I flew into the city late, not having planned so much as my first day’s itinerary and not entirely sure how to find my hostel. Sleepy and disoriented from the flight, I didn’t feel up to the task of catching final trains and navigating Tokyo in the dark, so I camped out at Haneda instead.
Staying in Haneda airport overnight ended up being a pretty great choice. I saved on accommodation, had access to showers and 24-hour cafes, and made a start on the research I’d neglected to do beforehand, since I couldn’t sleep (though I did feel perfectly safe trying).
Now, being in the airport – even if you’re not spending the night – allows you to do three very important things.
1. Buy the Tokyo Subway Ticket. This gets you up to three days of unlimited usage of both the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines (not the JR train or private lines, though). The three-day ticket costs 1500 yen, which is an amazing deal. Get this at the tourist info center in the airport – as far as I know, it’s not available anywhere else.
2. Get the free wifi coupon. This is an easy way to get wifi in Tokyo as a tourist – you just present your passport at the tourist info center, and they give you an ID + password that’s good for 14 days and allows you access to a bunch of wifi spots around the city. Starbucks and 7-Eleven are still the most reliable sources of wifi, but this helps, too.
3. Buy a ticket to the Ghibli museum after arriving in Japan, if you failed to book overseas. Find a Lawson convenience store (there’s one at Haneda airport; not sure about Narita). These are the only places where you can buy tickets to the museum! You can’t just show up there. You need to book in advance and they sell out VERY fast overseas. In Japan, though, you can snag a ticket within just days of the date you want to go.
Follow the instructions in this link to buy the ticket, and ask one of the Lawson employees for help if you get stuck.
Numbers 2 and 3 don’t need to be done in the airport, but you probably want to do all these things right away to make your life easier.