16/11/2020

Tokyo Narita Airport: One of the world's busiest airports

The three passenger terminals of Narita Airport, as they say, are the gateway to Tokyo. It’s essential for tourists to learn to navigate through Narita International Airport, as it is one of Japan's busiest airports in terms of foreign passengers. And you won’t get bored as there’s lots to do!


Table of Contents

  1. The Entrance to Tokyo
  2. Airport Highlights
  3. Getting There
  4. Takeaway

The Entrance to Tokyo

Narita International Airport is the main entrance for foreigners going to Tokyo. There is also another airport in Tokyo, the Haneda Airport, but Narita caters most of the international flights while Haneda accommodates more domestic travels. So, if you are a tourist, you are most likely to arrive at the Narita International Airport in order to visit the outstanding city of Tokyo.

Narita Airport Brief History

In the past, Haneda Airport served as the main airport in Tokyo. However, the government had seen the urgent need to build another airport because of the increasing number of flights and travelers going in and out of the city that Haneda could no longer accommodate. In 1978, Tokyo built the New Tokyo International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, located 60 kilometers away from the city, in order to provide international tourists another access to Japan. In 1994, the airport was privatized and changed its name to Narita International Airport.

※ Narita Airport,"Access to the city center"
※ Narita International Airport Corporation, "NAAの歩みと共生・共栄の経緯(1966年~2019年10月)," p. 206 & 208

Airport Terminals

There are three terminals in Narita International Airport that are all open both for international and domestic traffic. Terminal 1 and 2 have their own train railway stations, the JR and Keisei Electric Railways, situated in their basements. These stations provide travelers direct access from the airport to Tokyo and other regions in Japan and vice versa. Terminal 3, on the other hand, is intended for LCCs and budget airlines like Jetstar Japan and Spring Japan. You can transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 by using the pedestrian walkway that connects the two. There are free shuttle bus services as well that operate to transport passengers from one terminal to another.

World’s Busiest Airport

As the years go by, the volume of international passengers and cargo coming in and out of Narita International Airport. For the past years, Narita has always been included in the top ten list of world’s busiest airports in terms of international passengers. In 2019, Narita International Airport was also among the top ten airports in the world which handle the largest volume of cargo.

※ Airports Council International, "ACI reveals top 20 airports for passenger traffic, cargo, and aircraft movements"

Airport Highlights

Aside from being one of the busiest airports in the world, Narita International Airport serves as an enticing teaser and appetizer of what Japan has to offer. The airport is built and equipped with modern and futuristic technologies from its architecture and design to its proud facilities and services. So, if you are too early for your flight or it is delayed for a couple of hours, or you have a short layover at the airport, maximize that time to tour around Narita International Airport and check out some of its facilities. There are many things and activities including some entertainment sections waiting to give you a great time.

Here are some of the facilities and services that you can find at Narita International Airport:

Shop and Dine at Narita Airport

There are countless other facilities you can find in Narita International Airport as well that are designed to provide guests and travelers a complete airport experience. These include facilities for relaxation, entertainment, shopping, and dining. There are numerous restaurants inside the airport that offer different cuisines and some favorite Japanese delicacies. You can find them at:

Terminal 1: Try authentic Japanese cuisine at Tokyo Food Bar, Komeraku, Dashichazuke, and more. There’s light meals and drinks available at the numerous cafes. 

Terminal 2: Light meals available at Blue Sky Restaurant, Royal Airport Restaurant, and Narita Anime Deck, where you can buy character toys as well. Eat Japanese cuisine at Sojibou, Blue Sky Miso Kitchen, and more.

Terminal 3: Get burgers at Freshness Burger, ramen at Hakata Ittenmon, udon at Miyatake Sanuki Udon, and more! 

You can find McDonald's and Starbucks on all three terminals, while 7-11 is available at Terminal 1 and 2. 

There are many shops as well where you can get some travel necessities and cute souvenirs, such as at Fa-So-La Souvenir and Gift Keisei Japanese Souvenir. 

Service Facilities

If you need to relax and unwind from a tiring flight, there are different lounges available in the airport including capsule hotels and shower rooms where you can freshen up. There are also beauty salons, massage chairs, and other facilities in the airport that provide relaxation services. There are entertainment facilities as well for kids and adults to pass the time like the theater culture. 

Terminal 1: Checkout the traditional Japanese performing art of Kabuki and costume exhibits at Kabuki Experience Gallery & Shop, Origami Museum display, or visit the NAA Art Gallery for the wide array of paintings and the Mini Gallery of Japanese Art from Tokyo National Museum. Japanese culture events are also scheduled for the kids and family to enjoy like the ukiyo-e woodblock printing, calligraphy, Japanese paper doll making, and kite making demonstrations.

Terminal 2: Be astonished by the long mural of Matazou Kayama's Sun, Moon and Four Seasons, ceramics of Ikko Tanaka, wood craftsmanship of Shoun Kano, and more at the Art Promenade! Have a photoshoot at the cherry blossom tree photo spot. 

Kids Park, a place for young kids to play, is also available at all three Terminals after you go through customs. 

Many airport guests are so amazed by the high-tech facilities inside the airport especially the famous Toto washlets. So, if you are going to stay for a while at the airport, checking out these futuristic Japanese technologies could be a lot of fun.

Other Essential Facilities

Currency Exchange and Cash Withdrawals

In any case that you need to withdraw cash or any other banking services, there are currency exchange counters and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) available in the three airport terminals. 

Pocket Wi-Fi and SIM Card Rentals

For your internet and mobile needs, while traveling in Japan, you can find many pocket Wi-Fi and SIM card rental stations inside the airport. These could be kiosks, shops, counters, and also vending machines. Just a tip: Book in advance for a SIM card or pocket Wi-Fi online before coming to Japan because there are times that stores go out of stock.  

Luggage Storage, Coin Lockers, and Post Office

You don’t have to worry about all your luggage because there are different companies in each airport terminal that offer luggage storage and other services like luggage wrapping and delivery. There are coin-operated lockers as well in the airport where you can store your luggage for a certain period of time. If you need to send letters, packages, and parcels within Japan or abroad, you will find post office counters in Terminal 1 and 2 and mailboxes available in all terminals.

Visit the airport’s official website for a complete list and additional information about the available facilities and services they offer. 

Narita Airport Service Facilities 

Getting There

Narita International Airport is located in Narita City in Chiba Prefecture. There are different means to travel to and from the airport. You can either ride a train, a bus, or a cab.

However, the easiest and quickest access to the airport is via train. The JR and Keisei Railways in the airport terminals can connect you directly to Tokyo Station and other regions in Japan.

Below is the list of train stations you can access from Narita Airport to Metropolitan Tokyo:

Train Name

Access to

Price

Narita Express

 

Reserved Seating

Tokyo Station,
Shinagawa,
Shibuya,
Shinjuku, Yokohama

Starts at 3,070 yen (to Tokyo Station)
Price depends on which station 
you get off at (one-way)

Skyliner

 

Reserved Seating

Nippori, Ueno

2,520 yen for adults and
1,270 yen for children
(one way) to Keisei-Ueno Station

Access Express

 

Non-reserved

Nippori, Ueno,
Shinagawa,
Haneda Airport

1240 yen regular fare (one-way)
to Keisei-Ueno Station

Keisei Main Line

 

Non-reserved

Nippori, Ueno

1030 yen regular fare (one-way)
to Keisei Ueno Station

※ Narita Airport, "Access to Central Tokyo"

There are many bus and taxi services available as well but taking a cab is a little bit pricey. So, if you are not in a hurry, it is more recommended to travel via train while enjoying the scenery along the way.

But if you want a more personal and exclusive travel experience alone or with your travel companions, there are van and car rental services available in the arrivals area at the airport. 

※ Narita Airport, "Car Rental"

Takeaway

Narita International Airport is not your typical airport terminal. It is a grand gateway to Tokyo that offers top-of-the-line facilities and incredible services in order to provide guests and travelers a complete airport experience and give little taste of what Japan has to offer. So, the next time you come to Tokyo, Japan, spend a few hours exploring this world-renowned international airport. 

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