Narita International Airport: Wikis


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Narita International Airport
Narita Kokusai Kūkō
Narita International Airport Logo.svg
3rd floor of Narita Terminal 2 200507.jpg
Airport type Public
Operator Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA)
Serves Tokyo
Location Narita, Chiba, Japan
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 135 ft / 41 m
Coordinates 35°45′53″N 140°23′11″E / 35.76472°N 140.38639°E / 35.76472; 140.38639 (Narita International Airport)Coordinates: 35°45′53″N 140°23′11″E / 35.76472°N 140.38639°E / 35.76472; 140.38639 (Narita International Airport)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
16R/34L 4,000[1] 13,123 Asphalt/Concrete
16L/34RA 2,500 8,202 Asphalt
Statistics (2007/2008)
Number of passengers 35,478,146 (2007)
Total cargo (metric tonnes) 2,099,349 (2008)
Sources: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan[2]
Passengers and cargo from ACI[3][4]
:A.^ Extended from 2,180 m (7,152 ft) in Fall 2009.

Narita International Airport (成田国際空港 Narita Kokusai Kūkō?) (IATA: NRTICAO: RJAA) is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. It is located 57.5 km (35.7 mi) east of Tokyo Station and 7 km (4.3 mi) east-southeast of Narita Station[2] in the city of Narita, with some portions extending into the the adjacent town of Shibayama.

Narita handles the majority of international passenger traffic to and from Japan, and is also a major connecting point for air traffic between Asia and the Americas. The airport handled 35,478,146 passengers in 2007.[3] It is the second-busiest passenger airport in Japan,[3] busiest air freight hub in Japan,[4] and eighth-busiest air freight hub in the world.[4] It serves as the main international hub of Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways. It also serves as an Asian hub for Delta Air Lines. Under Japanese law, it is classified as a first class airport.

The airport was known as New Tokyo International Airport (新東京国際空港 Shin-Tōkyō Kokusai Kūkō) until 2004, but was commonly called "Tokyo Narita" even before it was officially renamed to differentiate it from Tokyo International Airport, commonly called "Tokyo Haneda."




Protest outside Narita City Hall in 1968.
Steel tower built by protesters adjacent to Narita Airport.
The guard wall and towers surrounding Narita Airport can be clearly seen from aircraft landing at the airport.

By the early 1960s, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) was quickly becoming overcrowded. Its location on Tokyo Bay made further expansion difficult, as a large amount of new land would have to be created in order to build more runways and terminals. While this strategy was used for later airport projects in Japan (such as Kansai International Airport), the government believed that landfill in the bay would be too costly and difficult, and would hinder the development of the Port of Tokyo. Haneda also suffered from airspace restrictions due to its central location and proximity to US airbases, so the government feared that further expansion of Haneda would lead to overcrowding in the sky.

In 1962, the Japanese government began investigating possible alternatives to Haneda, and proposed a "New Tokyo International Airport" to take over Haneda's international flights. The rapid postwar growth of Tokyo caused a shortage of available flat land in the Kantō region, so the only viable location for the airport was in rural Chiba Prefecture. Initially, surveyors proposed placing the airport in the village of Tomisato; however, the site was moved 5 km northeast to the villages of Sanrizuka and Shibayama, where the Imperial Household had a large farming estate. This development plan was made public in 1966.

At the time, the socialist movement still possessed considerable strength in Japan, evidenced by the large-scale student riots in Tokyo in 1960.[5] Many in the "new left" such as Chukaku-ha opposed the construction of Narita Airport, reasoning that the real purpose for the new airport was to promote capitalism and to provide additional facilities for US military aircraft in the event of war with the Soviet Union. These individuals sought to ally with the more conservative local farmers who simply did not want to give up their land for the airport.[6]

Around 1966, a group of local residents combined with student activists and left-wing political parties formed a popular resistance group known as the Sanrizuka-Shibayama Union to Oppose the Airport (三里塚・芝山連合空港反対同盟 Sanrizuka-Shibayama Rengo Kūkō Hantai Dōmei?), which remained active until fracturing in 1983.[6] Similar strategies had already been employed during the postwar era to block the expansion of Tachikawa Air Base and other US military facilities in Japan.[6] In June and July 1966, the Union sent formal protests to the mayor of Narita, the governor and vice-governor of Chiba Prefecture and the prefectural office of the Liberal Democratic Party.[6] In November 1967, when the Transport Ministry began surveying the perimeter of the airport, Union members set up roadblocks. The Zengakuren radical student union then began sending students to Narita to help the local farmers.[6]

Eminent domain power had rarely been used in Japan up to that point. Traditionally, the Japanese government would offer to relocate homeowners in regions slated for expropriation, rather than condemn their property and pay compensation as provided by law. In the case of Narita Airport, this type of cooperative expropriation did not occur: some residents went as far as using terror by threatening to burn down new homes of anyone who would voluntarily move out.

Under the 1966 plan, the airport would have been completed in 1971, but due to the ongoing resettlement disputes, not all of the land for the airport was available by then. Finally, in 1971, the Japanese government began forcibly expropriating land. 291 protesters were arrested and more than 1,000 police, villagers and student militants were injured in a series of riots, notably on 16 September 1971 when three policemen were killed in a riot involving thousands. Some protesters chained themselves to their homes and refused to leave.

Takenaka Corporation constructed the first terminal building, which was completed in 1972. The first runway took several more years due to constant fights with the Union and sympathizers, who occupied several pieces of land necessary to complete the runway and temporarily built large towers in the runway's path.[5] The runway was completed and the airport scheduled to open on March 30, 1978, but this plan was disrupted when, on March 26, 1978, a group armed with Molotov cocktails drove into the airport in a burning car, broke into the control tower and destroyed much of its equipment, causing approx. $500,000 in damages and delaying the opening by another two months, to May 20, 1978.[7]

Although the airport did open, it opened under a level of security unprecedented in Japan. The airfield was surrounded by opaque metal fencing and overlooked by guard towers staffed with riot police. 14,000 security police were present at the airport's opening and were met by 6,000 protesters; a Japanese newscaster remarked at the time that "Narita resembles nothing so much as Saigon Airport during the Vietnam War."[8] Protestors attacked police on the opening day with rocks and firebombs while police responded with water cannon; on the other side of Tokyo, a separate group of protestors claimed responsibility for cutting the power supply to an air traffic control facility at Tokorozawa, which shut down most air traffic in the Tokyo area for several hours.[7]

The Diet of Japan passed a special statute, the Emergency Measures Act Relating to the Preservation of Security at New Tokyo International Airport (新東京国際空港の安全確保に関する緊急措置法?), specifically banning the construction and use of buildings for violent and coercive purposes relating to the new airport.[9] Passengers arriving at the airport were (and still are) subject to baggage and travel document searches before even entering the terminal, in an attempt to keep anti-airport activists and terrorists out of the facility.[citation needed]

The conflicts at Narita were a major factor in the decision to build Kansai International Airport in Osaka offshore on reclaimed land, instead of again trying to expropriate land in heavily populated areas.[10]

JAL moved its main international hub from Haneda to Narita, and Northwest and Pan Am also moved their Asian regional hubs from Haneda to Narita. Pan Am sold its Pacific Division, including its Narita hub, to United Airlines in February 1986.[11] ANA began scheduled international flights from Narita to Guam in 1986[12] and expanded its presence at the airport through the 1990s to become the #2 carrier at the airport after JAL.[citation needed]

Original expansion plans

Terminal 2 control tower and people mover system

New Tokyo International Airport was originally envisioned to have five runways, but the initial protests in 1965 led to a down-scaling of the plan to three runways: two parallel northwest/southeast runways 4,000 m in length and an intersecting northeast/southwest runway 3,200 m in length. Upon the airport's opening in 1978, only one of the parallel runways was completed; the other two runways were delayed to avoid aggravating the already tense situation surrounding the airport. The original plan also called for a high-speed rail line, the Narita Shinkansen, to connect the airport to central Tokyo, but this project was also cancelled with only some of the necessary land obtained.[6]

By 1986, the strengthening Japanese yen was causing a surge of foreign business and leisure travel from Japan, which made Narita's capacity shortage more apparent. However, eight families continued to own slightly less than 53 acres of land on the site which would need to be expropriated in order to complete the other two runways. Although the government could legally force a sale of the land, it elected not to do so in order to avoid aggravating the situation.[13] By 1992, Narita was handling 22 million passengers a year, despite only having a design capacity of 13 million.[14]

On November 26, 1986, the airport authority began work on Phase II, a new runway north of the airport's original main runway.[citation needed] To avoid the problems that plagued the first phase, the Minister of Transport promised in 1991 that the expansion would not involve expropriation.[citation needed] Residents in surrounding regions were compensated for the increased noise-pollution with home upgrades and soundproofing.[citation needed]

A second passenger terminal opened in December 1992 at a cost of $1.36 billion. The new terminal had approximately 1.5 times the space of the older terminal, but its anti-congestion benefits were delayed because of the need to close and renovate much of the older terminal. The airport's land situation also meant that the taxiway to the new terminal was one-way for much of its length, and that taxi times between the terminal and runway were up to 30 minutes.[14]

The second runway opened on April 17, 2002, in time for the World Cup events held in Japan and Korea that year. However, its final length of 2,180 m, much shorter than its original plan length (2500m), left it too short to accommodate Boeing 747s.[15] The new runway opened up additional slots, particularly for carriers from other Asian countries, who were favored disproportionately over American and European incumbents. In particular, Taiwan flag carriers China Airlines and EVA Air were granted slots upon opening of the new runway and were able to move their Tokyo operations to Narita from Haneda Airport, where they had been operating since the opening of Narita in order to avoid frustrating Japanese relations with the People's Republic of China.[16]

Through the end of the 1980s, Narita Airport's train station was located fairly far from the terminal, and passengers faced either a long walk or a bus ride (at an additional charge and subject to random security screenings). Transport Minister Shintaro Ishihara, now governor of Tokyo, pressed airport train operators JR and Keisei Railway to connect their lines directly to the airport's terminals, and opened up the underground station that would have accommodated the Shinkansen for regular train service. Direct train service to Terminal 1 began on March 19, 1991, and the old Narita Airport Station was renamed Higashi-Narita Station.[citation needed]

The Japanese government has invested in several infrastructure projects in order to address the demands of airport neighbors. The largest of these is the Shibayama Railway, a short railway connection between the Keisei Main Line and the area immediately east of Narita Airport. This line opened in 2002 with government and NAA support after extensive demands from Shibayama residents, and provides a direct rail link from Shibayama to Narita City, Chiba City and central Tokyo. Another such project is the Museum of Aeronautical Sciences in Shibayama Town, which draws tourists and student groups to the area.[17]

In 2003, a Narita International Airport Corporation Act (成田国際空港株式会社法?) was passed to provide for the privatization of the airport. As part of this change, on April 1, 2004, New Tokyo International Airport was officially renamed Narita International Airport, reflecting its popular designation since its opening. The airport was also moved from government control to the authority of a new Narita International Airport Corporation.[18]

Notable accidents and incidents

  • On January 30, 1979, after an exhibition in Tokyo, 153 of Manabu Mabe's paintings were on board of a Varig, cargo Boeing 707-323C registration PP-VLU en route from Narita International Airport to Rio de Janeiro-Galeão via Los Angeles. The aircraft went missing over the Pacific Ocean some 30 minutes (200 km ENE) from Tokyo. Causes are unknown since the wreck was never found. The paintings were lost.[19]
  • 1985: On June 22, a piece of luggage exploded while being transferred to Air India Flight 301, killing two baggage handlers. The luggage had originated at Vancouver International Airport. Fifty-five minutes later, another piece of luggage, also originating from Vancouver, exploded on Air India Flight 182, killing all onboard.
  • In the late 1980s, the Union to Oppose the Airport constructed two steel towers, 30.8 meters (102 ft) and 62.3 meters (206 ft) respectively, blocking the northbound approach path to the main runway. In January 1990, the Chiba District Court ordered the towers dismantled without compensation to the Union; the Supreme Court of Japan upheld this verdict as constitutional in 1993.[20]
  • 1987: Chukaku-ha, a radical organization, carried out a simultaneous overnight bombing of the offices of five companies in the Greater Tokyo Area involved in the Phase II expansion of Narita Airport. [21]
  • 1994: On December 11, Philippine Airlines Flight 434 was en route from Cebu to Narita when a bomb on board exploded, killing a passenger. The airliner was able to make an emergency landing in Okinawa. Authorities later found out that the bomb was a test run for the Project Bojinka plot, which targeted several U.S. airliners departing Narita on January 21, 1995 as part of its first phase.[22]
  • 1997: United Airlines Flight 826 experienced severe turbulence after leaving Narita en-route for Honolulu. Due to injuries sustained by passengers, the aircraft made an emergency landing at Narita. One woman on the flight died of her injuries.[23]
  • January 31, 2001: Japan Airlines Flight 958, bound for Narita from Gimhae International Airport in Busan, nearly collided with another Japan Airlines aircraft. The other aircraft, a Boeing 747, suddenly dived and avoided the Narita-bound DC-10.[24] See: 2001 Japan Airlines mid-air incident
  • 2001: In May, Kim Jong-nam, the son of North Korean President Kim Jong-il, was arrested at Narita Airport for traveling with a counterfeit passport, and was deported to the People's Republic of China.[25]
  • 2004: On July 13, Bobby Fischer was detained at Narita Airport for using an invalid U.S. passport while trying to board a Japan Airlines flight to Manila. He left Japan a year later after obtaining asylum in Iceland.[26]
  • 2009: On March 23, FedEx Express Flight 80, an MD-11 aircraft from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China, crashed on Runway 16R/34L during landing, killing both the pilot and co-pilot. Runway 16R/34L, which is required for long-distance flights and heavier aircraft, was closed for a full day due to necessary investigations, repairs and removal of wreckage. This was the first fatal airplane crash to occur at the airport since its opening in 1978.[27]
  • 2009-2010: From November 4, 2009 to February 3, 2010, Chinese human rights defendant Feng Zhenghu remained near the immigration checkpoint in the south wing of Terminal 1, after having been refused re-entry into China.[28]

Current issues


Following privatization, the airport has reached record traffic levels, and several construction projects are ongoing.

Narita's 2,180 m Runway B was extended to 2,500 m, which will allow increased use by heavy aircraft such as Boeing 747s. The limitations of the shorter runway were made apparent in the 2009 crash of FedEx Express Flight 80, which shut down the longer Runway A and forced some heavy aircraft to divert to other airports. The extension opened on October 22, 2009.[29] It will allow an additional 20,000 flights per year.[30]

Several gates at Narita are also being refitted with double-decker jetbridges to accommodate the Airbus A380.


Arguments over slots and landing fees have plagued the busy airport. Because so many airlines want to use it, the Japanese aviation authorities have limited the number of flights each airline can operate from this airport, making the airport expensive for both airlines and their passengers.

Although the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has given Narita a monopoly on international air service to the Tokyo region, that monopoly has been gradually weakening. Haneda has had limited international service for some time, beginning with flights to Taiwan and later replaced by flights to Gimpo Airport in Seoul, and Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai. Following the construction of Haneda's Runway D in 2009, the government aims to transfer other international services to Haneda in order to relieve Narita's congestion and expansion problems. The Ministry of Transport continues to investigate the possibility of building a new reliever airport on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay or off the Kujukuri coast of Chiba Prefecture.[31] Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has proposed redeveloping Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo as a civil airport.

The future Hyakuri Airfield (Ibaraki Airport), opening in March 11, 2010, will relieve traffic for domestic passengers destined to/from Ibaraki and Tochigi Prefectures, and potentially those in Gunma. Technically, the runway here is large enough for jumbo jets. Shizuoka Airport, opened June 2009, may take away Numazu-Fuji area passengers that would otherwise come to Narita.

Surface access

Railway routes between Tokyo and NRT. The Keisei Main Line (current Skyliner route) is highlighted in green, and the new Narita Rapid Railway in purple.

One of the most constant criticisms of the airport has been its distance from central Tokyo—an hour by the fastest train, and often longer by road due to traffic jams. The distance is even more problematic for residents and businesses in west Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, both of which are much closer to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

The Narita Rapid Railway, scheduled to open in 2010, will alleviate the problem to some extent by shaving 20 minutes off the travel time. It has been announced that new Skyliner express trains with a maximum speed of 160 km/h will travel on this new line between Tokyo's Nippori Station and Airport Terminal 2 Station in 36 minutes, which compares favourably with other major airports worldwide. A new expressway, the North Chiba Road, is also under construction along the Narita Rapid Railway corridor. Improvements such as the Wangan Expressway have already shaved off travel time to Kanagawa Prefecture by bypassing Tokyo.

Terminals, airlines, and destinations

Narita Airport has two separate terminals with separate underground train stations. Connection between the terminals is by shuttle bus (buses are available both inside and outside the security area. Buses inside the security is only for connecting passengers) and trains; there is no pedestrian connection.


Check-in area, Terminal 1 South Wing
Exterior of the Terminal 1 building with the Central Building and North Wing visible.
Terminal 1 Satellite 5 Departure Lounge
Terminal 2 "Gobangai" arcade
Passport control, Terminal 2
Terminal 2 Shuttle System used to transport passengers to satellite concourses in Terminal 2
Shuttle Bus
China Airlines Boeing 747-400 parked at Terminal 2

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 uses a satellite terminal design. The landside of the terminal is divided into a North Wing (北ウイング kita-uingu?), Central Building (中央ビル chūō-biru?), and South Wing (南ウイング minami-uingu?). Two circular satellites, Satellites 1 (gates 11-18) and 2 (gates 21-24), are connected to the North Wing, Satellite 3 (gates 26-38) is a linear concourse connected to the Central Building,Check-in is processed on the fourth floor, and departures and immigration control are on the third floor. Arriving passengers clear immigration on the second floor, then claim their baggage and clear customs on the first floor. Most shops and restaurants are located on the fourth floor of the Central Building. The South Wing includes a duty free mall called "Narita Nakamise", the largest airport duty-free brand boutique mall in Japan.

North Wing

The North Wing is dominated by SkyTeam carriers as Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines moved from Terminal 2 in 2007, shortly after a reciprocal move by Oneworld carriers American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.[32] British Airways (Oneworld), Virgin Atlantic and Aircalin are the only non-SkyTeam carriers operating from the North Wing. Continental Airlines relocated to the South Wing on November 1, 2009 after joining Star Alliance.[33] British Airways plans to move its operations to Terminal 2 in November 2010 in order to ease connections with Oneworld partner Japan Airlines.[34]

South Wing

The South Wing and Satellite 5 opened in June 2006 as a terminal for Star Alliance carriers. Today, all Star Alliance members use this wing, except for Air New Zealand and Egypt Air, which currently use Terminal 2. The following are non-Star Alliance members: EVA Air, MIAT,Uzbekistan Airways and Vladivostok. The South Wing has seven stories, and the first floor contains facilities for domestic flights by ANA. [3] It is the first airport terminal in Japan to offer curbside check-in service and baggage reconnecting facilities for passengers connecting from international to domestic flights.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 is divided into a main building (honkan) and satellite, both of which are designed around linear concourses. The two are connected by the Terminal 2 Shuttle System, which was designed by Japan Otis Elevator and was the first cable-driven people mover in Japan.

Check-in and departures and Immigration control for arriving passengers is on the second floor, and baggage claim and customs are on the first floor.

For domestic flights, three gates (65, 66, and 67) in the main building are connected to both the main departures concourse and to a separate domestic check-in facility. Passengers connecting between domestic and international flights must exit the gate area, walk to the other check-in area, and then check in for their connecting flight.

Japan Airlines is currently the main operator in T2; several Oneworld carriers which used to be in T1 (except British Airways) moved their operations to T2 in early 2007 so as to ease connections to and from flights operated by oneworld partner Japan Airlines. Air New Zealand and EgyptAir (Star Alliance carriers) and China Southern Airlines (which is a SkyTeam carrier) are the only non Oneworld carriers operating from Terminal 2.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo 1 North
Aeroméxico Mexico City 1 North
Air Canada Calgary [seasonal; begins 28 March], Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver 1 South
Air China Beijing-Capital, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Shanghai-Pudong, Shenzhen 1 South
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle 1 North
Air India Delhi, Mumbai 2
Air Macau Macau [seasonal] 1
Air New Zealand Auckland, Christchurch [ends 29 March] 2
Air Niugini Port Moresby 2
Air Tahiti Nui Papeete 2
Aircalin Nouméa 1 North
Alitalia Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino 1 North
All Nippon Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Chicago-O'Hare, Dalian, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Munich [begins 1 July][35], Nagoya-Centrair, New York-JFK, Okinawa, Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Qingdao, San Francisco, Sapporo-Chitose, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Shenyang, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan, Washington-Dulles 1 South
All Nippon Airways operated by Air Central Nagoya-Centrair, Sendai 1 South
All Nippon Airways operated by Air Japan Hong Kong, Honolulu, Singapore, Taipei-Taouyan 1 South
All Nippon Airways operated by Air Nippon Fukuoka, Mumbai, Xiamen 1 South
All Nippon Airways operated by Ibex Airlines Hiroshima, Komatsu, Sapporo-Chitose, Sendai 1 South
American Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York-JFK 2
Asiana Airlines Seoul-Incheon 1 South
Austrian Airlines Vienna 1 South
British Airways London-Heathrow 1 North
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, Taipei-Taoyuan 2
China Airlines Honolulu, Taipei-Taoyuan 2
China Eastern Airlines Beijing-Capital, Nanjing, Shanghai-Pudong, Xi'an 2
China Southern Airlines Changchun, Dalian, Guangzhou, Shenyang 2
Continental Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark 1 South
Continental Airlines operated by Continental Micronesia Guam 1 South
Delta Air Lines (see note) Atlanta, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Busan, Detroit, Guam, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Manila, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Portland (OR), Saipan, Salt Lake City [seasonal], San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan 1 North
EgyptAir Cairo 2
Emirates Dubai [begins 28 March][36] 2
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi [begins 27 March][37] 1
EVA Air Taipei-Taoyuan 1 South
Finnair Helsinki 2
Garuda Indonesia Denpasar/Bali, Jakarta 2
Iran Air Beijing-Capital, Tehran-Imam Khomeini 2
Japan Airlines Amsterdam, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Busan, Chicago-O'Hare, Dalian, Delhi, Denpasar/Bali, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Domodedovo, Nagoya-Centrair, New York-JFK, Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rome-Fiumicino, San Francisco, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Sapporo-Chitose, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan, Vancouver 2
Japan Airlines operated by JAL Express Fukuoka, Nagoya-Centrair, Osaka-Itami 2
Japan Airlines operated by JALways Brisbane, Guam, Honolulu, Kona, Manila, Sydney 2
Japan Airlines operated by Japan Transocean Air Okinawa 2
Jetstar Airways Cairns, Gold Coast 2
KLM Amsterdam 1 North
Korean Air Busan, Jeju, Los Angeles, Seoul-Incheon 1 North
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich 1 South
Malaysia Airlines Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur 2
MIAT Mongolian Airlines Seoul-Incheon, Ulan Bator 1 South
Pakistan International Airlines Beijing-Capital, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore 2
Philippine Airlines Cebu, Manila 2
Qantas Perth, Sydney 2
Qatar Airways Doha [begins 26 April] 2
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen 1 South
Singapore Airlines Los Angeles, Singapore 1 South
SriLankan Airlines Colombo, Malé 2
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich 1 South
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Phuket 1 South
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk 1 South
United Airlines Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital [seasonal], Chicago-O'Hare, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Singapore, Taipei-Taoyuan, Washington-Dulles 1 South
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent 1 South
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City 2
Virgin Atlantic London-Heathrow 1 North
Viva Macau Macau 2
Vladivostok Air Khabarovsk [begins 28 March], Vladivostok [begins 28 March], Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk [38] 1 South

Note: Delta also operates "international" flights to Osaka-Kansai and Nagoya which allow connections to destinations in Asia and the United States. Delta's flight to Ho Chi Minh City (which ends 26 March) has traffic rights for US-originated passengers only.

Cities with direct international airlinks to Narita airport

Cargo service

Because of the large volume of foreign fish (especially tuna) imported by air for use in sushi restaurants, Narita Airport is the eighth-largest fishing port in Japan by tonnage.

Airlines Destinations
Aeroflot-Cargo Moscow-Sheremetyevo
AirBridgeCargo Airlines Amsterdam[39], Moscow-Sheremetyevo
Air France Cargo Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Air Hong Kong Hong Kong
ANA & JP Express
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
FedEx Express Guangzhou, Memphis, Paris-Charles de Gaulle
KLM Cargo Amsterdam
Korean Air Cargo Seoul-Incheon
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt
MASkargo Kuala Lumpur, Penang
Nippon Cargo Airlines Amsterdam, Anchorage, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Chicago-O'Hare, Guadalajara, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Nagoya-Centrair, New York-JFK, Milan-Malpensa, Osaka-Kansai, San Francisco, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong
Polar Air Cargo
Singapore Airlines Cargo Singapore
UPS Airlines Louisville, Ontario, Shanghai, Clark

Helicopter service

  • Narita Heli Express operates charter flights between Narita, Tokyo Heliport, Saitama-Kawajima Heliport and Gunma Heliport from a dedicated helipad with connecting shuttle service to the two terminals.

Ground transportation


Komaino Junction outside Narita Airport. The tunnel to the left leads to the airport terminal stations; the tunnel to the right leads to Higashi-Narita Station and the Shibayama Railway.
JR Narita Express train
Keisei Skyliner train

Narita Airport has two rail connections, operated by Keisei Electric Railway and JR East. A third line, the Narita Rapid Railway, is currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2010. Trains to and from Narita stop at Narita Airport Station (成田空港駅 Narita-kūkō-eki) in Terminal 1 and Airport Terminal 2 Station (空港第2ビル駅 Kūkō-daini-biru-eki) in Terminal 2.

The airport was originally planned to be served by the Narita Shinkansen, construction of which was started in 1974, but the same expropriation issues afflicting the airport also hit the new line and the plan was eventually officially abandoned in 1987. Direct train service to the terminal, on ordinary trains using a short spur track from previous right of way, thus only started in 1990, twelve years after the airport opened.

JR East

The most expensive train (and one of the fastest) to the airport is the Narita Express. Journey times between the airport and Tokyo Station in Chiyoda, Tokyo vary from 53 minutes to 70 minutes depending on the time of departure.

All Narita Express trains serve Narita Airport Terminal 1, Narita Airport Terminal 2 and Tokyo Station. Some trains also make additional stops between the airport and Tokyo - at Narita or at Chiba Station.

All seating on the Narita Express trains is reserved. The assigned seat number and car number are indicated on the tickets. Tickets can be purchased from agents in the arrivals hall of each terminal and from automatic ticket vending machines.

JR also offers rapid service Kaisoku Airport Narita trains to Tokyo Station, which take 90 minutes but cost less than the Narita Express. These trains stop at several stations on the Narita Line and Sobu Line en route to Tokyo. Most continue on to stops on the Yokosuka Line, going as far as Kurihama Station in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.


Keisei's Skyliner limited express travels to Nippori Station in 51 minutes - and Keisei Ueno Station in 56 minutes. The journey between Narita Airport and Nippori has the shortest time of any transportation link between the airport and central Tokyo. However, for travellers whose final destination is in the South of Tokyo or near Tokyo station, it can be quicker to take the Narita Express than to take the Skyliner and then make a connection at Nippori or Ueno.

From July 2010, the Skyliner will connect Narita Airport and Ueno in 36 minutes via the new Narita Sky Access Line, with trains running at up to 160 km/h.

As with the Narita Express, all seating on Skyliner trains is reserved. Seat allocations are indicated on the tickets, which can be purchased from agents in the airport terminal.

Regular Keisei trains cost about half as much as the Skyliner and are the cheapest rail connection to the airport, although they make many stops, are slow and are often crowded.

Keisei also offers connecting and through service from Narita Airport to Haneda Airport, a cooperative service with the Toei Asakusa Line and Keihin Kyuko Railway. Airport Rapid Limited (エアポート快特 Eapōto Kaitoku?) trains, which make limited stops on the Asakusa and Keikyu lines, are denoted on signboards by an aircraft icon.


Airport Limousine bus

There are regular bus services to the Tokyo City Air Terminal, major hotels and railway stations in the Greater Tokyo Area. These are often slower than the trains because of traffic jams. The chief operator of these services is Airport Transport Service under the "Friendly Airport Limousine" brand. Other operators include Keisei Bus, Chiba Kotsu and Narita Kuko Kotsu.[40]

There is also overnight bus service to Kyoto and Osaka. Buses also travel to nearby US military bases, including Yokosuka Navy Base and Yokota Air Base.


Taxi service is available, although it is the next most expensive mode of travel to the airport after the helicopter.

The main road link to Narita Airport is the Higashi-Kanto Expressway, which connects to the Shuto Expressway network at Funabashi, Chiba.

Cultural references

  • Narita Airport was mentioned in an episode of Death Note in which Light's father departs from on a hijacked 747 that lands in the desert of the United States.
  • Narita Airport is one of the airports featured in Air Traffic Controller by TechnoBrain.
  • Narita Airport is depicted in "Returning Japanese", an episode of American sitcom King of the Hill.
  • Narita Airport is the namesake of the song "Welcome to Narita" by Textual.
  • In Japanese, the term "Narita divorce" (成田離婚 Narita rikon?) is often used to refer to divorces that immediately follow a married couple's honeymoon, since many married couples return to Japan through Narita after honeymoons in foreign countries. The phrase was used as the title of a popular television drama in Japan.

See also


  1. ^ Narita's 4,000 m (13,123 ft) main runway shares the record for longest runway in Japan with one at Kansai International Airport that opened in 2007.
  2. ^ a b AIS Japan
  3. ^ a b c ACI passenger statistics for 2007
  4. ^ a b c ACI cargo statistics for 2008
  5. ^ a b Duncan McCargo, Contemporary Japan, pp. 152-155 (Google link)
  6. ^ a b c d e f David Apter and Nagayo Sawa, Against the State: Politics and Social Protest in Japan (Google link)
  7. ^ a b Fighting Rages over Tokyo Airport, Nashua Telegraph, May 20, 1978.
  8. ^ Japan: Open But Still Embattled, TIME, June 5, 1978.
  9. ^ 成田国際空港の安全確保に関する緊急措置法 (昭和五十三年五月十三日法律第四十二号)
  10. ^ Japan to Open Costly But Convenient Airport, New York Times, August 21, 1994.
  11. ^ " United taking Pacific routes of Pan American, Miami News, Feb. 11, 1986.
  12. ^ All Nippon Airways Decides to Go High Profile Japanese Carrier Kicks Off Major Campaign in U.S., Los Angeles Times, Dec 7, 1987
  13. ^ Narita Journal; An Airport Is Being Strangled by Relentless Foes, New York Times, September 26, 1989.
  14. ^ a b New $1.36 Billion Terminal Is No Cure-All: Tokyo's Troubled Airport, New York Times, December 3, 1992.
  15. ^ Japan opens second runway ahead of World Cup finals, ABC News, April 17, 2002.
  16. ^ Switch in Japan could hurt CAL, Bloomberg, April 18, 2002.
  17. ^ 地域振興, Narita Airport Authority
  18. ^ 成田国際空港株式会社法
  19. ^ Varig Accident Description on Aviation Safety Database [1] Retrieved on October 16, 2009.
  20. ^ 最高裁(大法廷)平成4年7月1日判決 ()
  21. ^ Radicals bomb airport offices, AP, March 15, 1987.
  22. ^ Echoes of Early Design to Use Chemicals to Blow Up Airliners, New York Times, August 11, 2006.
  23. ^ Aircraft Accident Investigation: United Airlines flight 826, Pacific Ocean, NTSB, December 28, 1997.
  24. ^ Close Call For JAL Jets, CBS News, January 31, 2001.
  25. ^ "Death of Kim's consort: Dynastic implications" (2 September 2004). Retrieved on 28 October 2008.
  26. ^ Bobby Fischer: ich bin ein Icelander!. March 21, 2005.
  27. ^ "Cargo plane crashes on landing at Tokyo airport" (23 March 2009). Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  28. ^ "China activist in for long haul at Tokyo airport" (10 December 2009). Retrieved on 10 December 2009.
  29. ^ [2]; Kyodo News, "Runway extension at Narita finally opens", Japan Times, October 23, 2009.
  30. ^ Narita airport — worth long struggle to build?, The Japan Times, June 9, 2009.
  31. ^ 首都圏第3空港 鉄道アクセスの再検討 (第7回首都圏第3空港調査検討会, 2002).
  32. ^ NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - What's new: Information on Relocation of Continental Airlines, Continental Micronesia Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ Two Japan destinations to launch in first quarter 2010
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Buses & Taxis to Narita Airport

External links

Travel guides

Historical and political

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Narita article)

From Wikitravel

Asia : East Asia : Japan : Kanto : Chiba : Narita

Narita (成田; [1]) is a city in Chiba prefecture, Japan, some 70 kilometers to the northeast of Tokyo.

Omote-sandō, leading to Narita Shinsho-ji
Omote-sandō, leading to Narita Shinsho-ji


The vast majority of Narita's visitors come there for one reason only: Narita Airport, Tokyo's international gateway. But there are a few attractions in the vicinity if you have a short layover and don't want to waste 2-3 hours of it on the long hike to Tokyo. Firstly, Narita town itself is very charming with lots of quaint winding old streets lined with old wooden shops. The pace of life here is dramatically different to that of nearby Tokyo and is very relaxed. This is a major congregation point for airline staff too so you can take it that most of the foreigners in town are Air Crew. This means there's a bit more to Narita's nightlife than may seem at first in this sleepy town.

Narita Airport and Japan Tourism were experimenting with conducting short tours for passengers with layovers at Narita Airport, but this seems to have ended; visitors can use the Retrobus instead (see Get Around).

Get in

By plane

Narita Airport (成田空港 Narita-kūkō, IATA: NRT ICAO: RJAA), located nearly 70 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, is Japan's largest international airport. The airport is generally modern and efficient, but sometimes overcrowded (particularly at immigration). Security has been rather heavy, especially when coming in, due to continuing controversy over land expropriated for the airport - there are plans in the works, however, to relax the checkpoints at train stations and possibly the entry gates for vehicles as part of the first security overhaul since the airport's 1978 opening.

The airport has two terminals connected by both train and bus. Foreign airlines operate out of either terminal, with Japanese carriers ANA and JAL operating out of terminals 1 and 2, respectively.

The South Wing of Terminal 1 opened in June of 2006, and now most airlines in the Star Alliance (e.g. ANA, United, Continental, Air Canada, SAS) operate out of that section (although Air New Zealand operates from Terminal 2). Carriers in the other two major airline alliances are also grouped together: the Skyteam Alliance (e.g. Delta/Northwest, Air France, KLM, Korean Air) operates out of the North Wing of Terminal 1, and the OneWorld Alliance (e.g. JAL, American, British Airways, Finnair) operates out of Terminal 2. Check the airport's website just prior to your departure to determine the terminal you will arrive at. On the way to the airport, there are also lists (in English) posted near the doors of trains going to Narita.

There are Citibank cash machines that accept international ATM/credit cards once you leave customs on the arrivals floor of both terminals. Recently, 7-Eleven affiliated Seven Bank ATMs accepting foreign cards can also be found throughout the airport.

There are many ways to travel between Narita Airport and central Tokyo. For a first-time visitor, suffering jet-lag, laden with luggage and holding a reservation for a major hotel, the easiest option is often to take the Limousine Bus direct to the hotel. A close second is taking one of the express trains to Tokyo or Ueno Station and then transferring to a taxi for the final leg. If taking the bus, note that traffic jams can cause you to reach your destination a lot later than you were told when you boarded.

When departing Narita, the better shops and restaurants are located in the check-in area: after passing security and immigration, all that's really available is expensive duty-free and some convenience store sundries. But remember that Japan restricts liquids in carry-on baggage, and plan to buy drinks for the plane after security.

If you're at Narita for a connecting flight, you may wish to use the dayrooms and showers inside the terminal, past security. Dayrooms are paid for by the hour; ¥1000 for the first hour and ¥500 for each additional hour. The dayroom consists of a bed and a bathroom with a shower. It's a great way to refresh yourself before your next flight. If you just want to take a shower, you can get a shower room for ¥500 for a half hour. Soap and shampoo are provided, but not things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shavers, and deodorant, so bring them in your carry-on with your change of clothes. Twin dayrooms are available for ¥1600 for the first hour and ¥800 for each additional hour. Dayroom reservations can be made up to a month in advance [2]

WiFi is available throughout the airport with the SSID NRT-AIRPORT. Access is quite inexpensive; ¥500 per 24 hours. [3]

By helicopter

If you're really in a hurry (depending on your definition of the term), Narita Heli Express [4] will whisk you to or from Tokyo Heliport (in Shin-Kiba). The regular fare is ¥260,000 per flight, which means that a solo passenger would spend the cost of one night's stay at the average Tokyo hotel every minute during the 20 minute ride. But if you share the ride with four other willing companions (the helicopter seats up to five), it splits down to ¥52000 per passenger.

When making a journey-time comparison with other transport methods, one should take account of the time required to travel between one's point of origin and the heliport in Shin-Kiba and the time taken for travel between the helipad at Narita airport and the relevant terminal building. For a journey from the Tokyo station area to Narita Terminal 2, the time difference may be 20 minutes or less.

IF this tickles your interest, keep in mind that the helicopter also has service to Kawajima, Saitama prefecture in 30 minutes (¥235,000 per flight) and Maebashi, Gunma prefecture in 40 minutes (¥355,000).

Another helicopter service, Mori Building City Air Service, or MCAS [5], began operations in September 2009. MCAS operates helicopter services on a regular schedule into the Tokyo area. The standard one-way fare (¥50000 per person) includes a 15-minute trip by limousine from Narita Airport to the Sakura Heliport, followed by a 15-minute helicopter ride to the Ark Hills Heliport in Akasaka, and finally, a trip by limousine to any destination in Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato and Shibuya wards. A limousine trip to any other Tokyo ward outside of this zone incurs an additional surcharge. Until December 31, 2009, the standard one-way fare is discounted to ¥38000 as part of a service launch campaign.

Travelling to Narita City?

  • If you are travelling from Tokyo to Narita City via the JR Line, the hourly Airport Narita commuter train will take you from Tokyo Station to JR Narita station via the Sobu Line in 75 minutes at a cost of ¥1110. An alternate route is to take the Joban Line rapid service from Ueno. Either trip is free with a Japan Rail Pass.
  • Commuter trains on the Keisei Line depart from Keisei Ueno and Nippori stations every 20 minutes or so during most of the day, reaching Keisei Narita station in about 60 minutes at a cost of ¥810. Faster airport-bound Skyliners also stop at Keisei Narita; these trains require a seat reservation and an extra ¥920 surcharge.
  • If you are travelling from Narita Airport to Narita City, the Retrobus tourist bus service makes seven daily runs to central locations and attractions within the city for ¥200; see "Get Around" below. By train, the Keisei Line has more frequent departures (3 trains per hour) than the JR Line (1 train per hour). The Keisei fare is ¥320 and the travel time is 10 minutes.
  • Few Narita Express trains stop at Narita station. Four trains going to Tokyo stop at Narita station in the morning, and four trains coming from Tokyo stop at Narita in the evening.

There are two train lines from Narita and both will get you into Tokyo. Note that if coming to the airport, each terminal has its own station and it is imperative that you get off at the right one. The stop for Terminal 1 is Narita Airport (成田空港), and the stop for Terminal 2 is, appropriately, Airport Terminal 2 (空港第2ビル), pronounced kūkō dai-ni biru, or literally, "Airport Number 2 Building". Lists of airlines and their terminals are posted inside the trains.

JR East's Narita Express.
JR East's Narita Express.

JR line

From Narita Airport, the fastest and most expensive way (by rail) into Tokyo is the Japan Railways (JR) Narita Express (N'EX) [6] into central Tokyo Station. The ride takes 55 minutes, costs ¥2,940 and offers the best connections to Shinkansen (bullet train) services or the JR Yamanote loop line. Trains usually depart Terminal 1 at around 15 and 45 minutes past the hour; there is one hourly departure between 12 Noon and 1 PM, and after 8 PM. Smoking is not permitted on board the Narita Express, and all seats are reserved. Brand new E259-series trains, which offer a smoother and more secure ride, have been introduced on the service from October 2009; they will be fully implemented on all runs by June 2010.

Alternatively, you can continue onward in the same train, which splits in two with the front half heading west to Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Omiya, while the rear cars go south to Shinagawa, Yokohama and Ofuna. Reservations are required but can be purchased just before boarding if there is space (and there usually is). If there is no space, JR will sell standing tickets for ¥500 less.

JR East sells a Suica fare card, called "Suica & N'EX" [7], exclusively to foreign visitors at a cost of ¥3500 for standard class and ¥5000 for the green car (First class). The cost includes a one-way discounted fare on the Narita Express (standard class or green class, depending on what is purchased) and regular JR lines from the airport to any destination in the Tokyo metropolitan area; ¥1500 to use on rail travel in Tokyo or on purchases at locations that accept the Suica card, and a ¥500 deposit. The "Suica & N'EX" card is sold only at Narita Airport, and can be purchased using cash or credit card. It can also be recharged with additional funds, but only by paying cash. (As an example, under this fare a one-way trip on the Narita Express from the airport to Shinjuku in standard class would cost only ¥1500, compared to the normal fare of ¥3110, but keep in mind that you will have to pay the normal fare to use the Narita Express for your return trip to the airport.)

JR also operates Rapid trains on the Sobu/Narita line, leaving once per hour and stopping at various points along the way, including Chiba. To Tokyo the trip is approximately 82 minutes and costs ¥1,280. These are normal, non-smoking commuter trains and often get crowded during rush hour (though boarding at Narita Airport should not be a problem).

If you have a voucher for a JR pass, then you should exchange it here at the JR View Plaza Travel Service Center (Regular JR ticket counter when the View Plaza is closed), as the Narita Express is free with a Japan Rail Pass. You can also make onward reservations from Tokyo.

Keisei Electric Railway's Skyliner.
Keisei Electric Railway's Skyliner.

Keisei line

The private Keisei (京成, stylized as K'SEI) line has trains to central Tokyo and a few that go directly to Haneda airport.

Keisei's Skyliner [8] with reserved seats costs ¥1920 and goes directly from Narita Airport to Ueno or Nippori in one hour, with a brief intermediate stop at Funabashi. Trains usually depart every 40 minutes. Smoking is permitted in the train's end cars (car 1 and car 8).

At Keisei Ueno Station, you can walk over to JR Ueno station to connect to the JR Yamanote line and northbound Shinkansen trains. A faster transfer to the Yamanote line can be done at Nippori Station, as both Keisei and JR share one station.

The New Skyliner

A new route for the Skyliner service will open in the summer of 2010, which will use a more direct route from Narita Airport into the Tokyo area. Currently coined the New Skyliner, these trains will travel over US$10 billion worth of new and refurbished track. With new trains operating at a top speed of 160 km/h, the New Skyliner will slash the travel time from Narita Airport's Terminal 2 and Nippori Station in Tokyo to 36 minutes (compared to 110 km/h and 51 minutes on the current Skyliner service). Fares for the New Skyliner have been set at ¥2400 each way.

There are also plans to eventually link Narita Airport to Haneda Airport via the new line, which may pose a serious threat to Airport Limousine bus service between these airports (see "By Bus").

In the interim, it will be interesting to see how the New Skyliner stacks up to JR East's refurbished Narita Express service. The selling point for the New Skyliner will be its speed into Tokyo, while the Narita Express will continue to promote its direct, one-seat service to Shinkansen trains and a good number of Tokyo's major train stations.

Keisei also offers a combination ticket for foreigners called the "Skyliner & Metro Pass". This special ticket consists of one Skyliner trip from Narita to Nippori or Ueno, plus an open ticket to ride all subway lines operated by Tokyo Metro for either one or two consecutive days. The cost for the Skyliner and a one-day open ticket on the Tokyo Metro is ¥2100, while the two-day option costs ¥2480. If you intend to use the Tokyo Metro frequently, this combination ticket will save you between ¥530 and ¥860 respectively, compared to purchasing Skyliner and Tokyo Metro open tickets separately. Note that this plan does not cover JR trains or subway trains operated by Toei. If you board a Tokyo Metro train that continues onto a non-Tokyo Metro railway line, you will have to pay a fare difference.

The budget option from Narita Airport is the limited express Keisei train, which costs ¥1000 to go to Ueno and Nippori. The limited express takes about 20 minutes longer than the Skyliner and can be crowded at rush hour, although boarding at Narita is rarely a problem. No smoking is permitted on these trains, and a Suica or PASMO card (see Tokyo/Get around) can be used.

Note that most, but not all limited express trains go to Ueno and Nippori, so check the train's destination before boarding. A few Keisei trains run through to the Toei Asakusa subway line. A few trains even go all the way to Haneda Airport on the Keikyu line. But in most cases, you can take a limited express train to Aoto station, and switch to the train across the platform for service on the Asakusa subway line, which can be used for going to Asakusa (75 minutes from Narita, ¥1120) and Ginza (Higashi-Ginza station, 90 minutes, ¥1160).

There are also the options of transferring at Funabashi station to the JR Chūō-Sobu line or at Katsutadai station to the Tōyō Rapid with through service to the Tōzai subway line, both of which go right through the middle of Tokyo. The Chūō-Sobu line goes through Akihabara (86 minutes from Narita, ¥1100), Ochanomizu, Yotsuya and Shinjuku (104 minutes, ¥1260) and facilitates an easy transfer to the regular JR Chūō express, which goes as far west as Tachikawa, Ōme, Takao and other destinations beyond. The Tōzai line takes a slight southern approach with stops including Kiba (77 minutes, ¥1400), Nihonbashi, Iidabashi and Takadanobaba (98 minutes, ¥1440).

Note that none of the subway or Chūō lines are specifically prepared for travelers with big luggage and tend to get crowded once inside the Yamanote ring, the exchanges at Katsutadai and Funabashi are usually rather pleasant though. Using a stored farecard (Suica or PASMO) will prove to be convenient.

By bus

There is also a network of Airport Limousine shuttle buses that serve most major hubs within Tokyo, stopping at major hotels, as well as some suburbs. Prices are comparable to the Narita Express train services (¥3,000/person), but are convenient for the first-time traveler as they take you directly to your hotel. The Airport Limousine is also the best way to transfer to Haneda Airport. The journey to most points in central Tokyo takes 90 minutes or so, but watch out in rush hour (especially on the way to the airport) as there may be traffic jams.

The Airport Limousine buses make three pickup stops (Terminal 1 North Wing, Terminal 1 South Wing, Terminal 2) and two dropoff stops (Terminal 1 and Terminal 2).

By taxi

A taxi to central Tokyo is extremely expensive, on the order of ¥30000 if you hail one directly by yourself (equivalent to a few nights stay in the average Tokyo hotel), and you are more likely to get stuck in a traffic jam than save any time. Flat fare taxi cabs to Tokyo go for around ¥17000-19000 from special taxi ranks, but even so, if you're in a hurry, it's generally much faster and cheaper to take the Narita Express or the Skyliner, and change to a taxi upon arriving in Tokyo or Ueno. If you're not in a hurry, consider the airport limousine bus.

Get around

The easiest way to go between Narita City and Narita Airport is by using the Retrobus[9], the tourist bus service operated by Narita City. There are seven daily trips from JR Narita station, stopping at major locations within the city (including the International Cultural Center, AEON Narita Shopping Center and Shinsoji Temple), as well as both terminals of Narita Airport. Buses depart from Narita Airport Terminal 2 at 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30 and 18:00; departures from Terminal 1 are 5 minutes later. The first three buses run directly from the airport to the Cultural Center and Shopping Center in about 20 minutes; the last bus at 18:00 only runs to JR Narita station.

It is also possible to go between the city and the airport by using the JR and Keisei local trains. These cost a bit less than ¥300 each way. The JR and Keisei stations in Narita are quite close to each other and a reasonably long walk from AEON Narita Shopping Center, the temple, et cetera.

There is also a slightly more complex local bus network run by Narita Kuko Kotsu[10] which is mainly useful for accessing the Aviation Museum and industrial areas around the airport. Fares for this line range from ¥150 to ¥420 depending on distance.

  • Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple (成田山新勝寺). [11]. Said to date back to 800 AD, the large temple has a wide assortment of classical Japanese pagodas and halls and a pleasant quasi-European park. Half the fun is getting there: the kilometer-long Omote-sandō from Narita station is a giant shopping arcade filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. Directions are available from the airport's Tourist Information Desk.
  • Sakura-no-Yama Hill (成田市さくらの山) [12] is located near the northern end of the main runway of Narita International Airport. Unfortunately there is no bus service to this location. There is nice little park with beautiful cherry trees and a good view of airplanes landing and taking off from the main runway.
  • Sanrizuka Goryo Ranch Memorial Hall (三里塚記念公園) [13]. +81 476 35-0442. 25min by bus from JR Narita Station. Open 9AM-4PM daily except Mondays. Admission free.
  • Museum of Aeronautical Science (航空科学博物館) [14]. +81 479 78-0557. About 15min by bus from Narita Airport (JR/Keisei Station). Open 10AM-5PM. Closed on Mondays, year end and new years holidays. There is a charge to get into the main building, which has an observation deck on the fifth floor.
  • Chiba Prefectural Flower and Tree Center (Botanical Garden) (千葉県立花植木センター) [15]. +81 476 32-0237. Open 9AM-4:30PM. Closed on Mondays, year end and new years holidays. Admission free.
  • Narita Tourist Pavilion (成田観光館). [16] +81 476 24-3232. Learn about Japanese Tea Ceremony every Thursday from 10:30AM. Open 10AM-6PM (June through September) and 9AM-5PM (October through May). Closed on Mondays and during year end period.


If you are going into Narita, make sure to get some Japanese ¥ as most places will not take foreign currency. The 7-Eleven outside of the west gate of JR Narita station takes foreign cards 24 hours a day, and there is also a post office with ATM a few blocks down the street from the am/pm store. Also allow a bit of time for exchanging back leftover currency on departure as this is not something you can do at an ATM!


Not that much. There is a large Aeon shopping mall outside of town, which you can get to by bus, if you absolutely have to visit a branch of the sporting goods store "The Sports Authority." There are souvenir stores on the road leading to the temple, as well as a reasonably interesting "100 yen" store -- which actually sells items for ¥105 including consumption tax -- along the way. Still, everything should be cheaper than at the airport.

Fishing on tarmac

Narita has no coastline, but officially it's still Japan's eighth-busiest fish port due to the vast quantities of frozen tuna and other premium sushi fish imported by air.

Many shops on the main street sell unagi (うなぎ) broiled eel in a sweet sauce. It can be expensive for a standard plate (unaju (うな重), layered on rice, is ¥1500) but it is quite tasty. Look for the guys cleaning and chopping the eels right by the street-side.

Another great option is takoyaki (たこ焼き), or fried octopus balls. These are popular on the go treats, going for Yen 360 for ten small takoyaki. Order zenbu (全部) to get all the toppings. There is a stand right by the Keisei line train station's main exit (left as you are leaving). Look for the little cartoon octopus pulling a cart of fried balls.

Don't forget to get a hot and sweet dorayaki (どら焼き), or sweet red bean pancake, from a little shop across the main street.

  • Papas is one good place to eat in Narita. It's a wee place not far from the main 'Sando' street, which only holds about 16 people. But the food is great (Japanese-style 'izakaya' type food, or 'Sets' at Yen 1500 for drink, starter and choice of main meal) and the service from Mama-san and Papa-san is first-rate. He speaks great English too!
  • Cafe Le Bon, (or The Spiral Staircase) is very close to Narita-san temple. Popular despite relatively late opening hours. It consists of one upper room with a semi circle of hot plates, on which your food is cooked in front of you. The menu consists of one item: an all-you-can-eat meal including a huge drink, Japanese salad, gyoza, oriental chicken, wedges and ice cream, starting around ¥1680 depending on what you're drinking. Stuffy and hot, but extremely welcoming, friendly, quick, and the food is delicious.
  • Grill House Hero's, 845-8 Hanasaki-Cho (walk down the little street to the right of JR Narita station), +81 476 22-9002. Open daily 5PM-0AM. One of the best places to eat Okonomi-yaki style food. Menu is available in English. Food prices range from ¥580(cheese omelette) to ¥1900 (Steak), Drinks are ¥320(softdrinks) and ¥550(Beer).
  • Lion's Den Across the street from the Barge. Old airline crew hang out. Local mom and pop restaurant with cheap dining selections.
  • Barge-Inn, Omote-sandō (the road leading to the temple), [17] Great pub serving western-style food, plus local & international beers. Every Saturday there's live music and/or dancing.
  • The JetLag Club, [18]. About 50yds round the corner from the Barge, there's another watering hole run by a Belgian guy named Vince. The beer's great, and the atmosphere is really friendly. Free popcorn is provided, as well as a delivery service from 'Papas'.
  • The Cage Out of the JR train station, straight through the plaza, right at the AM/PM, down about 100 yards, across the street, 2nd floor. Karaoke bar.


Narita has a large number of hotels in the vicinity and they are often cheaper than hotels in central Tokyo thus it may be worthwhile staying out at the airport on your first/last night. If you want to get a cheap rate, however, do book in advance as rates and availability for walk up customers are highly variable.

  • Comfort Hotel Narita, 968 Hanazaki-cho, Narita (Short walk from Keisei Narita and JR Narita stations), 476-24-6311 (FAX: 476-24-6321), [19]. Check in 3PM, Check out 10 AM. Singles from ¥5800, Twins from ¥6800, Doubles from ¥6500. Free continental breakfast. From Narita Airport, take the Keisei Line Tokkyū train (about 3 departures per hour) to Keisei Narita station. Take the east exit, walk across the overpass, and the hotel will be on the left side. You can catch Skyliner trains from Keisei Narita station to Nippori and Ueno throughout the day, as well as Narita Express trains from nearby JR Narita station to Tokyo station during the morning. Facilities include complimentary broadband Internet as well.
  • Mercure Hotel Narita, 818-1 Hanazaki-cho, Narita (Short walk from Keisei Narita and JR Narita stations), 476-23-7000 (FAX: 476-23-3911), [20]. Offers good, reasonably priced accommodation, with friendly staff, happy to speak English. It has a small but good selection of restaurants, and there's also a good bar, with TV, Pool Table, Internet Access etc.
  • Center Hotel Narita, 922 Hanazaki-cho, Narita (Short walk from Keisei Narita and JR Narita stations), 476-23-1133 (FAX: 476-23-1134), [21]. Free Continental Breakfast. Non Smoking Room. Stamp Card. VOD service.

Get out

If you have more than 8 hours to spare, you should seriously consider making the effort to visit Tokyo itself, although with limited time it really is best if you plan where you will go in advance of arriving at the airport.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Simple English

Narita is the international airport in Chiba, near Tokyo, Japan. It is located 65 km northeast from the city. Hub Airport of Japan`s flag carrier Japan Airlines.

The railway links are the NaritaExpress on the Narita line,, and the Skyliner, on the Keisei line

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