Narita International Airport is the main airport for Tokyo and for most of the international flight traffic to and from Japan. The airport is located in the city of Narita, 60 kilometres east of central Tokyo. This is a very busy airport which handles as much as 36 million passenger per year. A busy airport like this can be a little daunting if it’s your first time here. Here are a few tips on how to navigate arrivals and departures.
Arriving at Narita
There are two terminals at Narita International Airport, and the one you arrive at depends on which airline you are flying with; international flight traffic is distributed between both terminals. Terminal 1 is a V shape, and Terminal 2 is a long building with a parallel satellite building which is linked by shuttle bus to the main building.
If you are arriving at Narita, the procedure is pretty normal. You proceed through immigration and passport control, and then head downstairs to baggage claim. You must submit a Customs declaration form which details what you are bringing into Japan, including gifts. If you have not exceeded the duty-free allowance, you can go to the Green Counter. If you have to declare goods for Customs inspection, you go to the Red Counter. Once you clear Customs, you can enter the main lobby and proceed to the buses, taxis or trains.
Departing from Narita
Departure is a fairly straight forward process. The Departure Lobby is located on the 4th floor of Terminal 1, and the 3rd floor in Terminal 2. Check-in as you do in any airport, and you will receive your boarding card. Security procedures will be familiar to anyone who has travelled by air in recent years. You don’t have to worry about clearing Customs on departure unless you are carrying large sums of cash. From the Security and Customs area, you can proceed to Passport Control, and then onward to your Boarding Gate.
Narita International Airport is very well connected to Tokyo and the surrounding cities. The easiest and most direct option is to take the Limousine Bus. These buses will take you right to your hotel doorstep, and when you’re ready to leave, they will pick you up again. The next best alternative are the Express Trains which will take you directly in to central Tokyo.
There are several excellent hotels within easy reach of the airport. One I can recommend is the Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport Hotel. This hotel is located right at the airport, and is surprisingly affordable – especially if you book your room in advance. Another great hotel is the Hotel Nikko Narita, also located right at the airport. As with the Hilton, book your room well in advance to get the best prices.