One of the many artificial islands in the Tokyo Bayshore area houses this interesting heliport. Roughly in the centreline of Haneda airport, less than 10km to the southwest, this small airfield sees a variety of helicopters perform many visual flights each day that weather permits so. Operations can be of all sorts, like airborne camera work for TV stations (noteworthy ANH for NHK), shuttles between Narita airport and downtown, flightseeing and fuel stops by police rotorcraft and others.
This is a true heliport, without facilities for fixed-wing aircraft. Take-offs and landings are performed on the sole helispot, with fixed directions 01 and 19. The east and south sides of the field are very open, with an excellent view from the east. The west side is lined with buildings.
By road, the point to navigate to initially is the Shin-kiba exit of the Metropolitan Expressway. Toll-free route 357 that runs underneath the expressway can obviously be used too, but will be slower in traffic. By rail, head for Shin-kiba Station either on the JR Keiyo line or the Yurakucho line of the Tokyo Metro. If you are able to read or speak Japanese, you may want to take the Toei Bus for the last part and get off at Tokyo Heliport Mae. Otherwise, prepare for a walk of about 2km from the station to spot 1.
Around the Airport
This is the only vantage point where cars can be parked on the spot, and also a suitable location to take photos in the afternoon when direction 19 of the helispot is in use. Approaching helos may be a bit high, but acceptable shots can generally be made and all regis of inbounds can be logged. The view on the field is partly obscured here by several hangars.
By far the best spot, very close to the action and popular with Japanese spotters too. Obviously the light is best in the morning and staying here should mean not missing anything that goes on. Bringing steps will ensure obstacle-free photography and access is via the footpath or cycling track along the shore.
An alternative to spot 2 when 01 is in use, and likely to be preferred with regard to the sun in the afternoon. Like spot 2, this one can be reached on foot and by bicycle. Expect a clear view on inbounds, but obstacles between yourself and the surface of the heliport.
Keisatsu-cho (police) AS332L landing on 19, as seen from the footpath, east of the centreline near spot 1.
JA63NH, an AS365 of ANH, hover-taxiing to the helispot against a typical metropolitan background. (Spot 2, Erik Sleutelberg)
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