Since the airport promises that connections between the new international terminal and their breadth of domestic flights in the other terminals will take 80 minutes at the absolute longest, there's a huge drive to give passengers some way to experience Tokyo while waiting to board that next flight. Enter the Edo Marketplace. "Edo" is the old name for Tokyo, and indeed several areas of the new Haneda terminal have been modeled on Tokyo before skyscrapers, before vending machines on every corner. The Edo Marketplace includes a furoshiki shop, a traditional cosmetics boutique, origami demonstrations, floral and ikebana, and many classic Japanese eateries with charming waitstaff in kimonos.
Go one floor above or below Edo to find more modern shopping and dining options, including a giant Hello Kitty store, the slot car racetrack, manga by the shelfload, and tons of techy toys.
Because space is so valued in Tokyo, the new terminal places a huge emphasis on the luxury of it, with personal space a particular focus. This is evident everywhere, from ample seating options in the ticketing area to tricked-out individual rest pods in the airline lounges (more on that to come). Trust us, it's a frickin' playground for those who otherwise live their lives in a country of capsule hotels, packed rush hour trains and tiny city apartments.
The new Haneda International Terminal is a bit like a mini Japan wonderland, and indeed there's a real danger that travelers may loose track of time while spending it pre-security and thus miss their flights!
How to reach it on public transportation: If you want to check out the new terminal yourself, you don't have to have a flight to see the best stuff. Just take the Oedo or Ginza subway lines to Daimon/Hamamatsucho, and switch to the Tokyo Monorail; it leaves from Daimon bound for all Haneda terminals. The International one (called Tōkyō Kokusai Kūkō) is your first stop of them. Don't worry; all signs and announcements have English translations. The trip is about $5 and 20 minutes each way (from Daimon/Hamamatsucho).
Coming in Part 2 of our visit to Tokyo-Haneda's International Terminal: more Hello Kitty than should be allowed in an airport. Stay tuned!
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]