried before.
8. Haginaka Park
Located approximately a 5-minute walk from Otorii Station, Haginaka Park has a wide range of attractions that you can enjoy all year long. At the Traffic Park, for example, children have the chance to play in different vehicles, such as a steam locomotive, railway train, and a truck. The area even has a bicycle course equipped with traffic lights where they can practice their riding skills. The huge slide in the center of Garakuta Park is also very popular.
Haginaka Park has a complete lineup of sports facilities as well, including baseball fields and an indoor pool open throughout the year. Different varieties of trees, such as cherry and ume (Japanese plum), can be found all along the park, making it the perfect spot for picnics and cherry blossom parties. An assembly hall is also located in its precincts, making the park a great place not only for children and their parents, but for the elderly and everyone else who lives in the area as well.
9. Omori Shell Mounds Garden
Omori Shell Mounds Garden is located a 5-minute walk from Omori Station and around a 15-minute ride by car from Haneda Airport. It is here that American professor and zoologist Edward S. Morse excavated the Omori shell mound in a famous event that is even described in textbooks used in Japanese schools.
At Omori Shell Mounds Garden, you can find a statue of Professor Morse and you can learn more about the shell mounds and the civilization that produced them during the Jomon period (14,000 – 300 BCE) of Japanese history, not to mention the excavated area showing the layers of shells found in the region! In the center of the garden, there is an area called Jomon Park equipped with a water mist fountain that sends mist into the air 2 times per hour. If you come here during summertime you will see many kids playing around the fountain.
10. Ikegami Honmonji
Located roughly a 20-minute car ride from Haneda Airport, Ikegami Honmonji is one of the most well-known sightseeing spots in the area. It is in this temple that the prominent Buddhist priest Nichiren, the founder to what became to be known as Nichiren Buddhism, passed away in during the 13th century. Every year on the eve of Nichiren’s death anniversary, October 12th, approximately 300,000 devotees visit the temple to pay their respects.
Ikegami Honmonji houses many places of interest, including the oldest pagoda in the region of Kanto, erected by shogun Tokugawa Hidehata in 1607, and the Main Hall where a statue of Nichiren is kept. The temple is also famous for its cherry blossoms which create beautiful sceneries among the many historical buildings of its precincts. Candle nights and outdoor concerts are just a few examples among the numerous events that are held throughout the year at the temple, completely transforming the atmosphere of the place!
5 Places to Visit Around Haneda Airport
1. Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu
Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu has direct access to the departure lobby at Haneda Airport Terminal 2. Very popular among people coming from abroad for tourism as well as business, the hotel offers a wide variety of international dishes in its restaurant. You can use its services for a quick breakfast before departing in the morning or, if you wish, you can stay here so that you don’t have to worry about getting to the airport in time for your flight.
The hotel has ocean view rooms and rooms facing the airport’s runway, so whether you are an aviation enthusiast or you are accompanied by children, you will surely have a great time looking at the airplanes from the window. Also, the hotel is a great place to stay during a girls’ trip, offering plans that include a full lineup of toiletries bound to please female guests. If you are thinking about doing some sightseeing around Haneda or want a convenient place to stay before leaving on a domestic flight, Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu is perfect for you.
2. Mercedes me Tokyo HANEDA
Situated on the 1st basement floor of Haneda Airport Terminal 2, Mercedes me Tokyo HANEDA was inaugurated in 2015 and is the first Mercedes me store ever opened in Asia. The store always has the newest releases of Mercedes Benz on display at its Gallery Space, so if you are a car fanatic, you shouldn’t miss the chance to take a look here!
The store also has a cafe that offers some great dishes, such as eggs benedict, tarts, and doughnuts, all of them decorated with the brand’s distinctive logo. The store is surrounded by luxury cars making it a great place to come on a date too!
3. Edo Koji
Located at Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal, Edo Koji recreates the old days of the Edo period. It is a place you should try and visit even if you don’t have a plane to catch. The area is filled with restaurants where you can try authentic Japanese food, such as Edomae sushi (sushi made with marinated fish), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), and oden (hot pot of vegetables and fish cakes, slowly simmered in broth).
Constructed with red pillars similar to those seen at the famous Kanda Shrine, Edo Koji is home to a variety of attractions, including a mock Edo-style theater built under the supervision of renowned Kabuki actor, Kanzaburo Nakamura the 18th. Everything in the area was built with natural wood and traditional cutting tools in order to recreate the architecture of those days. Foreign tourists, as well as locals, can feel what the Japanese culture is all about first hand at this well-known sightseeing spot in the middle of Haneda Airport.
4. Tsurutontan Haneda Airport Branch
Tsurutontan is an udon (thick chewy noodles made of wheat flour) restaurant located at the above mentioned Edo Koji. With a beautiful inner design inspired by Japan’s four season aesthetics and culture, Tsurutontan attracts not only tourists but a wide range of Japanese customers who are about to leave the country or are coming back from abroad.
The secret behind Tsurutontan’s popularity is not limited to its easy access: their noodles are 70 cm long! On top of it, you can order up to three extra servings of noodles entirely free of charge. They also have a great variety of seasonal and limited dishes that you can only eat at this branch of the restaurant. This is the perfect place to eat if you want to have a real taste of Japanese food.
5. Yojiya Cafe Haneda Airport Terminal 1 Branch
Yojiya is a famous brand from Kyoto that is known countrywide for the emblematic female face printed on the package of its beauty products. Yojiya Cafe, which is located in Haneda Airport Terminal 1, not only sells the brand’s goods, including their famous aburatori-gami (oil blotting paper), but also offers a space where customers can enjoy a relaxing teatime.
Yojiya Cafe offers a wide variety of dishes and its beautiful lattes are very popular among the clientele. The store’s relaxing atmosphere provides the perfect place to come with a group of girlfriends or on a date. Also, this is one of the stores where you can get your hands on the Aloe Aburatori-gami, which is limited to Haneda Airport. Yojiya has another location in Terminal 2 as well but there is no cafe area there.
5 Hidden Gems to Visit in Haneda
1. Ota City Tourist Information Center
Ota City Tourist Information Center is located right next to Keikyu-Kamata Station. The center is closely involved with the local community and can provide you with great tips about sightseeing places and hands-on cultural experiences. Information is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean, so the center is a real hidden gem for travelers in Japan.
The center holds events about Japanese culture on a regular basis and anyone can participate. There are presentations about Japanese calligraphy, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, kimono dressing workshops, origami classes, and much more. There are even classes for local residents who want to learn English. Here you can also find locally made sweets and Japanese sake for sale. With so much on offer, how about starting your visit to Haneda at Ota City Tourist Information Center?
2. Book Cafe Uduki
Book Cafe Uduki is located very near Anamori Inari Shrine, a 5-minute ride by car from Haneda Airport. Here you can order a drink, grab one of the numerous books the cafe has available and read while you wait for your flight. Unwind with the sound of classical music and Latin rhythms in a very relaxed atmosphere.
Uduki has a variety of popular dishes, including matcha (green tea), breakfast sets, and their famous Haneda puddings. They also serve alcoholic beverages so you are more than welcome to drop by at night too. Their bookshelves are filled with titles somewhat different than what you would expect from a similar cafe. It's the kind of place you always end up staying more than you planned.
3. bb.q OLIVE CHICKEN cafe
Located a few seconds away from Otorii Station’s ticket gate, bb.q OLIVE CHICKEN cafe is the number one fried chicken chain restaurant from South Korea, with more than 2,500 stores in 25 different countries. The chain is renowned for the crispy chicken and variety of sauces it offers. Gather some friends or come on a date and enjoy their delicious chicken in one of the tables.
With a host of different foods, such as the spicy Yangnyeom Chicken, Olive Chicken Curry Rice, and their signature menu, the Golden Olive Chicken, bb.q OLIVE CHICKEN cafe has everything to please people who enjoy good food. They also have a wide variety of lighter dishes, such as sandwiches and salads, not to mention their hamburger which is very reasonably priced. In addition to tables, the restaurant is also furnished with a counter, so if you are after a quick bite this place is for you.
You'll be able to find hacco a 3-minute walk from Anamori-inari Station and right next to an elementary school. Choose a seat on the sofa, counter, or tables in this lovely coffee shop situated on the 5th floor and enjoy some alone time. Or, if you wish, bring some friends or that special someone and enjoy the relaxing European-style atmosphere of this hidden gem of a shop.
With a menu that includes freshly baked muffins and drinks served in big gorgeous cups, you will be taking pictures of everything here before you even realize it! Besides the food and drinks, hacco also sells home accessories and holds art exhibitions. This lovely coffee shop only opens during lunch hours from Tuesday to Saturday, so if you are ever in the area on one of these days, don’t miss the chance to drop by.
Rengetsu is a cafe situated right next to Ikegami Honmonji. Cherished by visitors to the temple since its conception, Rengetsu was built in the early 1900s and has previously been a soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant, an inn, and a banquet hall for wedding parties. Its beautiful architecture, typical of old Japanese houses, makes you feel as if you went back in time.
In addition to its lunch menu, Rengetsu features a great selection of desserts. The hojicha (rosted green tea) pudding has been an all-time favorite among guests since it first opened. There is also a wide variety of juices and flavored milks which will definitely be well received by children! Whenever you are sightseeing around Ikegami Honmonji, come take a break and relax a little at Rengetsu.
Haneda, A Place to Experience the Real Japanese Culture
There you have it, 20 places to visit in Haneda! Haneda is one of the entry points to Japan, and it has plenty of cafes near the airport where you can relax while waiting for your flight. Or, if you wish to explore a little further, you will find many sightseeing spots that are totally worth visiting in and on themselves. Want to see airplanes taking off and landing while enjoying a nice BBQ? You got it! Want to have a hands-on experience of Japan and the culture? You can find that here too! Want to visit traditional Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples? Haneda can offer that and more. Not everything has got to be about the airport so how about taking some time to explore the history and atmosphere Haneda has in hold for you?
Translated and republished with permission from：Relux Magazine
Header image: Toshinori baba/Wikimedia Commons
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.