2014.09.21 haneda

If you’ve ever visited Japan, chances are pretty high that you’ve been through Narita International Airport (and perhaps even been lucky enough to sample the perfect beer served there), no doubt thinking that you were flying to directly into Tokyo only to discover that you were still an hour train ride away from the city. The smaller Tokyo International Airport, commonly called Haneda, is, however, actually located within the city, but has until recently been considered Tokyo’s main domestic airport.

But all that’s about to change. As well as increasing the number of destinations it serves, Haneda has been improving its facilities and significantly upping its game in an effort to become more of an international hub. In fact, it was recently awarded the coveted 5-Star award from the ratings company Skytrax, making it the first airport in Japan and only the fourth in the world with that title.

Each year, the London-based ratings company spends nine months surveying 400 of the world’s largest and busiest airports. Until now, only three airports had achieved the top 5-Star ranking—South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Singapore Changi Airport. After being evaluated on approximately 300 criteria such as food options, terminal design and service, Haneda now joins that exclusive group of airports that are considered the best places to travel through.

Although the 5-star rating was announced last month, the Skytrax CEO will be at the airport on September 25 to officially award the airport its top-tier ranking.

This is not, however, the first time that Haneda has been recognized by Skytrax. In March this year, it was named the World’s Best Domestic Airport and received the Best Airport Terminal Cleanliness award for the second year in a row. And that list of awards didn’t even include RocketNews24’s unofficial distinction last year for being a great place to stock up on Japanese souvenirs.

With Tokyo hosting the Olympics in 2020, this newly-gained 5-Star status is sure to give not only Haneda, but the rest of the city, a big boost as it prepares for the massive crowds that will come.

Feature image: Facebook (Skytrax)
Source: Tokyo Bay Keizai Shimbun