There’s more to do than just board a flight at Narita Airport – this world-class airport is full of restaurants, great shops, and useful services to make your travels that much smoother. Here’s everything you can do with a few extra hours in the airport.
A sign for Terminal 1 from the observation deck. - image © Florentyna Leow
Narita Airport Guide Overview
There are two schools of thought when it comes to boarding a flight: dashing through the gates just in time, or arriving well ahead of time. We belong in the latter camp. Why endure all the extra stress of potentially missing your flight? Luckily, Narita Airport has no shortage of great food and retail options to make your pre-flight hours as pleasant as possible – so much so that you’ll seriously consider arriving at Narita as early as possible!
There’s a lot you can do at Narita Airport besides rushing through security to hop on a plane. What’s important to remember is that everything worth eating and doing is located in Terminals 1 and 2 – there’s very little of consequence in Terminal 3.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to Narita Airport. Here’s what it covers:
- Getting to Narita Airport
- What to Eat in Narita Airport
- Shopping in Narita Airport
- Useful things to do in Narita Airport
- Fun things to do in Narita Airport
- Narita Airport Area Map
- Recommended Accommodation for Narita Airport
All the places mentioned in this article are shown on our comprehensive Narita Airport Area map at the end of this article.
Keisei Skyliner ticket counter. - image © Florentyna Leow
Finally, if you’re arriving at Narita Airport and just want a quick guide to getting sorted and getting through the airport, check out our Arriving at Narita Airport page.
Getting to Narita Airport International Terminal
Strictly speaking, Narita Airport is located in Chiba prefecture, rather than Tokyo proper. It’s a sprawling international airport but it is also very clearly the less convenient option for Tokyo flights, now that Haneda Airport is once again handling some international flights. Still, many travellers will end up departing from and arriving at Narita Airport as there are more international connections here.
If you’re taking public transportation, you can get here by limousine bus (various locations; but about an hour from Tokyo Station) or train (the Keisei Skyliner and the Narita Express are both good options).
The fastest option will depend on exactly where you’re staying, but the Narita Express does stop by more major stations, including Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Tokyo Station. Check out our guide to airport transport for more.
A bright yellow bus. - image © Florentyna Leow
Traveling Between Terminals
You might find yourself needing to transfer between terminals for connecting flights – or you might just want to check out a restaurant in a different terminal. Head to the first floor (arrivals) of whichever terminal you’re in, and find the signs to the free shuttle bus service. You’re looking for a bright yellow bus. Depending on your destination, it’s anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes between stops.
Entrance to the airport mall on the 4th floor of Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
What to Eat at Narita Airport
Airports aren’t exactly known for good food, but Narita Airport dispels every stereotype there. Restaurants here are decent to good, and there’s a wide variety of mostly-Japanese fare. There’s tempura, yakiniku, tonkatsu, sushi, ramen, and soba, but also Chinese and Western options. What we’ve mentioned below just scratches the surface. Food at Narita Airport is also similarly priced to what you’ll pay for a meal in central Tokyo – you’re not going to get stiffed too much.
The most important thing to remember is that most eating options are concentrated in Terminals 1 & 2. Terminal 3 does have a more casual food court. The eating options in Terminal 1’s airport mall on the 4th floor are slightly more varied and high-quality. In general, wherever you are, we recommend eating a square meal before security to tide you over before your flight.
Tsukiji Sushiko in Terminal 2. - image © Florentyna Leow
So long, and thanks for all the fish
Yes, you can squeeze in one last sushi meal before you leave Tokyo! Or multiple sushi meals – we’re not judging. Narita Airport has a handful of sushi restaurants across the two terminals. Depending on how much you want to fork out, you can have a quick and casual meal, or a longer, fancier sit-down affair.
Whether it’s the cheap and cheerful revolving sushi bar Ganso Sushi (Terminal 2), the Narita outpost of beloved Tsukiji standby Sushi Iwa (Terminal 1), equally tasty competitor shop Tsukiji Sushiko (Terminal 2), or Sushi Misakimaru where you order off an iPad (Terminal 2), you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to eating sushi at Narita Airport.
The entrance to T’s TanTan. - image © Florentyna Leow
Go green, eat vegan
Vegetarians and vegans aren’t catered to much in Japan – at least, that’s how it used to be. It’s still tricky, but things have improved: there’s now a fully vegan restaurant in Narita Airport! Head over to T’s TanTan in Terminal 2 for a delicious, animal-free spread. Whether you have the ramen, soy beef, gyoza, or spring rolls, plant-based folks won’t have to go hungry at Narita Airport ever again.
The entrance to a soba shop in Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Slurp some noodles
Not only is ramen a great way to fill up before your flight, you’ll probably sleep way better on the plane for it. Slurp your way through Tomita’s hearty tsukemen – ramen noodles with dipping broth – or Chinese-style noodles. Whichever you order, you’ll probably stumble out of the restaurant full but happy. It’ll be a fast meal – turnover at ramen joints is fairly quick – but you should still budget a little time before you go through security. Tomita is located in the 4th floor airport mall in Terminal 1.
If ramen doesn’t float your boat, there’s Nagasaka Sarashina Nunoya Tabey right opposite. This restaurant with a mouthful of a name does great soba – we like the nishoku tempura seiro, comprising two different styles of soba noodles with deep-fried and battered prawns and vegetables on the side.
The tonkatsu pork loin set at Saboten in Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Snarf a plate of tonkatsu
Who doesn’t like a juicy pork loin cutlet coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried? A meal at Saboten in Terminal 1 is straightforward and uncomplicated – decent tonkatsu set meals at relatively reasonable prices. It’s not dirt cheap, but the cost-performance is good. If you’re ordering the extra-large cutlet, they’ll need some extra time to fry it up.
Starbucks in Terminal 2. - image © Florentyna Leow
Narita Airport does not have great coffee – third-wave connoisseurs, you’re out of luck – but it does at least have several places to get your caffeine fix right off the plane. Head over to one of several Starbucks (Terminals 1 & 2; you can also pick up some Japan-only mugs and tumblers), Tully’s (Terminals 1 & 2), or Cafe de Crie (Terminal 2, but it’s also buried in the arse end of 2F).
Dean & Deluca’s cafe space. - image © Florentyna Leow
Our favourite place might be Dean & Deluca’s in Terminal 1’s airport mall on the 4th floor. The coffee is so-so, but they have decent food options to go with it, stylish surroundings, power outlets, and WiFi. Great for catching up on work.
The only bubble tea place in Narita – for now. - image © Florentyna Leow
Find your boba bae
There’s a worldwide bubble tea renaissance, and Japan is jumping on the bandwagon like lemmings leaping off a cliff. Even the yakuza are joining in! All this is to say that you can grab your boba fix at Gong Cha in Terminal 1. It’s decent rather than great, but it will tide you over until you’re back in the city.
Escalators leading to the shopping and dining area in Terminal 2. - image © Florentyna Leow
Shopping in Narita Airport
Narita Airport has excellent duty-free shopping, mostly concentrated in Terminals 1 and 2. In general, the retail therapy options are great – you can find all kinds of esoteric things, like power stone bracelets, stickers, soft toys, electronics, and Japanese kimono jackets. Terminal 1’s airport mall on the 4th floor has an excellent range of shops. Terminal 2’s 4th floor isn’t too shabby either, and they have an Issey Miyake outlet to boot.
A KitKat display at one of the airport shops. - image © Florentyna Leow
Pick up Japanese Kit-Kats, candies, and cookie sandwiches
Last-minute shoppers, never fear – you can still pick up fun-flavoured Kit Kats at the airport! Several retail outlets around Terminals 1 and 2 stock boxes of these chocolate-covered wafers. You’ll find flavours like plum wine, sake, Hokkaido melon, peach, grape, and Tokyo Banana. It goes without saying that they make excellent souvenirs.
Boxes upon boxes of N.Y.C. Sand. - image © Florentyna Leow
Of all the tempting boxes of cookies and candies you’ll see wandering around the mall, we particularly love the Press Butter Sand and N.Y.C. Sand shops in Terminal 2. That’s “cookie sandwich” rather than grains on a beach, and down in central Tokyo, there are endless queues in department store stands for these two cookies.
Press Butter Sand consists of buttery shortbread filled with buttercream and caramel; N.Y.C. Sand – not actually from New York – consists of two sable butter cookies sandwiched together with caramel, butterscotch, or butterscotch and chocolate. Yes, it’s tough to decide which we like better. Swipe a few boxes for your friends and colleagues; you’re almost guaranteed to be their favourite person in the immediate future.
Outside Kuze Fuku & Co. - image © Florentyna Leow
Explore regional Japanese snacks
You might not have time to travel around Japan just to eat, but you can at least sample your way through regional snacks in one place. Kuze Fuku & Co. in Terminal 1 specialises in regional Japanese snacks – think dried foods, crackers, tea, jams, and the like.
There’s an entire shelf of seaweeds – we bet you never knew so many different edible sorts existed – and even more of rice crackers flavoured with everything from miso to garlic. Vacuum-sealed charcoal-grilled chicken and soy-sauce marinated eggs for snacking? Palm-sized pots of jam in peach, fig, and strawberry? It’s all here, and you can sample quite a few of them too. Best of all, everything is lightweight and comes in travel-friendly packaging.
Tea display at Fukujuen, Terminal 2. - image © Florentyna Leow
Kit yourself out for Japanese tea ceremony
Calling all tea drinkers! If you forgot to pick up some tea while you were exploring Tokyo, fret not. Kyoto-based tea purveyor Fukujuen in Terminal 2 has you covered. Choose from all kinds of high-quality loose-leaf green teas here – perfect for that tea aficionado in your life. And, if you’re curious about what they drink in tea ceremony, pick up a canister of matcha and a bamboo whisk to go along with it.
A window display of books at Kaizosha Bookstore. - image © Florentyna Leow
Read a book or two
Not everyone enjoys watching movies on a plane. Swing by the airport bookstore and swipe some books for your long-haul flight! Kaizosha-Shoten on the 4th floor of Terminal 2 stocks a very decent range of English-language books from the latest fiction bestsellers to light reads. You’ll find many Murakami novels, as well as plenty of John Grisham, Danielle Steele, Jodi Picoult, Sophie Kinsella, and Anne Tyler.
If light reads don’t float your boat, they also stock a good range of Japan-related books, ranging from yakuza memoirs to Japanese garden primers to introductions to samurai culture.
A store full of blue things. - image © Florentyna Leow
Learn the blues
Or at least try them on. If your love for the colour blue intersects with a love for Japanese craft and tradition, Blue Blue Japan in Terminal 1 is the shop to visit. They stock a wide range of high-quality, indigo hand-dyed wearable items. Jackets, T-shirts, sandals, bags, accessories – this shop has it all.
Pens, hats, tape, and notebooks on display at itoya. - image © Florentyna Leow
Stock up on stationery
Nothing quite compares to visiting their main 12-storey outlet in Ginza, but stationery buffs – and everyone else – will enjoy browsing the Narita branch of Itoya in Terminal 2. It’s a distinctly writing utensil-focused selection of products here. Test out all the rainbow-coloured pens near the entrance, or browse an entire wall covered in fountain pens from the affordable to the hideously expensive. You might even walk away with a few rolls of beautifully-patterned washi masking tape!
A great resource to start journaling. - image © Florentyna Leow
Journallers in transit will also love that there’s a Traveler’s Factory outpost in Terminal 1. They stock all their signature journals, notebooks, and other stationery to get your creative juices flowing. Making travel memories has never been easier or more stylish.
Phone cases at Iwakura. - image © Florentyna Leow
Replace your phone case
There are quite a few shops in Narita Airport selling phone cases. None are as stylish or as eye-catching as the ones at Iwakura in Terminal 1. With bright, beautiful Japanese motifs printed onto quality materials, scrabbling for your phone inside your bag just became a lot easier. Think of all the compliments you’ll get, too!
Outside Muji to Go in Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Load up on travel essentials
You can try to plan for everything and still forget things. Whether it’s chargers, adapters, extra USB cables, luggage straps, neck pillows, or TSA-friendly locks, shops in Narita Airport have you covered. We particularly love Muji to Go (Terminals 1 & 2) and Travel Shop Milesto (Terminal 2) – their products are both functional and super stylish. They’re also great for when you want to swap out your suitcase, or buy a few extra to cram in all the souvenirs you just bought at the airport.
Boxes of eye masks! - image © Florentyna Leow
Is an eye mask a travel essential? We think so. Muji to Go has great cloth eye masks, but we also love these single-use eye masks. They heat up after you open a pack and slip them over your eyes. They also smell great – choose from rose, yuzu, chamomile, or lavender-scented ones. Falling asleep on a plane has never been more comfortable. Pick them up at any larger drugstore in the airport, such as Fit Drug in Terminal 1.
Adorable stickers for sale at Stylish Travel. - image © Florentyna Leow
Pick up some cool stickers for your suitcase
B-Side Label stickers are the cutest. They’re great souvenirs – lightweight and very Japanese – and they’re also excellent decorations for your suitcase or boring phone covers. Find them at the Stylish Travel outlets in Terminals 1 and 2.
The shower rooms at Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Useful things to do in Narita Airport
Take a shower
Everyone just wants to get clean coming off a long-haul flight – right? If you have a short layover at Narita Airport without an airport stay, a quick shower is just the ticket for recovering from a double-digit-hour flight.
In Terminal 1, showers are conveniently located before passport control on the second floor. There are also shower facilities after passport control on the third floor. A half-hour session costs JPY1030, and JPY520 per 15-minute extension. They provide towels, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and hair dryers. Terminal 2 only has shower facilities after passport control.
Note that shower room facilities across Narita Airport close at 9:00pm, however, so those arriving later than that are out of luck.
Of course, if you have free lounge access between flights, you won’t need to use these particular showers – just head over to your lounge.
This one is near the Keisei Skyliner station gates. - image © Florentyna Leow
Pick up some pocket WiFi or a data SIM
One of the most useful things you can do before heading out to explore Japan is picking up some pocket WiFi. You can do this right at the airport. Outlets like KDDI au, Mobile Center, and Softbank Global Rental are your best bets for picking up data SIMs on the day.
However, if you prefer planning ahead, a good option is to order a WiFi device online. It’s super easy to arrange this beforehand and you’ll only have to pick it up at the airport on arrival. Check out our guide on How To Buy a SIM Card in Tokyo for more.
The post office at Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Post a letter or package
Whether it’s a last-minute postcard to a friend or the pocket WiFi router that needs returning, you’ll need to drop everything off before going through security. Head over to the post office on the 4th floor of Terminal 1 or 3rd floor of Terminal 2 to finish up all your postal errands. Be warned, Terminal 3 doesn’t have any postal services – not even a postal box!
Two of many baggage delivery service counters in Narita Airport. - image © Florentyna Leow
Send your luggage to your hotel
Don’t be that person dragging your massive suitcase up narrow staircases and on crowded trains all over Japan. Save yourself the hassle and send it to your hotel instead! Japanese luggage forwarding services are efficient, timely, and pretty much always arrive where they’re supposed to. It’ll cost you under JPY2000 per medium-sized suitcase, but the freedom of walking around unencumbered is priceless.
Several companies like JAL ABC and Yamato operate baggage delivery services in the Narita Airport terminals. You’ll find them on the departures hall and arrivals hall level in Terminals 1 and 2.
One of the manned counters in Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Store your baggage
If you’re going on a day trip out of Narita, it’s best to stash any excess baggage somewhere at the airport. Those with backpacks or carry-on suitcases may want to consider using the coin lockers. You’ll find them on the Departures floor for Terminals 1 and 2; and on the second floor in Terminal 3. You can expect to pay about JPY500 to store a large suitcase for a day.
Alternatively, you can leave your stuff at a manned baggage storage counter. You’ll find these in both the arrivals and departures halls – pick one that’s convenient for you. Prices will vary by the size of your suitcase. Bear in mind that manned baggage storage services are only available in Terminals 1 and 2.
Riat! is located near the Keisei Skyliner station gates. - image © Florentyna Leow
Fix your suitcase – or your shoes
If you’ve ever lugged a broken-wheeled suitcase across cobblestones or rough pavements, you know exactly what a drag it can be on your holiday. Head over to the Riat! stand near the Keisei station gates to have your suitcase wheel replaced. It’ll set you back around JPY2500 per wheel, and take approximately 10 minutes. Riat! also does key copying and shoe repair – very handy and versatile.
A currency exchange counter in Terminal 2. - image © Florentyna Leow
Exchange some money
As a rule of thumb, one should probably never exchange cash at airports – rates tend to be mildly extortionate. But if you’re in a pinch, there are quite a few places where you can swap out one currency for another. These are mostly located in the departures and arrivals halls of Terminals 1 & 2. If you have time, compare rates across them to see which one will give you the best deal that day.
Seven Bank ATMs. - image © Florentyna Leow
Withdraw some cash
Alternatively, if you need some yen, just head over to the Seven Bank ATMs. You can’t miss the signs! They take international cards.
Pick up some travel insurance
If you don’t have travel insurance, you should probably buy some online. We usually suggest World Nomads. [LINK?] But if you’re a Japan resident and speak fluent Japanese, you might choose to buy yours at either of the Japanese insurance counters in the departures hall. These are Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, AIG, and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. respectively.
USB cables not included. - image © Florentyna Leow
Charge your electronic devices
No one really likes carrying extra battery packs. There are a number of tables equipped with power sockets and USB charging points around Terminals 1 & 2. You’ll see harried businesspeople in transit tapping away at their laptops at these desks!
Water fountains! - image © Florentyna Leow
Fill up your water bottle
You can’t do this at all airports, so it’s a real blessing when you can. Narita Airport has water fountains across its terminals – perfect for avoiding all that plastic in bottled water. As a rule of thumb, tap water in Japan is generally potable.
The entrance to Pet inn ROYAL. - image © Florentyna Leow
Pop your pet in a hotel
You read that right. If you’re travelling but need someone to take care of your pet dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, or hamster, Pet inn ROYAL in the basement of the Terminal 2 Multistory Car Park building is there to assist. They’ll not only take care of your pets, you can also book them in for a haircut at the adjoining clipping salon, and make sure they work out in the pet gym. (Really.) There’s a veterinarian clinic if they fall sick, too.
Fun things to do in Narita Airport
Here’s everything you can do when you have bags of time between flights and all the essential errands have been taken care of.
Inside Rassurants. - image © Florentyna Leow
Relax in the lounges
Lounge access isn’t just for burnt-out consultants and frequent flyers. Fork out a few dollars and you, too, can chill out in one of the airport lounges! Before security, there’s the Rassurants Travelers Lounge in Terminal 2 on the 4th floor, just above the Departures level. It’s quiet, the chairs are comfortable, and there’s tea, coffee, cookies, and blankets. The reclining chairs are great for napping.
It costs JPY1030 per person which is worth it for drinks and a little peace and quiet before your flight. But, it’s free for passengers in transit – just show them your boarding pass into and out of Narita.
One of the Raffine branches in Narita. - image © Florentyna Leow
Enjoy a massage
Flights can really wreck your body – humans weren’t made to sit for hours in an upright chair! Head to a Raffine outlet for a well-deserved massage between flights. There are outlets on the second floors of Terminals 1 & 2. If you’re not feeling up to a long full-body unknotting, there’s also the option to have just your hands or face massaged.
Massage chairs facing the window. - image © Florentyna Leow
The alternative to having someone’s hands on you is to have a chair do it for you instead. Walk up to the 5th floor of Terminal 1, where there’s a whole row of reclining massage chairs. JPY200 for 10 minutes of muscle-unknotting bliss while watching planes take off isn’t the worst deal in the world.
Gachapon machines stretching to infinity. - image © Florentyna Leow
Divest yourself of shrapnel
When we say shrapnel, we really mean all the coins weighing down your pockets and wallets over the course of vacationing in Japan. Check out one of the many gachapon machines dispensing little trinkets and tchotchkes on the 5th floor of Terminal 1 – or if a few dozen machines aren’t enough for you, there are around 170 machines in the basement of Terminal 2. They’re perfect for getting rid of your excess coins and you get some cute souvenirs to boot.
The Star Wars Battle Pod. - image © Florentyna Leow
For another way to kill time and use up some coins, get thee to a galaxy far, far away in the Star Wars Battle Pod. This arcade game is tucked away in a slightly obscure corner of the 5th floor in Terminal 1 near one of the windows. We have no idea why it’s here, but given the lack of queues in this location, we’re not complaining.
It’s hard to miss the Nintendo Check-In area. - image © Florentyna Leow
Test out the Nintendo Switch
In the arrivals hall of Terminal 1, you’ll find a bright red space between the North and South wings. This is the “Nintendo Check In” exhibit space, where you can try out a variety of Nintendo games on the latest Nintendo Switch™. If you’re deciding whether or not to invest in the product, this is a good chance to try before you buy.
The Nail Quick bar in Terminal 1. - image © Florentyna Leow
Brighten up your nails with art
Your hands do a lot to get you through each day. Show them some TLC and let the nail artists at Nail Quick work some magic on your fingertips. You could just tidy up your cuticles and buff your beds, but why stop there? These magicians can transform your nails with some gel art. Sushi, ribbons, flowers, stripes and stars – your nails will never be the same after a session here. Nail Quick has branches in Terminals 1 and 2.
A view from the observation deck. - image © Florentyna Leow
Watch the planes take off
It’s more common to run for the plane and board it, but how often do you get to slow down and watch them take off and arrive? The open-air observation decks in Terminals 1 and 2 give you a full view of the proceedings. At Terminal 1, spend some time watching planes zoom off into the wide skies; Terminal 2 gives you a view of the docking area. It’s more than a little awe-inducing, and perfect if you have kids into airplanes, too!
Take a day trip to Narita
Heading into Tokyo from Narita Airport takes at least an hour, depending on your mode of transport, and it’s not worth it if your layover is only around 8 hours. We recommend a day trip to nearby Narita city instead. It’s less hectic than downtown Tokyo, has all the charm of traditional Japan, and has delicious eating to boot. Best of all, it’s less than 10 minutes away by train. Check out our comprehensive itinerary for exploring Narita from the airport here.
Narita Airport Area Map
The Haneda Airport International Terminal map shows each of the locations mentioned, plus more.
You can view a full screen version too.
Recommended Accommodation for Narita Airport
If you have an early morning flight, where you stay the night before makes a huge difference in your day. Or, if you have a late arrival, you might like to stay at the airport for a night instead of trying to figure out trains the moment you touch down. Airport hotels are perfect for times like this.
Besides the airport hotels, we recommend staying as close as possible to Narita Airport to minimise travel time in the morning. There are a few hotels near the station with free shuttle services. Another good area to check out is around Narita Station, just under 10 minutes by train from the airport. As a bonus, you’ll get to explore and eat around Narita town itself. We’ve suggested a few hotels in this area below.
Narita Airport is not particularly close to downtown Tokyo. If you have a full day between flights, however, you may decide to head into the city and stay at a hotel there. In this case, we’d recommend staying near Ueno Station (for the Keisei Skyliner) or near one of the stops on the Narita Express, such as Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, or Shibuya Station. Check out our overview of districts and hotels in Tokyo for more information.
Nine hours Narita Airport - image © Booking.com
Have an overnight at Narita Airport between flights but don’t necessarily want to shell out for a hotel? A capsule hotel is an inexpensive and less back-breaking alternative to sleeping on an airport bench. Located in the basement of Terminal 2, 9H has overnight rates starting from JPY3900. With hourly rates, you can even freshen up with a shower and take a short nap in one of the comfortable pods. The first hour costs JPY1500, and JPY500 per hour thereafter.
Narita Airport Rest House - image © Booking.com
Narita Airport Rest House has a bit of a monopoly on the hotel business at the airport – it’s been around for a while and things are starting to look slightly outdated. There’s no denying it’s convenient though; this is the only non-capsule hotel that’s on the airport premises itself. Rooms here are fairly spacious for Japan, but more importantly, they’re clean, air-conditioned, and reasonably comfortable. Be warned that the pillows are quite hard. The showers have great water pressure though.
Overall, the Rest House is good for an overnight stay. If you’re accustomed to a little more comfort and luxury, the Nikko might be a better option. The shuttle bus to the Rest House takes just 5 minutes.
Hotel Nikko Narita - image © Booking.com
Short of staying at the airport hotels above, our first choice for a stay near Narita would be at the Hotel Nikko Narita. Rooms at the Nikko are decently sized for a layover. The amenities provided are typical of the Nikko chain of hotels - everything you need is in the room, and of the quality you expect of this chain.
Mornings at the Nikko see a delicious Japanese-style buffet spread every morning. Good Japanese-style breakfasts are not particularly easy to come by at hotels – they can be hit or miss – so you’ll be missing out if you don’t include breakfast during your stay here. The free shuttle buses run every 30 minutes, and the hotel restaurant is pretty decent. Plus, there’s a pool! We’d say it’s worth repeat stays if you often fly via Japan.
ANA Crowne Plaza Narita - image © Booking.com
ANA Crowne Plaza Narita is a corporate airport hotel – i.e. it’s a big chain and therefore fairly reliable and unsurprising, which is what you want when you’re groggy and tired from a long flight. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, if beginning to look a little dated. Those who want a little more luxury should book a suite.
As expected, there are regular shuttles running between the airport and this hotel. There’s a 24-hour fitness centre on site; even better is that the hotel offers free access to this for guests. This is a real rarity in Japan, so if having a hotel gym is important to you, we recommend booking a stay here. Lastly, a special mention should go to the concierge, too – the front desk staff are fantastic.
Hotel MyStays Premier Narita - image © Booking.com
The MyStays hotel brand is fairly consistent across their branches. Rooms here are small when compared to similar hotels internationally, but they’re larger than most Japanese hotel rooms of this ilk. More importantly, they’re clean and comfortable. The toiletries provided in the rooms are good, as are the rest of the amenities. The hotel restaurant isn’t bad either. There’s a free shuttle bus to Narita Airport, and also to AEON Narita Mall and Narita Station. Plus, gym bunnies will be pleased to hear about the on-site fitness center. One downside: they charge extra if you want your room before check-in hours – no ifs or buts.
Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport - image © Booking.com
If you’ve stayed at a Hilton anywhere else in the world, you already know what to expect: great service and comfortable rooms. It’s not the best Hilton in the world – rooms are on the slightly smaller side than your average Hilton elsewhere, because it’s Japan – but the gym is decent, the buffet breakfast is good, and the water pressure from the showers is excellent. Free shuttles make it convenient to get to and from the airport; budget about 20 minutes for the ride. This Hilton is an entirely reasonable choice for an overnight from Narita Airport.
Wakamatsu Honten - image © Booking.com
Why not make the most of your layover and try out a traditional Japanese inn? Wakamatsu Honten is located in nearby Narita city – a few minutes away by train – and overlooks the scenic Naritasan Park. There’s an in-house onsen to soak in, and rooms here are spacious and clean. For the full experience, make sure you book breakfast and dinner along with your room. Late arrivals will find a lack of restaurants open in the wee hours. Booking the meals has to be done at the time of reservation; you can’t add this on when you arrive. The multi-course feasts are a great way to experience Japanese cuisine and hospitality – thoroughly recommended.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get essential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)