The image above was included in a complimentary booklet that was distributed in Narita Airport in 2011. It is a perfect start to our next Airport Explore post on Narita Airport located in Tokyo, Japan.
Narita Airport is one of the busiest hubs when you travel to Asia. If you are a frequent Japan Airline traveler like me, you become an expert of all the wonderful things the airline has to offer. Don’t be scare of the language barrier and the somewhat confusing layout of the airport. The staff is very helpful! I normally fly in from Boston and connect through Terminal 2 for my flight to Vietnam. For domestic and international connections, you will need to go through airport security one more time before entering the main Terminal 2 (T2) building. If Tokyo is your final destination, baggage claim and customs are located on the first floor.
After clearing security, I would then make my way to the third floor. On the left after getting off the escalator, I would walk to the area marked “Day Rooms & Showers”. Unfortunately, it has been closed since September 2014. You can use the showers and relaxation facilities in a capsule hotel called “Nine Hours” located on level B1F.
The shower will cost 1,000 yen (approximately 9 USD) for an hour.
Narita Airport is currently offering a 50% off promotion to use the shower. You will need to present your boarding pass at the reception counter.
Once you freshen up, you can visit the “Traveler’s Lounge Rassurants” on the fourth floor free of charge. This is essentially a waiting room. I personally think that there are more interesting things to explore in T2.
Depending on the time of day or night and whether I am hungry, I will either shop first or hit my favorite food spots in T2.
For food, here are some yummy options to satisfy your hunger. The food quality in Japan is much higher than most places and food at the airport is no exception. You will get quality food at a reasonable price.
Asia CAFÉ Bowl (located on the third floor)
They have your usual variety of Japanese noodles and simple fare. You select the options and take a buzzer. A waiter will bring the food out to your table when it is ready.
Café & Bar Avion (located on the third floor)
Café & Bar Avion is more casual than Asia Bowl. They serve food cafeteria style. You pick up a tray and select available items. When you get to the register, you can order from several full set menus before taking a buzzer and finding a table. The staff will bring your food to you. This is a great budget option!
For those that have more time, I highly recommend that you make your way up to the fourth floor for a better gastronomic feast. The fourth floor is located outside of passport control at the check in area. Just remember that you will have to go through passport control and security in order to get back into floor 3 for your connecting flights.
There is Kyotaru, which specializes in traditional Japanese cuisine.
Sojibo makes soba noodles right in the restaurant.
Sushi Misakimaru serves fresh Edo style sushi.
You can’t miss Gansozushi (a conveyor belt sushi restaurant) where they have fresh seafood delivered daily from the famous Tsukiji markets. Each dish is only a few USD.
For a higher echelon of sushi, try Sushiden.
Now onto the shopping…Japanese products are notorious for being expensive in the US. My recommendation is to buy all liquid products before heading to your connecting Asian destination flights. Avoid the possibility of having to discard the liquid products upon arrival to the US.
Here are my top picks when flying through Narita:
SK-II: This very popular brand is super expensive in the US. There are multiple duty-free kiosks around T2 and usually at a 30% off the US retail price. I generally stock up on SK-II Treatment Essence and SK-II Facial Treatment Masks for the year.
Shu Uemura: You can pick up their famous eyelash curler for $16 (compared to $20 in the US) as well as their cult favorite cleansing oils. They also carry items only sold in Asia such as their POREraser (mouse cc cream). For Asians, this is a great time to stock up on beauty products as there are more skin tone color varieties.
On my way back to the US, I usually carry an empty Longchamp overnight bag and head straight to Fa-So-La (3F) for beautifully gift wrapped confectionery (cookies, candy, mochi, etc). They take the guess work out of buying souvenirs and are conveniently light to carry. They also sell folk art crafts for those who are interested in non-food items.
For more high end confectionery creations, head toward Soke Minamoto Kitchen (3F).
For high end shopping, take a stroll down Narita’s 5th Avenue for BVLGARI, Burberry, Cartier, Coach, Le Sportsac, Tumi, Gucci, Hermes, and others. I personally skip these as the discounts are not as good as the bargains you can get in the US or thru Milan or Paris airports, especially now that the dollar is strong.
Now that you have refreshed, relaxed, eaten, and shopped, I wish you a safe trip to your final destination.
For related articles, visit our TRAVEL page.
Author: Thai-Anh Hoang
Feature photo: http://kiuchi.prosite.com/