Mike Newman's Narita Layover Page

Please note that I don't transit through Narita very often anymore, so this page is only as good as the feedback I get from travelers. If you notice an error or a dead link or wish to meake a suggestion, please write me.

(Last updated 9 May 2008)

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Flights between North America and Asia often involve a layover in Narita, Japan. Since the international airport at Narita (New Tokyo International Airport) is far from Tokyo and in a country that seems impossibly expensive, travelers to Asia often seek advice about what to do during their hours, days and perhaps night in Narita. This page is geared toward folks who intend to stay in the vicinity of the airport, including nearby Narita City. However, there are links to information on traveling into Tokyo and elsewhere. Thanks to J. Sachs (great Web page) and Ken Heard who supplied many of the details. Other information has been gleaned from the Web and from my own personal experience. Any errors are my own.

Narita Layover Page featured in New York Times "Practical Traveler".

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Prices shown here are approximate, from 2004, and shown in Yen. The current (April 2008) exchange rate is about 100 Yen to 1 US Dollar. For the latest currency rates, check out Yahoo.

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Before you go: Back to the menu.

In the Airport:

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Where can I go?

The Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) has an information-filled site on Japan.

Chiba City is about 25 or 30 minutes by train from the airport. Be sure to take the JR line as it is more direct and cheaper than the Keisei line. Chiba is a large port city with the usual collection of department stores and interesting shopping streets. A massive monorail system is being built which will dominate the city's skyline for years to come. Chiba is definitely worth a visit if you don't have time to get into Tokyo, but want to see a Japanese city larger than Narita.

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Visit "Boso No Mura" or "Villages in Boso" , another suggestion from Dick Karp:

"It is an interactive village that recreates a Japanese village from historical Japan. There is the main street of an Edo period Japanese town, model farmhouses from various historical periods, and even a Samurai's residence. At each of the various locations, there are things to try -- for example, you can try on Samurai armor at the Samurai's residence. It's open from 9 am to 4:30pm and admission -- as well as all the interactive events -- are completely free. Closed Monday (except national holidays, when they close on the next day, Tuesday). Also closed Dec 26 to Jan 4.

"To get there, you take the Narita line from Narita JR station for 2 stops to Ajiki. Then get on a bus bound for "Ryukakuji-dai Shako" and ask the driver to let you know when you reach "Boso No Mura" bus stop. Then cross the street and go up the crossroad for about 5 minutes to the entrance. Total time from Narita JR station is only about 25 minutes each way!

"On entrance, they will give you a short guide in English, also for free. The entrance is also where you sign up to participate in the various interactive events, of which there are many."

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Another suggestions from Dick Karp:

The National Museum of Japanese History in Sakura is easy to reach, and well set up for English speaking visitors (the 420yen admission fee includes a headset which gives exhibit related commentary in English throughout the entire museum). To get there, the easiest way is to board a 'limited express' at the Keisei Narita station towards Tokyo and get off at the first stop, Sakura, which is about a ten minute ride. There is a 'limited express' about every 20 minutes; you can also take a regular train at the same fare which will take a bit longer. The museum is a 15 minute walk from the station and the route is posted in English. The museum is open from 9am-4:30pm (last admission 4pm) every day but Monday (open National holiday Mondays, but then closed the Tuesday following). I'd allow 3 hours for this trip.

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Narita-shi (Narita City)

The city of Narita (Narita-shi means Narita City in Japanese, but it's more like a small town) is one train stop away from the airport. It is an interesting Japanese Temple town. One could easily spend a day or two exploring the area. If you arrive in Narita by excursion bus from your hotel you will either be dropped off at one of the two department stores, or in the town square [picture]. If you arrive by Keisei line train from the airport, you will find yourself a few steps from the center of town. Walk straight out of the train station, walk straight past the bus station and turn right. you'll see a Macdonalds straight ahead which is on the main 'town square'.

Your first stop should be the Information Kiosk which is located to the right of the entrance to the JR (Japan Rail) train station. (This is on the opposite side of the square from Macdonalds.) Here you can get area maps, directions to specific places, suggestions on what to do, help with hotels, etc.

Narita City Map

Here's an on-line map of Narita City with hotel info in frames. This is the map available at all the tourist information kiosks.

Here's a 'no frames' version of the map.

Warning: This is a big (292K) GIF file and may take some time to load....

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What can I do in Narita?

See The Temple - Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple and Park is definitely worth a visit. It has many fine old buildings, some centuries old, including several ancient gates, a bell tower, prayer wheel, etc. The temple grounds include a beautiful park which is fun to wander in at any season. It has huge trees, ponds, waterfalls, places to sit and paths to walk. There are several magnificent Wisteria vines, plumb and cherry trees with beautiful spring blossoms, maple trees to offer Autumn color and plenty of ducks, geese and other birds.

To get to the Temple from the center of town, walk straight out of the Keisei Line train station, walk straight past the bus station and turn right. You'll see a Macdonalds straight ahead which is on the main 'town square'. Continue down the main road [pictures from Andrew Weller] (Omotesando), which has a single vehicle lane in the middle, bordered on either side by two red foot traffic lanes. The street [another picture] winds down hill for about a kilometer. Where the road forks, stay right. You'll pass the Narita Tourist Pavilion, (worth a stop -- lots of brochures, maps, exhibits, free green tea, stuff for sale, etc.), just beyond which is the Temple. In the Fall, there are beautiful chrysanthemums (picture). The city also has frequent street festivals (picture).

Here's a slide show of a recent trip from the airport to Narita, lunch at an old noodle shop and a walk around Narita San temple: Narita, Japan

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Go Shopping - The streets leading from the center of town to the Temple are lined with all sorts of shops, including convenience stores, a neat hardware store, souvenir stalls, book shops, etc. (Many of these close early -- in the evening -- so get your shopping done before 5:00 pm.)

100 YEN Store. About halfway down Omotesando Street, there is a small 100 yen store. Things to consider: chopsticks, pottery such as rice bowls and sushi plates, package food such as nori and candy, and drinks. There is also a 100 Yen store between the Kensei Train Station and the JR Train Station.

Liquor Stores. You can find some different types of bottles of sake. They make for nice gifts. Expect to pay about 800 yen. However, be aware of the import restrictions of liquor of the country you are traveling to.

General Stores. There are several general stores that also sell gifts on Omotesando Street. There are several that sell sake sets that include a decorative sake bottle (empty) with matching cups. Expect to pay about 1100 yen for a set in the hardware store. They also sell general trinkets but with the exchange rate, these are rather pricey.

Food. If you are into interesting local fare, Omotesando Street is your place. You can buy anything from seahorse skeletons, to eels, to snail in what appears to be snot in a bag. I am afraid I have never been to brave to try these culinary delights. If you feel a little under the weather, you can even buy some leeches to put on your body!

Bakery. There are some nice bakeries in the area. My favorite is on the other side of the JR Train station (not the Kensei Train Station). Go through the JR station and you will see the bakery on the corner towards the right side as you exit the Station.

Ichiban Grocery. If you are looking to buy some basic foods (fruit, drinks, instant noodle soups, etc.), the Ichiban (no 1) grocery store is handily located near the Kensei Train Station. Exit the Station (away from old Narita town), go straight and on the right hand side you will see the grocery store on the corner.

Take a Tour - The Japan National Tourist Organization offers short tours from Narita International Airport.

There is a large department store called Jusco which is somewhat distant from the center of town. The easiest way to get to it is to go into the Keisei line station, through the tunnel that goes under the tracks, and out the East entrance. This lets you out in an outdoor commuter bus terminal with many raised walkways. Off to the left is a large, modern, Japanese-looking building which is the Narita City Hall. To the left (North) and on the same road as the City Hall, is the Jusco Department Store. (Many airport area excursion buses leave their passengers at Jusco.) Here's a picture of the view out the Keisei Line East entrance. You can also get to Jusco by continuing on the road past the temple until you reach a busy thoroughfare. You'll come out right at Jusco.

As reported by David Gulick, there is a new "grocery" store across the street from where Daiei (which no longer exists) is shown on the map. It is called Yaoko Marketplace and it is large and is a great place for some foods. There are many prepared foods available and an area at the front called a cafe. The cafe has a microwave and free green tea. The yakitori was good and definitely less expensive than others. My wife liked the bakery items they made too. We picked out yakitori and other items and then the bakery items and paid for everything at the bakery register which is right next to the "cafe".

LaOx, a well known electronics discount chain has a branch in Narita. No bargains, but offers an interesting look at the latest from Japan and does have a large duty-free selection.

Many area hotels have free or low priced shuttle buses to the Aeon shopping center. You can also get a bus there from the terminal near the Keisi Line main station. The buses are pink in color and cost 200 Yen, each way. The shopping center itself has dozens of small shops, a big Jusco department store, a large sporting goods store and more. You can also walk to Aeon from downtown Narita. Take a short cut through Narita-san temple.

There are several craft/art/stationery shops. One is next to the cigarette Cabin and one is down near the temple on the left hand side (after you have taken the right hand fork). They both have some beautiful examples of Japanese writing materials and are both inexpensive. Great for souvenirs. Noritake china is a bargain in both of the China shops at the moment as the Yen is so weak.

You can pretty much forget Duty Free shopping at the airport. Prices are high and the selection dismal. If you're travelling to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, you can purchase duty free liquor on arrival.

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Eat - Narita has a number of Japanese style coffee shops at which you can expect to spend about 350 Yen for a cup of coffee, no refills. These places often have 'morning set' specials during which you can get a cup of coffee along with a light breakfast. There are several rather uninspired places in front of the main Keisei Line station [picture]. There is a Kohikan on Omotesando about 1.5 blocks from the main square. According to B Lapson: "It has a wide selection of excellent coffee, from 300 to 700 yen and, before 11:00 AM you can have a plate of toast, ham, scrambled eggs and potato salad for only 200 yen more, i.e. 500 yen in all. The "Kohikan Blend" is outstanding coffee, far superior to anything at Starbucks, at 400 yen."

There is a Macdonalds, a Mister Donut, and some other fast food places in the center of town. The street leading to the Temple (Omotesando) has many good restaurants, including the world's greatest noodle shop [picture], eel restaurants, tempura shops, and Chinese food places. Many of the restaurants have English menus (but not the noodle shop).

Mike Wagner writes: "If you are looking for probably some of the best sushi in Japan I recomend Edokko Sushi. The main store is on omotesando, but they aren't always happy to have foreigners. The second store will welcome you though. If you know where the little orange bridge is just a stoes throw from the Keisei station you can find it. Cross the bridge heading towards the temple and the store will be on your right. They open for lunch at 11:30 and have a reasonalbly priced luch set, usually for under 1500 yen. It includes the sushi, miso soup, and usually a slice of melon for desert. If you like sushi you will love this place. If you still want more after the lunch set ask for the "shake skin roll" save it for last because it is out of this world. This creation is one that one of their chefs perfected when he was working in New York and brought it back to Japan."

The Jet Lag Club, located on Omotesando Street, opposite the internet cafe, has happy hour from 8:30 to 9:30 PM and again from Midnight to 1:00 AM. According to Victor Murray: "Jet Lag Club is run by a former Sabena crew member from Belgium and his Japanese wife. Great atmosphere, inexpensive and friendly." You can order food here which will be brought in from nearby restaurants. Jet Lag Club Logo

You can get a free cup of tea at the rest house just across from the main temple entrance. The rest house is warm in the winter and cool in the summer and everyone is welcome.

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Noodle Shop Ramen Bayashi is the name of a very popular noodle place that caters to foreigners. It is located in old Narita town. Leave the Keisei Train station and turn right outside the station. At the next block to your left, you see a bridge heading towards old Narita town. Go over the bridge, just before you dead end into Omotesando you will see the Noodle Shop Ramen Bayashi on your left. Expect to pay about 850 yen for a bowl of soup and 400 yen for goyaza (kinda like potstickers). They also sell beer. You will frequently find international flight crew personnel at this location. This restaurant now has a location on Omotesando right across from the Kohi-kan coffee shop.

The Easy Coffee Shop. A coffee shop is located across from the Noodle Shop. They advertise that they speak English.

The Bonn (spelling?) is a fixed price menu restaurant that is a little harder to find but well worth it. For about 1300 yen you get all the food you can eat. It serves goyaza, french fries, salad, noodles, terryaki chicken, etc. You can even watch them cook it. The restaurant is located of Omotesando just past the main Temple entrance. Leave the Keisei Train station and turn right outside the station. At the next block to your left, you see a bridge heading towards old Narita town. Go over the bridge. When the street dead ends, turn right. This is Omotesando. The sign will say Omotesando St. Keep walking by all the shops, the tourist Pavilion, the entrance to the temple on the left, some more shops, a major street to the right (Denshamichi Street) and then make a left turn into the side street called Higashisando Street (on a yellow sign). If you pass a large parking lot on your left, you went too far. Go back and turn into the Higashisando Street. The restaurant is at the end of the parking lot with an outside spiral case going up to the second level where the restaurant is located. Come early as it fills up fast.

The New World Indian Restaurant. If you are tired of local fare, try some Indian food. This restaurant is located halfway on Omotesando.

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What about night life in Narita?

I'm not much of a night owl, but there are the usual collection of bars, karaoke places, etc. in Narita City. Here are some suggestions from a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant who frequently transits through Narita.

Also, check out Bob Cummins Air Crew Layover page on Narita City.

Where can I change/get money?

You should change money before you leave the airport. It will be difficult and time consuming to try and change money at a bank in town. Businesses do not accept other than Japanese currency. Many businesses will not accept credit cards.

ATM's - Both airport terminals have ATM's on the arrival floor. Each has a VISA machine which will issue cash to PLUS system cards. The minimum amount is 10,000 Yen. CitiBank ATM's work with both Cirrus and Plus cards and will issue 1,000 Yen notes. There are also American Express cash machines which only issue 10,000 Yen notes.

Dick Karp reports: "This time I did a modest experiment, took money out of Citibank and the Plus ATM at Narita at (as close to) the same time as possible to check exchange rates -- the exchange rate was virtually identical, less than 10 yen difference in $200. So based on one experiment: if you can use more than one ATM, pick the one with the shortest line.

"Also, all post office ATMs in Japan -- all 25,000 of them -- now take foreign ATM cards with the PLUS symbol. Hurrah! Be sure to touch the screen part labeled "English guide" at the very beginning or you will have no hope of making it thru the transaction." (Other ATM's in Japan do not accept cards issued outside of Japan.)

Ganesh Prasanna reports: "For foreign exchange, I found one useful place on 7 floor of Daimaru Department Store at Tokyo main station (east exit, sorry I forgot the name of the exit...). They open even Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays! No more cashless crash in Japan!"

Banks - Several banks operate currency exchange booths in the arrivals area. If you are going to exchange cash or TC's, do it here. The exchange rates are uniform, so don't worry about getting ripped off.

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Where can I leave my luggage?

If you were unable to check your bags through, there are two options, aside from lugging them around with you: Bag Delivery (to your hotel) and Bag Storage.

Bag Delivery - There are two bag storage/delivery places in the arrival lobby, at opposite far ends of the lobby. They are operated by several companies: ABC Company Ltd., Kamataki Unyu Co. Ltd., Airport Ground Service (AGS), Sky Porter, and Green Port Agency (GPA). This is not that relevant, as they basically perform the same task and they are identified in the lobby just with generic signs. Ask the TIC counter for location if having difficulty finding them. Charge is Yen 2,000 per bag (30 Kilo).

Bag Storage - Bag storage at the Terminal is possible and provided by companies operating desks/counters at the far ends of the lobby. They are the same people who do the delivery. They are well marked with signs having universal symbols and/or generic English wording. Charge is 500 Yen per piece (large suitcases are 1000 Yen) per day. (Per day means if you leave it and pick it up on the same day.) Pay when you retrieve your bags.

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How much will it cost?

Airport Tax - This is now included in the price of tickets. You no longer have to buy a Passenger Service Facilities Charge -- PSFC -- ticket at the airport.

Food - A cheap restaurant meal of a bowl of noodles, a simple plate of tempura, or some delicious barbecued eel will cost anywhere from a low of 600 Yen (plain soba noodles) to about 2000 Yen (tempura set plate).

Drink - A large bottle of beer will cost about 600 Yen in a restaurant. Soft drinks run about 400 Yen. Japanese green tea is free. A cup of coffee in a coffee shop is about 350 Yen. Vending machines sell cans of soft drinks and coffee for 120 Yen, and cans of beer for 250 Yen.

(You can also get snacks and drinks at the many convenience stores that pepper Japan. These include '7-11', 'AM/PM Minimart' and others. Costs are similar to vending machine prices.)

Transport - A one-way train ticket from the airport to Narita costs between 190 and 250 Yen depending on departure point and railway company. A bus costs about 350.

Hotel - If you must rent a hotel, you will spend a minimum of about 5000 Yen per person.

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Where can I stay?

The only hotel right at the airport is the Narita Guest House, an uninspired and expensive place. Here's a list of a few hotels in Narita City and the airport area.

Jussi Turunen's site, Tokyo Cheap Hotels, has a page with hotels in Narita.

The Kirinoya Inn is an excellent place to stay in Narita city and is not far from the temple and the public bath. Although not much to look at from the outside, it is a very traditional Japanese inn on the inside, with tatami in all the rooms (picture) and an o-furo in the bath. The owner is interested in Samurai history and has on display many antiques. You can get a single room there for 5000 Yen. It's not an easy place to find. From the airport, take the Keisei line to Narita-shi. If you're good with maps, get one at one of the tourist information booths and ask them how to walk to the Inn. Or, take a taxi from the train station. If you call in advance, they may be able to pick you up at the train station. The distance from the station to the inn is about 1.2 kilometers (a bit less than a mile). The inn serves very nice meals and is next door to a convenience store which carries a good variety of discount priced beer and liquor. Although the proprietor speaks some English, the rest of the staff speaks only Japanese. Kirinoya Inn
Kiyokazu Katsumata, Proprietor
58 Tamachi, Narita-Shi
Chiba-Ken, Japan 286
Tel: + (81) 476-22-0724
FAX: + (81) 476-22-1245
Kirinoya Web Page
E-Mail : kirinoya@cameo.plala.or.jp

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An option for budget travelers is Backpackers Fuji, which offers hostel-style rooms for under 3000 Yen. It's about a ten minute walk from the Keisei Narita station, not far from Jusco Department Store. Several readers have written in to praise this hostel as being "gorgeous", "super friendly" and "fresh".

Several people have recommended The Azure Guesthouse, a dormatory style guest house with reasonable rates. It is a short walk from the train stations and has plenty of shops and restaurants nearby. Their web site is very informative. Several contributors have noted how clean and quiet the place is and how friendly and helpful the owner is.

There are a number of very dull hotels on the highway in the immediate area of the airport. You may be able to get a deal through a travel agent at places like the Holiday Inn. The Narita View Hotel charges 6000 Yen plus 18% tax and service charge for a single, but nearly twice that for two persons in the same room. Rooms at the Narita View Hotel can be reserved through the following telephone number in the United States: (800) 447-7462. The only thing to recommend the Narita View is the price of a single room. It is not a very nice hotel, the food is expensive and not so good. There is nothing to do, no place to walk to in this area. However, most of the hotels in the vicinity have free shuttles both to Narita City and to the airport.

Here's a link with contact information for some of the western style hotels in the Narita area.

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Olivia Bennet reports that it is possible to stay in the airport: "I actually already had my layover there, and stayed in the airport overnight. The security people ushered the dozen or so of us to a corner of the airport and took our passport numbers, but it was no problem staying overnight."

If you're flying Northwest or KLM on a paid ticket, and have a forced layover, they'll put you up at the Radisson, formerly Narita International. This is a first class hotel in an interesting area. Meal vouchers are provided for Northwest and KLM passengers.

Layovers with JAL will be put up at the Hotel Nikko Narita, five minutes from the airport with half-hourly shuttle. The hotel offers a fine buffet breakfast (voucher included for those flying JAL). Published rates are 24,000 Yen for a double room and 1,700 Yen for breakfast. (Info from John Hillman).

David Loutzenheiser reports: "I stayed at the Narita Kikusui Hotel located roughly across from the Jusco in Narita. It was quite nice, with a buffet breakfast and most of the staff speak english. I'm not sure the price as I was with a group at the time. But the location is an easy walking distance to Naritasan Koen and the temple et al as well as convenient to both JR and Keisai stations."

Peter Morgan adds: " I just wanted to endorse the Narita Kikusui Hotel as a good one to stay.╩ They are on the web via google -╩ 5200yen/night, if you can book╩directly on the╩Japanese web page, otherwise about 5,600yen via travel agent in English.╩ Good buffet breakfast at 630yen.╩ Free shuttle to and from the airport at the usual hotel shuttle stop."

George Bailey reports: "If you're a traveller with JAL and therefore being put up at the Nikko, you get a free breakfast but no free dinner, which can be expensive if you eat in the hotel. The best solution for a cheap meal to be eaten in the Nikko is, when you arrive, head for *departures* and buy snack food there, where you'll find a much greater variety of food and better prices, then head back to arrivals for the courtesy bus."

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Rendell Davis suggests: "Perhaps the best choice in Narita for the single traveler is to book a room at the Narita Station Hotel through a JNTO Tourist Information Center ("TIC"), such as the TIC in Narita Airport Terminal 2. Although the rack rate at the Narita Station Hotel is 12,000 yen, the rate is presently only 5,000 yen (all-inclusive) if booked through a TIC. Not only does this hotel have a great location in Narita (only one block west of JR Narita Station), but also it provides free airport pick-up and drop-off. I found the hotel staff very friendly. The only downside is that, as with any Japanese "business hotel," the rooms are very cramped by Western standards. Nevertheless, each room in the hotel has all necessary amenities, including bath, TV, refrigerator, and AC (with individually-adjustable thermostat). The TIC rate here for a double room is 10,000 yen per night, which does not appear to be a very good a deal."

Ganesh Prasanna reports on an inexpensive and easy-to-get-to place to stay in Asakusa, Tokyo: "Asakusa, which is a walking distance from Keisei Ueno or JR Ueno station, has re-opened Japanese Inn called Taito Ryokan. Good location, very Japanese traditional style, friendly atmosphere and very reasonable price compare to other Ryokans in downtown Tokyo. It did cost me only JPY3,000 a night, even including tax. Bathroom and toilet are in common use, but clean and well operated by friendly Japanese manager who speaks excellent English and Mandarine (I could not proove how good, but I heard his conversation with Taiwanese traveler who stayed at Taito Ryokan same time I stayed). People who is coming to Japan should check following web site for more detail, I guess. www.libertyhouse.gr.jp/"

Another possibility is to stay at one of the 'Love Hotels' that seem to dot the landscape all over Japan. These places generally rent rooms for short periods during the day and early evening to those needing a private place for a liaison. They have a short time ('rest') rate for these transactions. They also have 'stay' rates for those wishing to spend the night. This runs about 3500 Yen. These places can usually be recognized by their gaudy exteriors and discrete parking. The rooms are often equipped with interesting decor for those with special needs or desires. There are a number of Love Hotels on the highway leading to Narita airport and in the vicinity of Narita City. You might try asking an airport taxi to take you to a "Love Hotel".

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Where can I take a shower?

Both terminals now have 'Day and Shower' rooms where you can take a shower for 500 Yen for 30 minutes, or get a day room for 1000 Yen per hour. The shower rooms are tiny, but fully equipped. Bring your own razor and toothbrush. For more information, see the "Day and Shower Room" section of the Narita Airport Web page.

What about Internet access?

There is a small internet access point on the main road in Narita (Omote-san-do - the one that leads from the city center down to the temple). This is on the right side as you are going down, not far from the "Flyer's Lounge".

Within the airport wireless access is now available almost everywhere. However, to actually use it to access the public Internet you need an ISP. If you haven't signed up in advance you can sign up online with a provider like BizPortal, which charges 500 yen for 24 hours.

If you don't have a wireless card, you can find wired access point (you still need an ISP) For official airport information see Wireless and Cable LAN access.

From Widya Santoso

For Internet access beyond Customs at the outgoing terminals, Yahoo.jp has a room with terminals set up that are free to use. A USB key is used to start access going. Note though that conditions expressely forbid the use of any other USB devices (such as USB hubs, flash memory, mobile phone chargers, etc.) and they appear to be pretty vigilant in monitoring proper use of the terminals.

John Rushby reports:

"You can make a free call to the Tokyo or Narita POP of any worldwide ISP (e.g., ibmnet, EUnet, IPASS) from the United Red Carpet Club. I used ibmnet (actually now owned by ATT) while in transit the other week. I couldn't get EUnet, who mostly use IPASS in Asia) to work for some reason, despite using them without problems in Beijing throughout the previous week."

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You may be able to make the call to the Tokyo POP's of one of these services from other airline lounges or from public phones as well. The access number for AOL is 32-7850.

Can I rent a mobile (cell) phone?

There are a number of companies that rent mobile phones to travelers and tourists. Many let you apply on-line and then pick up the phone at the airport when you arrive. Some of these companies are:

JAL ABC Rental Phone

JBS Communications

Telecom Square

Sony Finance International

The cost seems to range from about 600 Yen to 900 Yen a day. Domestic calls cast about 120 Yen a minute. International calls cost about 250 Yen a minute. In other words, this isn't cheap!

How do I get around?

Train to Narita - The easiest way to get from the airport into Narita is by train. The Keisei line has frequent trains from the basement of both terminals into Narita. The cost is about 250 Yen. You can buy your ticket from the ticket booth or from the ticket machines. Going in to town the trains begin at Terminal 1, stop at Terminal 2 and then Narita town. Coming back, make sure you get a train from Narita town to the airport terminals. Some trains from Narita go only to 'Higashi Narita' (East Narita), an airport stop for airport employees, not travelers.

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Bus to Narita - There is also bus service between Narita and the airport. Enter the bus through the front door and take a paper ticket from the machine. The number on the ticket tells where you boarded the bus. A number board on the front of the bus tells how much you'll have to pay if you get off at the current stop. You must use exact change. However, most bus fare machines will change a 1000 Yen note. (Remember that after you put in the note you will get 1000 Yen in change. You still have to pay for the ride from that change.) Buses can be crowded with commuters and school students and confusing for the uninitiated.

Trains and Buses to Tokyo and Elsewhere -

For detailed information about express (somewhat expensive) trains and buses into Tokyo and environs, click here for info from J Sachs.

For more information on the train system and a different view on trains from the airport into Tokyo and environs, click here for info from Ken Heard.

Some useful rail links from Widya Santoso: Here's a link to the greater Tokyo JR network (PDF file), which includes the lines to Narita. This link allows one to calculate the schedule and fares between two stations.

Widya also reports that JR East is now offering a special Suica + Narita Express fare. For 3500 Yen you get a one way ticket from Narita to Tokyo plus a 2000 Yen Suica card which you can use for transportation and some purchases withing metropolitan Tokyo. "Basically for just Y500 more of the price of a standard N'EX ticket you get the same ticket for Y1500 and a Suica card with Y1500 credit (and Y500 deposit fee). This can only be purchased from the JR Offices (where one goes to have JR Pass vouchers redeemed) at Airport Terminal 1 and 2."

Tip: if you have a JR Rail Pass voucher to validate and are also interested in purchasing the Suica/N'EX fare and plan to travel within Tokyo using the Suica card on the date you land at Narita, when validating your pass be sure to ensure that your pass is validated for the next day, not the date you purchase/use the Suica/N'EX fare. If you purchase the Suica/N'EX fare and validate your JR Pass for the date you land you use up a day of the pass. You also get an 'extra' day out of the pass by not using it to travel from Narita to Tokyo.

Of course, if you are going to use the pass to travel elsewhere within Japan or you don't plan to purchase the Suica/N'EX fare, validate the JR Pass from the date you land.

For information on getting to Haneda (domestic) airport, look here.

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What about the departure (PSFC) tax?

The PSFC (airport departure tax) is paid as part of the ticket price. Exemptions to the PSFC include:

  1. Infants under 2 years of age regardless of occupying a seat or not.
  2. Transit/transfer passengers to and from intl flights within the same calendar day. (The charge is not appli- cable even if passengers have entered the territory of Japan through customs and immigration area if a sche- duled arrival of incoming flight at Narita/Fukuoka/ Nagoya airports and a scheduled departure of outgoing international flights from Narita/Fukuoka/Nagoya airports are within the same calendar day).
  3. National guests of foreign nations and accompanying personnel.
  4. Persons evicted/denied landing in Japan by Imigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law (LAS No. 319 of 10/04/51).
  5. Passengers of a flight that has its departure delayed to the next day of thereafter due to involuntary rea- sons. E.G. Technical problems / weather conditions / etc.

Your airline may complete and ask you to sign the exemption form so that they don't have to pay the tax on your behalf.

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Checking in for the onward flight.

Narita can be an extremely busy airport. If you are flying tourist (coach) class, you ought to get back to the airport a couple of hours before departure time. (They say three or four, but this is not necessary. If you are delayed at any stage of the process you will be whisked on through.) After checking in, the next long wait is for Immigration. Again, bring a book or magazine (or a couple of cans of beer). If you are delayed and in danger of delaying the flight, they will look for you and zoom you on through, so don't worry too much. (This is because if they don't find you, they must find your checked bags and remove them from the plane. Unless you are dead or an actual terrorist who has flown the coop, finding you is generally the easier task. So, go ahead and have another six dollar beer. After all, the Singha in Bangkok is only eighty cents a bottle....)

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Where can I get more information?

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