planespotting at haneda airport

January 21st, 2013 / by / in: travel / 3 Responses

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A couple weeks ago, Mike and I headed to Haneda Airport not to take a flight, but just to look at planes. Because we’re nerds like that.

We took the Toei Oedo line from where we live to Hamamatsucho Station, where we transferred to the Tokyo Monorail.¬†Who doesn’t like monorails? Monorails are the best. (Just ask The Simpsons.) In about 20 scenic minutes, you arrive at Haneda Airport. Unlike at Narita Airport, no one checks your passport when you arrive.

FYI, according to Wikipedia, Haneda is the fifth busiest airport in the world, and the second busiest in Asia. It handles almost 100% of the domestic flights to/from Tokyo. It’s also a hub for Japan Airlines and ANA.

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Arriving at Haneda Airport!

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Sooooooo, Haneda is great because it has huge outdoor observation decks in ALL THREE TERMINALS. Observation decks are rare in North American airports… actually, I can’t even think of any that have observation decks.

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The observation decks were pretty busy for such a cold day. It seemed like people come to Haneda just to look at planes. There were also a lot of plane nerds being nerdy with their fancy cameras.

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The deck itself is gigantic, with two floors, and it even has a smoking area, snack bar, and vending machines.

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Terminal 1 is almost all JAL planes.

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There’s a nifty little thing that tells you the temperature, wind speed, etc.

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See, a cute little snack bar! You can hang out, have a beer, and watch airplanes. HOW COOL IS THAT?

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We eventually headed over to Terminal 2. I wish I was going to any of the places on this departure board.

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Terminal 2 is mostly ANA planes. Lots of pretty new 787s. (Which are now all grounded.)

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Here comes a 747!

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STAR ALLIANCE FOREVER!

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The Terminal 2 observation deck has a massive seating area, which would be fun in the summer. It also has a snack bar.

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Inside Terminal 2

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It’s a pretty nice terminal. Lots of food and shopping. One of the things I like is that there are stores that sell tons of airplane stuff. Model airplanes, Boeing tshirts, stuffed airplanes, airplane cellphone straps, videos of planes landing, boxes of the snacks they serve on planes, basically a plane nerd’s dream. I enjoy that Japan embraces the fact that AIRPLANES ARE AWESOME.

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And there’s even a Lawson in the terminal. Not just a regular Lawson, but an Air Lawson.

I know it’s weird to go to the airport when you’re not flying anywhere, but it was fun! It kind of reminded me of ye olden days when people would go to the airport just to have drinks and watch planes. (Because, as mentioned, AIRPLANES ARE COOL.) Next time I go to Haneda, I hope I’m going somewhere, but I’d go back any time just for more planespotting.


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