Normally when I fly to mainland Japan I fly through Haneda airport. This time I flew to Narita to meet up with my baby sister. I was originally not looking forward to flying here because it is so far outside of Tokyo but was pleasantly surprised! Yes, the airport is really far away from downtown Tokyo, but there are a lot of ways to make it more enjoyable, especially if you have a layover, a delayed flight, or need to be at the airport early.
- Visit the Shisui Premium Outlets. For just ¥350 (each way) a shuttle will take you from the airport to the mall. The mall itself is large and beautiful with stores to suit all tastes and budgets. It’s a great way to spend a layover or to enjoy an evening when other area attractions have already closed. They also have a food court, lockers, and a money exchange.
- Get your capsule hotel experience. Chances are if you’ve researched accommodations in Japan, you’ve heard of the capsule hotels. They are basically a tiny pod that is big enough for one person to sleep in, and that’s it. At the Narita airport they have the Nine Hours capsule hotel that is perfect for those early morning flights, long layovers, or just to get the experience. Not only can you pay by the hour, but you can also use their shower facilities. And don’t worry if your toiletries are in your checked bags. You can purchase whatever you need from the hotel for a reasonable price.
- Refresh and relax. When you think of an airport, relaxing is probably not the first word to comes to mind, which is why the services available at the airport are genius. There are beauty salons and barber shops, nail salons, and shower and nap rooms. You can also use a massage chair or if your body needs a little more attention, you can schedule an appointment for reflexology or a massage with Raffin.
- Try new cuisine. It’s no secret that new foods intimidate me. The great thing about the restaurants in the airport is that they feel much more approachable. You can choose from Chinese, Japanese, ramen and pasta, or something a little more familiar. If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal, some places even offer a light snack option. Or you can stop at one of the little shops and pick up authentic Japanese confectionary.
- Shop for souvenirs. Unlike most airports, the souvenirs you can pick up here don’t feel touristy. You can browse through traditional items such as hand fans and handkerchiefs or look for something different such as unique Japanese and travel inspired stickers.