Tokyo Haneda airport spotting report by Henry Tenby
Haneda has three separate and distinct terminals: one for ANA, one for JAL, and the International Terminal. The train will drop you off either at the International Terminal or the domestic terminal area. Once at the domestic terminal area you can take a free shuttle bus between the ANA and JAL terminals.
And the good news is that all three terminals boast massive, open air observation decks that span each of the terminal roofs and offer great views. However, you want to keep reading, as I do offer a valuable recommendation for aircraft photographers, as not all the decks are equal. My visit spanned the morning hours and I arrived around 10 am .. and departed back to central Tokyo around 1 pm.
TOKYO HANEDA – JAL TERMINAL 1:
My first Haneda deck to visit was the JAL terminal (which is Terminal 1). The deck itself is first rate and it faces south towards the International Terminal and central runway area. So unless you are there very early morning, you’ll have to deal with looking into the light, which is not ideal for photography or video. But you do get some nice morning views of the JAL aircraft on the bridges, and decent push-back shots can be achieved until mid morning. I spent about half an hour at the JAL decks before making my way over to the ANA terminal (Terminal 2).
TOKYO HANEDA – ANA ALL NIPPON TERMINAL 2:
The Haneda ANA terminal faces North – Northeast, so basically you have good light all day, with great apron views of all the ANA aircraft pulling into the gates, pushing back and starting engines, and good runway action as well. The deck again spans a good length of the ANA terminal roof area, and if you have limited time and want to maximize your photo and spotting results, I would suggest spending most of your Haneda time on this deck. Like all the Haneda decks there is a wire mesh, but there are plenty of big openings designed specially for cameras to be poked through, and there are plenty for everyone. I did notice loads of Japanese aviation fans on the decks, and everyone was keen on taking pics and videos, but you’ll never have to worry about missing a shot due to lack of available photo holes in the mesh barrier.
TOKYO HANEDA – INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL 3:
One my way back to central Tokyo I paid a quick visit to the International terminal obsdeck. You basically have to get on the train and it is the first stop past the domestic terminal on your way into Tokyo. You can’t knock the International observation deck. The views are decent, but for me personally, I prefer the Japanese domestic traffic over the international traffic. Like the ANA terminal, the International deck also faces to the North – Northeast so light is good for most of the day, with the sun at your back. The only thing I did not like, for runway views there are many light standards at the edge of the parking apron which interfere with photographing aircraft on the move on the runway. This is specially troublesome for those shooting video. The many light standards basically ruin the video as you pan aircraft at speed. So for all these reasons, personally, I would not return to the International terminal observation deck next time I return to Haneda.
Hopefully you have found my Haneda airport spotting report useful. Please add your comments below, which I welcome. And, if you can share this post on your Facebook page … I would be very appreciative of your efforts in helping to promote my blog.