According to most airlines, taking an international flight means you have to check in at the airport two hours early, at least. So if your flight is delayed like mine was, this means you will be spending quite a bit of time at the airport. Not to worry though – there’s actually a lot to do at Narita Airport!
How to Kill Time at Narita Airport
Because of a mechanical issue with the plane, my last flight from Narita was delayed 9 hours (in addition to to me being there early). Needless to say, I had a lot of time to kill. At first I debated heading out into town, but I decided to explore the airport instead. I knew Narita Airport was large, but it is in fact HUGE. And it’s packed with shopping, restaurants and even small museums (yes, that’s plural!). Top that off with Narita’s free wifi and baggage carts (no need to lug around your suitcase) and you’re set to breeze through your delay.
Before heading through security, check out the numerous shops and restaurants in Terminals 1 & 2. The two terminals are quite a ways apart, so jump on the shuttle bus to go between the buildings (of course if you walk that will definitely kill more time). The shops are packed with souvenirs, clothes and confections, so the airport is a great place to get any last minute gifts. Just remember you still have to go through security, so no large liquids…unless you want to mail them. (There is actually a post office in Terminal 1.) Currency exchanges are also available if you need to convert any unused Yen back to your native currency.
At the Gates
Most US, Canada and Europe-bound travelers will depart out of Terminal 1. Luckily, it has about a dozen restaurants (including excellent sushi) to choose from and over 25 stores, many of which are duty-free. The stores have clothes and handbags, beauty items, foods, liquor, souvenirs, art and local crafts. There are even 2 small museums featuring kabuki and origami. Both have fascinating English-language displays and are free. The airport sometimes features local artists and craftsman too. In fact, while I was there, they had a large booth set up where travelers of all ages could learn about and arrange flowers in the art of ikebana. How cool is that?!
For those who just want to relax, Narita has coin-operated massage chairs at several gates and they even have a mini hotel of sorts where you can sleep, shower and relax in private. As you might imagine, room rates are by the hour (and don’t worry, they provide wake-up calls). Both terminals also have smoking rooms and children’s play areas for anyone in need.
Getting Delayed at Narita Is Actually Not a Bad Thing
While the thought of spending more time in an airport is normally something we all would dread, spending more time at Narita Airport means you get to explore. For me that meant I had delicious ramen, went to 2 museums and found some neat local crafts. So if you get delayed, don’t despair. Who knows what you will find!
For terminal maps and more details about the airport, check out this link: Narita Airport
Source: Narita Airport
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