You've probably heard of Narita Airport being described as the gateway to Japan, and for good reason, since it's the airport many local and international visitors will be using for their travels to and from Japan. Now, imagine you land earlier than expected in the airport, or your flight was delayed and you have some time to spare.
Even if you're just having a layover or in the airport early to check in for your flight, you may be wondering what's there to see and do before and after the customs check. How does one spend all this extra time in Narita Airport productively?
Well, don't you worry, because Narita Airport is chock-full of enjoyable spots to explore. We're talking about places like restaurants, shops, relaxation facilities, and playgrounds for the kids as well. You may find yourself running out of time to spend soon enough instead! Here's a list of some of the best places you can visit in the airport, from eateries to relaxation spots, that will make all that waiting time pass like a breeze!
Enjoy your last hearty Japanese meal just before leaving!
Restaurants can be found at every corner in Narita Airport, from Terminals 1 to 3. Whether you're craving Japanese, Western, Chinese, cafes, bars, fast food, or anything else at all, the sheer variety of delicious chow available here will not disappoint your taste buds!
Let's start with Terminal 1. Our recommended shop here is the popular "Dashichazuke En", a dashi-chazuke (soup on rice) specialty store where you can enjoy soup stock of the highest quality.
The eatery's authentic dishes are served fast food style, with toppings like dried kelp, dried sardines, and different types of fish flakes and chicken flakes. The golden soup stock is made with seasonal ingredients that are both good for the body and will warm the cockles of your heart!
First terminal 4F,Narita, Furugome, Narita-shi, Chiba International Airport, 282-0004
Narita Airport Station （JR Narita Line / Keisei Main Line / Narita SKY ACCESS Line）
- Phone Number 0476-33-1796
- Address First terminal 4F,Narita, Furugome, Narita-shi, Chiba International Airport, 282-0004
Blue Sky Miso Kitchen is our recommendation for Terminal 2. The focus of this restaurant is miso, a traditional fermented soup stock that is a prominent part of Japanese food culture. Besides offering a wide variety of food from breakfast to dinner time, the restaurant also has plenty of sake and side dishes for customers who may only be looking for a nibble. This is definitely an ideal place to visit if your goal is to taste as many uniquely Japanese dishes as you can just before taking flight.
Second terminal 3F,Narita, Furugome, Narita-shi, Chiba International Airport, 282-0004
Airport Terminal 2 Station （JR Narita Line / Keisei Main Line / Narita SKY ACCESS Line）
- Phone Number 0476-34-6645
- Address Second terminal 3F,Narita, Furugome, Narita-shi, Chiba International Airport, 282-0004
As for Terminal 3, go to Tatsu Sushi, a sushi franchise that also has a branch in Terminal 1. This is where you can try out authentic akashari, and old-style of sushi popular before the Edo Period (1603 CE to 1868 CE), made with just wild tuna, local seafood, domestically grown rice, red vinegar, and salt. Buy some as takeout to relive the olden Japanese mood as you take flight to your next destination!
Third terminal 2F,Narita, Furugome, Narita-shi, Chiba International Airport, 282-0004
Airport Terminal 2 Station （JR Narita Line / Keisei Main Line / Narita SKY ACCESS Line）
- Phone Number 0476-36-5500
- Address Third terminal 2F,Narita, Furugome, Narita-shi, Chiba International Airport, 282-0004
Turn free time into fun time
Terminals 1 and 2 each have four shops that offer beauty and relaxation services.
Nailquick can be found in both Terminals 1 and 2. They offer a wide range of nail services such as gel nails that take no time at all to dry, quick manicures, care treatment for the hands, children packages, men packages, and an exhaustive list of other service packages to choose from. Get the treatment that will best fit into your spare time before the flight and wait that time out in comfort and relaxation.
Raffine is another place to consider visiting for body care packages that help to work out all that accumulated stress and fatigue from long flights. Terminals 1 and 2 both have two Raffine shops each. Some of their relaxation courses are rather short, so it's easy to slot a session into your free time to make the best use of it. Refresh yourself with body care or reflexology to get into a good mood for your flight!
There are also massage chairs situated throughout the terminals for you to use whenever you like - even if it's just for a short while before you fly off!
Freshen up in a shower room or nap room
Shower rooms are available after you go through the embarkment process in Narita Airport, as well as nap rooms that come with an attached shower in a facility called the Refresh Room. Because the rooms come stocked with bathing necessities such as shampoo rinse, body soap, bath towels, face towels, and hairdryers, you can walk in empty-handed and still be able to use them to freshen yourself up.
There are eight private shower rooms in Terminal 1, and the facility is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (shower rooms until 8:30 p.m.). The place is commonly used by business people for refreshing themselves just before departure, or as a rest stop during domestic transfers.
In the Refresh Room in Terminal 1, you'll find eight shower rooms, 10 single nap rooms that come with an attached shower (one of which is wheelchair-accessible), and three twin rooms. The facility is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (shower rooms up to 8:30 p.m./nap rooms up to 8:00 p.m.).
The Refresh Room in Terminal 2 have four shower rooms, three single nap rooms, and three twin nap rooms. The facility is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (shower rooms up to 8:30 p.m./nap rooms up to 8:00 p.m.).
These relaxation spots are especially highly recommended for those with more than an hour of spare time in the airport. Take a quick shower or nap to get your body and soul refreshed and ready for the next leg of your journey.
・Shower Room: 1,050 yen for the first 30 minutes for 1 person, 530 yen every 15-minute block thereafter
・Nap Room (Single): 1,560 yen for the first 60 minutes for 1 room, 780 yen every 60-minute block thereafter
・Nap Room (Twin): 2,520 yen for the first 60 minutes for 1 room, 1,260 yen every 60-minute block thereafter
Window shopping is another great way to spend time
Since there are so many shops in Narita Airport, you can also choose to make full use of your spare time by doing some window shopping.
You'll find all sorts of products in the shops here, from travel essentials to medicine, electronic appliances, jewelry and watches, books and stationery, general goods and folk crafts, fashion items, food and snacks, and many others. There are plenty of tax-free shops and branded boutiques as well.
The shops are packed into the fourth floor of the central building of Terminal 1, the fourth floor of Terminal 2, and the second or third floors of Terminal 3. If you've forgotten to bring a certain travel essential or are looking for a last-minute souvenir, step into the shopping area to see what you can find! As you look around at the goods available for sale, time will pass by quickly and the time to board your flight will be upon you before you even realize it!
Enjoyable and family friendly Kids Parks
Travelers with little children may find it tougher than usual to spend their spare time, which is why there are "Kid's Park" facilities in every terminal at Narita Airport. These places aren't day-care centers, however, so adult accompaniment is required. Nevertheless, they're wonderful playgrounds specially designed for children to enjoy.
In the domestic flights section of Terminal 1, there is one Kid's Park on the second floor (after departure process), four on the third floor (before embarkment process), and one on the fifth floor (before embarkment process) - a total of six facilities. In the domestic flights section of Terminal 2, there is one Kid's Park on the second floor (after departure process), one at the main building's satellite skywalk (after embarkment process), and two on the fourth floor of the main building (before embarkment process) - a total of four facilities. In the international flights section of Terminal 3, there is one Kid's Park after the embarkment process, and another one on the second floor in the area after the domestic flight departure process (satellite).
Baby rooms have also been installed in various places throughout each floor as well. Each room comes with a breast-feeding booth, diaper changing counter, wash basin, and hot water dispensing machine. Other than the breast-feeding booths, men are also welcome to use these facilities. The information counters found inside each terminal will lend out wheelchairs or baby strollers to airport guests without charge when requested. This service is provided to ensure travelers with little children can spend their time in the airport more comfortably.
Experience Kabuki in a fun way!
Kabuki Gate is located on the third floor of the central building in Terminal 1, and we highly recommend coming to this free facility to spend some of your spare time as well! This is a kabuki sensory gallery and shop where you can learn more about kabuki, an iconic Japanese traditional performing art.
Clothing used in performances are displayed on life-sized mannequins, and the gallery allows you to enhance your experience with the kumadori stage makeup app, Kabuki Face Photo Booth that takes you through a list of fascinating face makeup that kabuki actors put on for their performances. The collection of carefully selected Kabuki Gate original items related to the traditional art of kabuki is another aspect of the facility that many enjoy browsing through.
The gallery is being wholly supervised by Shochiku Company Limited, a production company for kabuki shows, and their meticulous attention to detail will ensure that your time in this facility is meaningful and well-spent.
Observation decks that allow you to see the airport in a different light!
The observation deck of any airport is a place many regularly visit to spend time, and Narita Airport is no exception, especially if you're hoping to see one last breathtaking view before you embark on your journey home.
The fencing on the deck has holes in it made for camera lenses so that anyone can take photographs of the airplanes without being blocked by the fences. All observation decks also have binoculars installed for close-up views of the planes, which helps to make takeoff and landing scenes all the more exciting and intense!
The observation deck on the fifth floor of Terminal 1 offers a full view of the 4,000-meter (about 13,000 feet) long airstrip A. The deck is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the period between April 1 to September 30, and 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the period between October 1 to March 31.
Terminal 2 has two observation decks on the fourth floor, both allowing close-up views of airplanes that are parked on the tarmac. The decks are open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the period between April 1 to September 30, and 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the period between October 1 to March 31.
That said, the observation decks may sometimes be closed due to weather conditions, so if you happen to be at the airport on a sunny day, we highly recommend that you head over to one of these decks for stunning views that you literally won't be able to find anywhere else in Japan!
Strong internet connectivity everywhere and for all
You can also use Narita Airport's free Wi-Fi service if you have a Wi-Fi enabled device. This is available to everyone in every terminal, no matter the area.
Is your device running out of juice? Look out for electric charging points that can be found in all terminals and used free of charge. There's no need to worry about your phones or computers running out of battery in Narita Airport, that's for sure!
There are also free internet terminals in the airport you can use to look up flight information before boarding your plane, or read up on other useful information for your trip. These terminals can be found on the fourth floor of the north wing of Terminal 1, and the first floor of the main building of Terminal 2.
Need help about something or the other? Head over to one of the friendly information counters to ask for more information! These counters have a question mark sign hanging above them for easy identification. There is a total of 11 such counters in Terminal 1, eight counters in Terminal 2, and two counters in Terminal 3, all located before the embarkment process.
Of course, the airport also contains plenty of other enjoyable areas besides the ones we've featured in this article, including daily events that are held to introduce Japan's culture to visitors, as well as an interesting art path that's great for leisurely walks.
Narita Airport is really quite a charming place that you can spend as much or as little time as you want in. If you ever find yourself in the airport with some time to spare, we encourage you to try touring the buildings as a part of your trip as well!
Written by: Naho Jishikyu. English translation by: Huimin Pan.
main image：Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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