2 hours to spare? Here’s what to see, eat and do at Haneda Airport before you say ‘sayonara’ to Japan!

PUBLISHED BY VIACONNECTS | 06 AUG 2016

With incredible onsen experiences, winter festivals, seasonal dishes and powdery snow at the ready, it’s no wonder that those who visit Japan in winter simply can’t bear to leave!

If you’re flying Singapore Airlines, ANA or Japan Airlines, chances are you’ll probably be travelling from Haneda International Airport –a much closer option to Tokyo’s city centre and a convenient option for travellers. At Haneda, you can look forward to a plethora of activities to soak up authentic Japanese culture before you take off. Here are some last minute suggestions!

SEE: Cross the Nihonbashi Bridge and visit an old-time toy museum

Don’t fret if you missed out on visiting the original Nihonbashi Bridge in person – you can still visit it and do it for the ‘gram at Haneda! While the replica may be half the size of the original bridge, this famous bridge from the Edo period continues to draw visitors as a cultural symbol. Snap a few photos and after crossing the bridge, purchase ema (wooden tags) from a vending machine for well wishes and add them to the walls for good luck.

For both the young and the young at heart, consider dropping by Terminal 1’s Juveniland to find nostalgic old toys to ooh-and-ahh over, including wooden toys from Europe, old-time games and even a Kitahara Collection Airport Gallery put together by famed antique toy collector Kitahara Teruhisa. Don’t be surprised if you end up spending hours here!

EAT: Enjoy Authentic Japanese Cuisine

Get ready for a blast from the past as you wander through the famed Edo Alley, a re-creation of traditional Japanese streets from the Edo period.
Take your pick from delicious Japanese staples like ramen, sushi and udon, as well as traditional Japanese souvenirs, sweets and cakes.

Psst… In case you didn’t know, two popular ramen bars from downtown Tokyo, Setagaya and Rokurinsha, have outlets at Haneda.
Skip the queues downtown (we heard it can go up to an hour at the original branches in Tokyo) and enjoy the exact same prices at Haneda too!

DO: Thrills and spills for your inner otaku

Planetarium Starry Cafe
*Image credits: TIAT

Japanophile or not, fully immerse in Japanese pop culture haven Tokyo Pop Town at Haneda, where you’ll be in awe of the multitude of anime and manga paraphernalia on display, and get an  adrenaline rush as you watch slotcars whiz by on a massive racetrack at the Hakuhinkan Toy Park.

For those seeking an ahem, out of this world experience, check out the Planetarium Starry Cafe to dine under 40,000,000 stars. They even have original cocktails and desserts inspired by the stars to complete your intergalactic experience!

DO: Indulge in some retail therapy

With over 100 shops at Haneda, there are plenty of ways you can spend your pre-boarding time and pick up some uniquely Japanese mementos. Don’t miss your last chance to grab Japan exclusives or local favourites from TIAT Duty Free, or visit stores like Samantha Thavasa, Isetan and casualwear giant UNIQLO. There’s bound to be something for any kind of shopper at Haneda Airport.

Psst… for a limited time only, you’ll even get an additional 5% cashback on your overseas spend using VIA through Singtel Dash. Don’t forget to stock up on quirky Japanese snacks like Tokyo Banana, Hello Kitty-themed goodies and even the weird and wonderfully flavoured Kit Kat variants!

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Run out of yen? Not a problem! With VIA available in Japan now, you can make secure, cashless payments effortlessly with your mobile wallets like Singtel Dash or Global Pay at a wide variety of shops and restaurants at Haneda Airport. Simply look out for the VIA logo and show your QR code on your local mobile wallet to pay!

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