So, you’ve got a long layover in Narita Airport? Maybe you even have to stay overnight waiting for an early morning flight? Not to worry, there’s enough to do in and around Narita Airport. In fact, you might actually find yourself enjoying the stopover.

Of course, if you’re very keen to experience downtown Tokyo the train ride takes about 90 mins, so it’s an option. But let’s be real, it would be pretty hectic. Instead, here are our recommendations for how to spend your Narita Airport layover.

Attend a Japanese cultural event in the airport

grand tea ceremony
Try a tea ceremony perhaps? | Photo by iStock.com/oluolu3

Free
Varies

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The various free cultural events, demonstrations, and exhibitions held in Narita Airport are a great way to get a glimpse of Japanese culture. From time to time there are even performances and workshops, so we recommend checking the schedule to see what’s on during your visit.

Past events include koto (Japanese zither) performances, tea ceremonies, calligraphy workshops, and a Kabuki exhibit. Unfortunately these events, especially the performances and workshops, tend to be over by around 10 p.m. at the latest.

Explore Narita City

If your layover is at least 5 hours long and you have the necessary documents to enter Japan, you can head out and explore the town of Narita. No, it’s not Tokyo but it is a Japanese city with culture and history. It’s also close to the airport, reachable by train in 15 minutes. Also, few tourists visit Narita City, so it’s a chance to go slightly off the beaten path.

You can visit Narita City via the airport’s Narita Transit Program, or go it on your own.

Narita Transit Program

¥500 to ¥2,000
2.5–3 hours

Don’t want to deal with the hassle of navigating the trip youself? Well, Narita Airport offers 2.5- to 3-hour tours of Narita City as part of its Narita Transit Program.

Travelers have the choice of guided tours or self-guided tour courses. You can go shopping, see some temples, and take a stroll through the countryside, among other things. For guided tours, the guides are volunteers, but admission fees and transport costs are at your own expense. The guided tours have suggested budgets of ¥500 to ¥2,000 depending on the itinerary. Just find the Narita Transit Program Counter in each terminal to join a tour.

NOTE: At the time of the last update the Narita Transit Program is still suspended due to COVID-19 prevention measures. It is unclear when they will resume.

Naritasan Temple pagoda
Great Pagoda of Peace | Photo by Lucy Dayman

Go it alone — Exploring Narita by yourself

¥240 train fare to JR Narita Station, ¥270 to Keisei Narita Station
10–15 minute train ride to either station

Do you want to go sightseeing around Narita on your own? It’s a cheap and easy train ride from either airport train station to Narita. There are some other tourist spots that are a short drive or bus ride away; however, the public bus system around Narita might be a little hard to navigate if you haven’t been here before.

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So we recommend sticking to places that are easily accessible from Narita Station. Like these popular spots:

Naritasan Shinshōji Temple and Naritasan Park

Free
Open 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Naritasan Shinshōji Temple is over 1,000 years old. It’s an important temple, with popular festivals held throughout the year, and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

The temple grounds are vast and dotted with Edo-era pagodas and several halls. Be sure to check out their daily goma fire ritual. It’s performed several times a day and involves prayer offerings chanting before a fire. Behind the main hall is a large park where you can enjoy some peace and quiet and admire the beauty of the changing seasons.

Omotesandō

Free

No, this is a different Omotesandō from the one that’s near Harajuku. But like that Omotesandō, this one’s also a shopping street. Narita’s Omotesandō, which literally means “front road,” is 800 meters long and leads to Naritasan Shinshōji. It’s a few minutes walk from either train station (the closest exit is the East Exit at JR Narita Station — if you’re really pressed for time).

Walking down the road, you’ll feel like you’ve been taken back in time, since it looks like an ancient town. Indeed, this road has had an approximately 300-year-old history of welcoming pilgrims on their way to the temple. Have fun eating and buying souvenirs along this lively road, and, if you get lucky, you might even see a street festival in action.

Shops along Narita’s Omotesandō sell lots of traditional items. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Visit the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences

¥700 (adult)
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays
15 minute bus ride from stop no. 28A at T2

Aviation enthusiasts will want to check out the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences, also known as the Aviation Science Museum. In addition to scale miniatures, there’s an outdoor viewing area with real planes, and even flight simulators.

Even if you’re not that into planes, there are viewing decks where you can watch the Narita Airport runways and at least get a different view of the airport. There is a cafe and museum shop too, so it’s a nice option if you’re not in the mood for overpriced airport food and souvenirs.

Sleep in a capsule hotel

The minimalist accommodation that is the capsule hotel — a hotel with stacks of pods (the “capsules”) for rooms — started in Japan, and you can experience staying in one, even in Narita Airport!

Nine Hours Narita

¥1,500 to ¥10,000
Terminal 2

Nine Hours, located in Terminal 2, has overnight rates that start at around ¥10,000, with variations depending on the season and day.

If you don’t plan on spending the night in the airport, you can also get a capsule room on an hourly basis, for ¥1,500 for the first hour and ¥500 per additional hour. This rate already covers usage of the shower room, and you even get some amenities!

Nine Hours capsule hotel inside Narita Airport | Photo by Maria Danuco

If you want to know more about capsule hotels, read our full guide here.

Chill out at a lounge

While this might not be an adventurous option, it is a comfortable one. And who doesn’t need a comfy seat to relax in after a long flight?

Narita Airport lounges

Varies
Terminals 1 and 2

There is one paid lounge in Narita Airport, located in Terminal 1. It’s called Narita TraveLounge and it’s currently open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Facilities include complimentary coffee and some drinks, newspapers and magazines, and comfortable seats with charging outlets. Adults (12 years and over) can use the facilities for ¥1,220, while for children (6 to 11 years old) it’s ¥610. For an extra fee you can also get meals and alcohol.

The following airlines also have members’ lounges inside Narita Airport:

  • All Nippon Airways (ANA): Terminal 1 and 2
  • Korean Air: Terminal 1
  • United Airlines: Terminal 1
  • Emirates: Terminal 2
  • Cathay Pacific Airways: Terminal 2
  • China Airlines: Terminal 2
    • Plus, there is also a Swissport lounge and a NAA Business lounge. The services and facilities available in these and the airline lounges vary alot, as do the requirements for entry. Check ahead to see if you are eligible.

      Freshen up at a day room

      Showers from ¥1,050, nap rooms from ¥1,560
      Terminal 1 (second and third floors) and Terminal 2 (third floor)

      For a step up from a capsule hotel or a lounge, seek out the day rooms. The day rooms are simple, yes, but they offer more privacy than a lounge, and more space than a capsule hotel — for quite reasonable prices. Day rooms offer two kinds of facillities — showers and nap rooms — and prices vary depending which you use and for how long you use it.

      Nap Rooms

      The nap rooms are fairly simple affairs with just the basics — expect a bed but not a flat screen t.v. or a bar fridge. However, all of the nap rooms do have showers, which is nice. Children can use the rooms if accompanied by an adult.

      Showers

      The showers are private — no sentō (public baths) or onsen (hot springs) here. They come with a nice range of free amenities including body soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels, and hair dryers.

      Time for a nice hot shower. | Photo by Maria Danuco

      Day room and shower costs

      ServicePrice for first hourPrice per subsequent hour
      Nap room (single)¥1,560¥780
      Nap room (twin)¥2,520¥1,260
      Shower¥1,050 (first 30 minutes)¥530 (every 15 minutes after)

      Day room and shower opening hours

      Keep in mind that the day rooms are currently operating with shorter business hours. They are not open overnight, so if that’s what you need, then your best option is Nine Hours. The hours for the day rooms are as follows:

      • Terminal 1, second floor Day Room area: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      • Terminal 1, third floor Day Room area: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      • Terminal 2, third floor Day Room area: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

      Wander around the shops and restaurants

      Okay, okay, we probably didn’t need to tell you this one. Like almost every other airport in the world, Narita Airport has a range of shops and restaurants. While a lot of these aren’t open super late, you can definitely eke out at least a few hours browsing. The souvenir shops in particular are quite nice, as they often stock a range of traditional folkcrafts in addition to standard items like magnets, pens, and postcards.

      When you’re hungry, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Of course, in this situation we recommend trying some Japanese cuisine — you’ll easily find lots of noodles and sushi options.

      That’s a good kitty. | Photo by Maria Danuco

      So is a layover at Narita Airport worth it?

      With all these suggestions for things to do, you know it won’t be completely boring. But ultimately, if you were hoping to get a quick taste of Japan, it all depends on whether you leave the airport. Unfortunately, Narita Airport isn’t as fancy as some international airports so if you can’t clear immigration then your options are a bit limited. However, if you are able to leave, head to Narita city and enjoy! Or just have a nap at Nine Hours capsule hotel — no judgement here.

      While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Last updated in March 2023 by Maria Danuco.

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