Haneda International Airport, Japan. Picture: Supplied

The expectations of an airport is that when you enter it, you're immediately directed to the terminals for check-in and boarding, and the occasional coffee shop where you can buy a cappucino in a to-go cup, but not with Tokyo's Haneda airport.

Although it serves its purpose as a world-class airport, once passengers have entered the large building, the feeling that they probably receive is that of them being in a shopping mall and not a holding area for passengers waiting to depart on planes.

Haneda Airport is a display of some of the world's best architecture in terms of the structure of airports, and although the Japanese airport is fourth on the list compared to Singapore's Changi Airport (which is number one),

Admittedly, Haneda doesn't have the world's best facilities. It can't compete with Changi's rooftop pool and its butterfly garden, with its orchids and its koi pond.

However, Haneda has just enough to keep you interested for a few hours, without making you feel as if you're missing out on a whole lot of good stuff you'll never get a chance to try.

This is the world's fifth-busiest airport, and yet it doesn't feel crowded or rushed, or even that large. You can easily get to everything you need to. You can see all the things you want to see.

Some of those attractions include the food - which could be considered as a favourite among travellers. Some of the best food in Tokyo, served in proper restaurants that charge prices similar to their city counterparts.

Two of the best-known ramen bars in Tokyo, Setagaya and Rokurinsha, have outlets at Haneda. Unlike the long queues and busy aspect of the Japanese markets, food at Haneda is easily accessible. Plus, the prices aren't as inflated in the airport as they are in the market.

The Marketplace section of Haneda airport. Picture: Supplied
In the Edo Market,  there is a faux traditional street market on a mezzanine level above Haneda's check-in area – you can also feast on kick-arse pork cutlets at Katsusen Tonkatsu, eat high-end beef at Champion Yakiniku (another off-shoot of a famous Tokyo store), dine on great sushi at Ariso, munch fried things on sticks at Kushinobo, and enjoy sukiyaki at Takafuku.

However, like all other airports, Haneda does have its flaws.

The customs queues are usually pretty long and slow on arrival. The international and domestic terminals are far apart and poorly connected.

Despite its flaws though, Haneda is definitely one of the top airports in the world, and it's understandable as to why it is so popular among travellers.

The terminals at Haneda airport in Japan. Picture: Supplied
But mostly, this is what I want from an airport: close to the city and well connected; amazing, well-priced local food; a place to get some fresh air; a few games or weird shops to amuse me; decent local souvenirs for panic present buying; friendliness, cleanliness, and efficiency.

Plus, even though it is an airport, there is access to well-priced local food; a place to get some fresh air; a few games or weird shops to amuse me; decent local souvenirs for panic present buying; friendliness, cleanliness, and efficiency.

So it makes you feel like you're in a shopping mall, and not waiting to board your flight.

IOL