Discover Narita airport

Often, you arrive at the airport well ahead of time to avoid problems like missing your flight. Somehow, you have to make the best out of your time there. That's why this post is about what there is to do at Narita airport.


Since the Narita airport is very large, it can be quite difficult to navigate. Narita airport has developed a mobile phone application for both Apple and Android devices. By entering your flight number, you will be automatically notified of any gate or schedule changes on the day of departure. It can also show your location within the terminal and guides you to the desired destination. It also contains flight information and terminal maps. The search function can be used to find shops and facilities at Narita airport. You can get the app free of charge in the following languages: Japanese, English, simplified and traditional Chinese, and Korean.

Click here to find out more or find it in the app stores with the application name: NRT_Airport Navi.

Since not a lot of people understand and speak English in Japan, Narita airport has also developed a translation app for tourists. It translates from: Japanese ⇔ English, Chinese, Korean. So, you can speak a sentence in Japanese into the mobile phone like in normal phone conversations and it will translate the sentence in the language of choice (English, Chinese, or Korean) or the other way around. So you can let the other person speak Japanese and the mobile phone will translate the sentence to a language you understand or speak a sentence in the language English, Chinese or Korean to have it translated to Japanese (so you can show the screen to the other person).

Click here to find out more or find it in the app stores with the application name: NariTra.

It is advised to have a flat rate service with your mobile phone subscription, since the apps use the 3G network for translation and retrieval of flight information.

Free Internet access

For some last minute email checking or looking up travel information, there are several places at Narita airport where you can get free Internet access with your own laptop, tablet, or mobile phone as well as with computers on site that you can freely use. You can find out more over here

Now that you have done enough preparation, let's start with actually walking around.

Plane spotting

For the boyfriends, husbands, and children, or even yourself, who like to watch airplanes take off and land, there are two observation decks at Narita airport. One is located on the 5th floor of terminal 1 and the other one is on the 4th floor of terminal 2. There are telescopes to get a close-up look and small openings in the fence to be able to make pictures without obstruction.

More information can be found on this page of the official Narita airport website.

As the rest of your travel companions are now preoccupied with plane spotting or using the Internet and you know where to find them later again, you can be at ease to do some shopping. 


There is a lot to shop and see even before passport control, so spend your time wisely.

Here are some stores that I recommend:

Before passport control

- Lawson convenience store
   Terminal 1, Central Building, 5th Floor, 06:00-23:00
You can buy some candies, drinks, snacks, and food here. The product range is however limited like in ordinary convenience stores.
At one of the other convenience stores, I don't remember which one exactly, I found some interesting candy.  These two packs of candy contain mini brick shaped chewy candy. The one on the left with red packaging is Azuki (red bean) flavored and the one on the right has a cantaloupe flavor. The flavor is very rich and it has a nice chewiness.

Japanese azuki bean chewing candyJapanese cantaloupe chewing candy/caramel

- Drug store Omori
Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 4th Floor, 07:00-20:00 

It has a wide range of medicines, cosmetics, confectionery, and miscellaneous items. This is where I bought these Kitkats in two hard to find flavors. The most delicious was the Annen Dofu flavor. It has a very special almond flavor, which I like a lot. I am definitely going to buy this again. The other box with 12 mini sized Kitkats is the Yokohama edition Kitkat, which has a strawberry cheesecake flavor, and I also bought a small pack of strawberry flavored Kitkat.

Kit Kat annin dofu flavor in Japan
Kit Kat Yokohama edition strawberry cheesecake flavor found in Japan

Strawberry Kit Kats in Japan

- It's demo.
Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 4th Floor, 07:30-20:00
This little store is solely meant for women. It has many cosmetics and trendy accessories. I spend quite some time here and bought a gel nail top coat, two pairs of earrings and a watch.

It's Demo gold watch bought at Narita airportIt's Demo rose gold flower earrings
Gel top coatIt's Demo gold, heart earrings

- Seiko store. 
   Terminal 1, Central Building 4th floor, 07:30-20:30
In this store, there is a small sales area, where you can find several watches for a lower discounted price than at Yodobashi.

- Ruinas el dia
Terminal 2, Main Building, 4th Floor, 07:30-21:00
Here you can find affordable jewellery and accessories from the Japanese Ruinas brand. I have bought Ruinas jewellery before, read more over here.

- Aoyama Book Center
Terminal 1, Central Bldg, 4th Floor, 08:00-20:00 

Tsutaya book store
Terminal 1, South Wing, 4th Floor, 07:00-21:00 
If you haven't been able to find a book store during your vacation in Japan, you can still buy a whole bunch of Japanese magazines and mooks with nice freebies at these two stores. Read my post about Japanese fashion magazines and mooks over here
ABC Mart
Terminal 1, Central building, 4th floor. 08:00-20:00
ABC Mart is a shoe store chain with affordable shoes (men, female, and sneakers).

Samantha & chouette gallery
Terminal 1, Central Building, 4th floor. 08:00-20:00
This is the more affordable sister brand of Samantha Thavasa.

After passport control

- Fa-So-La TAX FREE Asakusa and Akihabara.
Terminal 1, North Wing, 3rd Floor, 07:30-20:30
At these two stores you can find many Japanese confectioneries and small miscellaneous goods from the Asakusa and Akihabara areas in Tokyo.

- Fa-So-La TAX FREE Harajuku
 Terminal 1, South Wing, 3rd Floor, 07:30-20:30
Here you can find a selection of fashion accessories from the Harajuku area in Tokyo.

- Samantha Thavasa.
   Terminal 2, Main Building, 3rd floor. 7:30-21:30 
You can buy bags here from the Japanese Samantha Thavasa brand. They are famous for their cute leather bags with large stuffed dolls bag hangers.

- Nippon Origami Museum
  Terminal 1, Central Building, 3rd floor. 08:30-20:00
Here, you can find an exhibition with more than 400 traditional origami. You can also buy origami books and paper in the shop and start making them yourself. After looking around, you can snack on one of the 200 varieties of Japanese and Western confectionery that they have on offer. 



I normally eat a bento during the long train trip to Narita airport, so I cannot really recommend any good restaurants at the airport. I did have some interesting finds that I would like to share.

- McDonalds.
Opening hours: 06:30-21:00
It is a bit weird to see me recommend McDonalds to you, while there is a lot of delicious Japanese food out there that you might not have tried yet. It is however only on this recommended list due to the Japan-only Ebi Filet-O (fried shrimp burger, pronounce: E-bi Fi-re-to) and the early opening hours. I have ordered one before and it has a sweet delicate seafood taste to it. It is a light snack, similar to a normal hamburger size.

Starbucks Coffee.
Opening hours: 7:00-21:30
My all-time favorite drinks at Starbucks are the frappuchinos. In Japan, they have very special flavors during the time I was there: the green tea frappuchino and the chocolate cookie crumble frappuchino with white chocolate pudding. As I already had the green tea frappuchino in Hong Kong, I ordered the chocolate cookie crumble frappuchino with white chocolate pudding. It was very delicious, so if you happen to see it, go have a try!

Starbucks chocolate cookie crumble frappuchino with white chocolate pudding in Japan

- Tako-bon
Terminal 2, Main Building, 4th Floor, 08:30-21:00
This is the most famous takoyaki restaurant originated from Osaka, so even if you did not go to Osaka, you can still have a taste of these delicious ball-shaped snacks with pieces of octopus in it.

Getting your nails done

If you still have a bit of time left after all that shopping and snacking, you should try a manicure. Japan is famous for their extraordinary nail art, it would be a big waste not to try a manicure in Japan. Even if you could not find the time for it before, you still have your one last chance at Narita airport. There are two Nailquick stores, one in each of the terminals. On average, it costs around 1,500 to 2,000 yen for a manicure depending on what you want done. For more information and a price list of the nail services, click here.

You might also want to read my post about how to get to (or leave from) Narita airport.

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