Spending the night at Haneda airport might not be what you had envisioned for your first night in Tokyo. However, something I was very surprised about in such an advanced country as Japan was that public transport stops from about 0.30 am to 4.30 am and at many hotels you are not able to check in after 10 pm. If they offer late check in, it’s usually for a fee. In case you want to book a hotel late at night anyway, check out the section about hotels in the general tips section.
Or, if you rather want to spend your first night at the airport, Tokyo is my new favorite place to do this. Read on, why.
Pros for spending the night at Haneda airport
1. Many people spend the night at Haneda airport
Since it’s so difficult to find a suitable place to stay late at night, it’s very common that people spend the night at the airport and nobody will bother you and you will be in good company with fellow travelers.
2. You find lots of good places for sleeping
There are many benches to sleep on. Just walk around a little to find one in a place with less light. On the basement floor next to Lawson convenience store (open 24 hrs) there even are rows with soft chairs on which you can spread out. The same you will find on the top floor, where you can also access the free observation deck, from which you could witness a beautiful sunrise.
3. You won’t starve
You can find something to drink and eat all night. Don’t waste time waiting to eat delicious Japanese food and already give something a try. There is a Lawson convenience store on the lowest level, several restaurants on the second floor and a few vending machines everywhere.
4. The a/c is set to an agreeable level
The rooms aren’t as cold as in some European airports.
5. Getting out of Tokyo’s airport will cost you some nerves if you want to do it in a hurry
It will take you ages to leave the airport anyway, so why not buy a snack and take it easy?
These are the reasons why I had quite a good night at Haneda airport.
Cons of arriving at an airport in Tokyo
The downside of arriving at either Narita or Haneda airport is, that it will take you one to two hours to get through customs and when you will want to exchange your JR Pass voucher you will realize that the office is only open from 7.45 am to 6.45 pm. Plus, the line in front of the office will always be at least 1h 20, even if you get there right when it opens in the morning. Some people camped in front of the agency the whole night to be first. Perhaps it would make sense to buy a metro ticket for now and exchange your JR pass later at one of the bigger stations in Tokyo.
Once you are FINALLY able to leave the airport, it will take you 20 to 30 min by metro or JR train to reach the city center with its public transportation net.
Have you spent the night at any airports? What are your experiences?