What I look forward to when traveling is experiencing the culture. On the other hand, if there’s any part of traveling that I’d rather skip it’s the wait time – from the boarding, to layovers, to the actual flight. To make good use of the wait time I would have my ebooks ready, or connect to the WIFI and surf away. So I usually end up having tired and strained eyes from all the reading.
It’s different, though, in the case of all my wait times in the Narita International Airport in Japan. I actually look forward to every couple of hours’ stay here, and I feel like I discover new places or things to do in this airport every time I check in or drop by for a connecting flight.
Just like most places in Japan, the Narita International airport is efficient, safe and clean. The airport staff is polite and accommodating. WIFI is free, and connection is fast. On top of these, here are what sets the Narita International Airport apart for me:
Information at my fingertips
Narita has a chatbot named Bebot that travelers can use as airport reference guide. I was able to use this on my iPhone during my last trip, when I asked how to get to another other terminal. The responses were quick, accurate and delivered in a conversational tone. After my questions were answered I was asked what I thought of the airport – and of course I gave it a thumbs up and said I loved it. Bebot’s response to this was rather very charming.
Bebot, the chatbot
A cute response from Bebot
Narita Observation Deck
In Terminal 1 we were able to access the observation deck where we could view the airplanes on the runway. Access is free and the deck is located at the fifth floor. The deck is enclosed with steel fence, and there were several benches.
NAA Art Gallery
Located at the fifth floor of Terminal 1 is the NAA Art Gallery. At the time, photographs of Mt. Fuji taken from different angles and seasons were being displayed. The photographers were friendly and even gave me and my husband a photo souvenir each.
NAA Art Gallery at Terminal 1
My last trip to Tokyo was for three days, and it was a stopover coming from North America en route to the Philippines. I did not want to tow my big luggage with me in the city, so I opted to avail of the baggage storage services of the airport. After paying the fee (around 520 yen per day for my medium-sized bag), I was given a claim stub and off I went. It was such a relief and convenience walking luggage-free to the city and to my hotel.
The post office is located at the fourth floor of Terminal 1. I was able to send the postcards which I bought from the souvenir shops to family and friends abroad.
Japanese cultural experience
Travelers can get to experience the traditional culture of Japan through dressing in samurai armor and having a photo taken as a souvenir; or hands on experience on Ukiyo-e printing. Allow for at least an hour before boarding to be able to participate in this as there may be a queue. I was able to take home my Ukiyo-e print, frame and display it.
My Ukiyo-e print finished product
Dressing in samurai armor
At Terminal 1 the Kabuki exhibit shows costumes, wigs, and accessories. I am always amazed by the colorful displays in this gallery.
Kabuki Gate at Narita Airport
I like Japanese souvenirs because they’re yummy, cute, colorful, and unique. My favorite purchases are green tea, doll-shaped rice crackers, Royce Nama chocolates, different flavored Kitkats, and Tokyo Banana. The stationery and pastries in the souvenir shops are packaged so nicely, I’m sometimes hesitant to take off the wrapping.
So far these are what I discovered and enjoy whenever I am at the Narita International Airport. I’m sure I’ll have more visits to come (Japan is my favorite holiday destination!) and I will find more places and activities to rave about.
Have you been to Narita International Airport? What did you think of it?