Photographing Planes at Haneda Airport, Tokyo

Having written post about taking photos near to Haneda Airport (see my posts about Jonanjima and Keihinjima Tsubasa Park), this time I’ll write about taking photos at Haneda Airport itself.

Getting there is straight forward, so I won’t dwell on that.

One thing to note at this point is that there are several photo spots, thanks in part to Japan having observation decks at all of its airports – usually free.

The first place you can get good pictures is at the end of the platform for Haneda Terminal 3 (formerly international terminal) monorail station. If you get lucky, you’ll get a monorail train at the same time. In this shot, I decided to focus on the latter and show the planes stacking coming into the airport.

If you have data then you can use an app like Flightradar24 to see when planes are landing or taking off. The free airport WiFi will also reach most places that you will be at in the airport.

Let’s now look at the terminals in order.

Terminal 1 (JAL and others)

This terminal will give you a view across one of the main runways and across to Terminal 3. You will also be able to see the monorail line before it dives underground and you may be able to get both a plane and train in the same shot.

You can also get some interesting shots looking north with Tokyo Skytree in the background…

Terminal 2 (ANA and others)

From terminal 2 you will be looking out into Tokyo Bay. You can get some good take off shots here.

Terminal 3 (former International Terminal)

The view from the observation deck allows you to see a lot of what is going on across the airport, but I find, without a half-decent lens (at least 200mm), it’s hard to get satisfying shots (unless you like taking shots of planes taxiing) due to the angle. Often the best shots are looking across to the runway on the other side of Terminal 2 and getting planes as they take off from there.

The photo above includes ANA’s C3-PO Star Wars plane which I discuss in my chapter about contents tourism and planes in Japan. A Star Wars plane and photographing at Haneda also gets mentioned in my novel FOUR.

With a 300mm (or above) lens you can get some good shots of planes before they land or planes taking off from the island runway.

Keep an eye on planes after they have taken off as you will find that many will circle above the airport gaining altitude, so even with a 300mm lens, you can get some interesting shots of the planes turning and going off to their destination.

Museums

Both ANA and JAL have museums close to Haneda Airport. These are very popular and highly recommended, but also offer good views of planes in the airport.

Other things to see and do

If you have time to explore, you can also get off at Tenkubashi station (which offers some views across the airport, but it’s hard to get a good shot due to the fences) and go to visit the memorial to JAL flight JL350 plane crash. There is also a small shrine in Terminal 1. I wrote about both of these in another post – see here.

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