What to Do During a Layover at Narita International Airport

Layovers don’t need to be boring. Make an incredible plan to leave the airport during your downtime to experience the best places near Narita International Airport.
What to Do During a Layover at Narita International Airport

There’s no need to hang around the airport during your layover. Whether you have an unexpected delay or an extra-long break, heading into Narita, Japan, ensures you make the most of your visit.

Narita International Airport is located about 60km from central Tokyo. As one of the biggest airports in Japan and one of the busiest in the world, you're likely to spend some time here during a visit to Japan. 

Since the airport is situated within Narita City, you can easily head out and explore the nearby attractions during an extended layover. If that sounds like a better option than sitting around the terminal building waiting for your connecting flight, then this is the guide for you.

This guide will help you to discover what there is to do and see around Narita City Airport and decide what you would like to do based on the length of your layover. Read on to find out what to do near Narita Airport.

What to do during a short layover (fewer than 8 hours)

The following activities are ideal if you have a shorter layover of under 8 hours and are looking for things to do near Narita Airport:

Visit Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

Visit Naritasan Shinshoji Temple

If you're interested in the cultural and spiritual side of Japan, then going to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple to pray for a safe journey may be appealing. This large and popular Buddhist temple near Narita Airport is in Narita City, making it the ideal spot to visit during a layover. Ideally, you'll want to have about 2 - 3 hours open if you want to visit this temple to make it worthwhile. Built during the 10th century, Naritasan Shinshoji Temple is the place to learn more about the history of Japan. There are a few different temple buildings to explore and a large park so it's a lovely place to while away the time until your next flight.

How to get to Naritasan Shinshoji Temple: Catch the JR Narita Line train or Keisei Line train from Terminal 1 Station to Narita Station. It takes about 10 - 15 minutes to reach Narita Station and then another 15 - 20 minutes on foot to reach Naritasan Shinshoji Temple from the station so plan accordingly.

• Address: 1 Narita, Chiba 286-0023
• Operating Hours: 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily
• Note: A guide is only available from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Go shopping at AEON Mall

Go shopping at AEON Mall

Enjoy shopping at Shisui Premium outlets in AEON Mall. This outlet store near Narita Airport in Chiba offers an exclusive shopping experience that you just won't get from the shops at the airport. Here you'll find some of the most interesting and fun shops in all of Japan—so definitely worth a visit if you have time to spare and an urge to shop. You can also check out the supermarket if you're looking for affordable snacks for your flight.

How to get to AEON Mall: There are direct buses that leave from the airport every few minutes and go straight to the mall. It takes about 20 minutes to get there and it's a good idea to check the schedule in advance as times can change and you don't want an unexpected delay.

• Address: 24 Uingutsuchiya, Narita, Chiba 286-0029
• Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily

Relax at Sora no Yu Narita Airport Onsen

Relax at Sora no Yu Narita Airport Onsen

Travel can be stressful, so visiting Narita Airport Onsen for a relaxing and pampering experience is likely exactly what you need during a layover. The facility is right next to the airport making it the perfect activity for a short layover. This natural Narita hot spring is supplied by free-flowing iodine-rich saltwater from deep underground that gives it a smooth velvety feel. Besides the lure of healing natural hot spring waters, the facility has a hot stone spa, bedrock baths, restaurants, a gym, a relaxation area, open-air baths on the roof, and an entertainment space. If you're looking for places to stay near Narita Airport, the capsule hotel here is a great option.

How to get to Sora no Yu Narita Airport Onsen: The Onsen is only 4km from the airport and you can book a free shuttle bus to transfer you between the airport and Onsen.

• Address: 27-1 Kayama-shinden, Shibayama-machi, Sambu-gun, Chiba 289-1601
• Operating Hours: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily
• Note: The Onsen is open during these set hours but the hours for various services differ so check these with the facility.

Taste the famous local eel rice

Taste the famous local eel rice

If you're a foodie, then planning a dining experience for your short layover is a must. In Narita City, you'll find the famous local eel rice dish at Kawatoyo. This restaurant is a hidden gem and the best place to try this unique meal. You'll notice this fascinating restaurant from the street simply by the sweet aroma coming from it. But you'll likely also see an interesting scene as the chefs roast eels on open grills and the staff prepares skewers to serve them on. Make your way past this buzz of activity and enter the restaurant to place your order. 

How to get to Kawatoyo: It is located about halfway between Narita Station and Naritasan Shinshoji Temple so you can visit both on the same trip. Catch the JR Narita Line train or Keisei Line train from Terminal 1 Station to Narita Station. Then walk towards the temple complex keeping an eye out for the restaurant along the traditional Narita-san Omotesando street.

• Address: 386 Nakamachi, Narita, Chiba 286-0027 
• Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily

What to do during a long layover (more than 8 hours)

The following activities are best if you have a longer layover of 8 hours or more and are looking for a tourist spot near Narita Airport to explore:

Explore Ueno Park

Explore Ueno Park

Since you have enough time to explore the surrounding area, head to Ueno Park in Tokyo. This large public space is full of museums, shrines, and even a zoo. The park grounds were originally the Kaneiji Temple but after being destroyed during the Boshin Civil War they were converted into the first Western-style park in Japan which has been open to the public since 1873. The park is most famous for the plethora of museums that can be found on the premises. So, if you have time to kill and want to learn more about Japanese culture, this is the place to visit. The Ueno Zoo is also a popular spot for visitors; especially if you want to see pandas.

How to get to Ueno Park: Take the train from Narita Airport all the way to JR Ueno Station. Ueno Park is just a short walk from the bustling hub of the station. The trip takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

• Address: Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007
• Operating Hours: 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily

Visit Toshogu Shrine

Visit Toshogu Shrine

There are many shrines to visit in Ueno Park. However, Toshogu Shrine is one of the remaining structures from the original Kaneiji Temple complex. Built in 1606, the Ueno Toshogu Shrine is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the founder of the Edo Shogunate and there are several such shrines dotted across Japan. This lovely shrine also has a Botan Garden that is open during certain seasons.

How to get to Toshogu Shrine: The shrine is in Ueno Park, so follow the same directions as above.

• Address: 9-88 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007
• Operating Hours: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM daily

Go shopping at Ameyoko

Go shopping at Ameyoko

If you're in the mood for some shopping near Narita Airport, then Ueno is a good destination for you as well. Between Ueno Station and Okachimachi Station along the JR Yamanote Line, you'll find a popular commercial street known as Ameyoko. This is actually the shortened version of the real name "Ameya Yokocho" which translates to "candy stores" street. The bustling street now consists of a wide variety of shops ranging from food stalls to clothing stores and everything in between. Combine a visit to Ueno Park, Toshogu Shrine, and Ameyoko if you have a lot of time free.

How to get to Ameyoko: Take the train from Narita Airport all the way to JR Ueno Station. 

• Address: Ueno-Hirokoji Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Taito City, Tokyo 110-0007
• Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily

Enjoy a Shitamachi-style night in Asakusa

Enjoy a Shitamachi-style night in Asakusa

Asakusa is known as Tokyo's "shitamachi" which basically means that it is a traditional part of the city that also sports Western influences. This famous district attracts tons of travelers because there is just so much to do and see. Asakusa was originally the lively entertainment-orientated district of Tokyo during the Edo era and Japan's first cinema was even built here. If you want a true shitamachi-style experience, you could opt for a night foodie tour of the district as a way to explore Asakusa and enjoy the tasty delicacies such as soba noodles.

How to get to Asakusa: Take the Keisei Main Line train or Keisei Skyacces from either of the terminal stations at Narita Airport until you reach Asakusa station.

• Address: Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 111-0032
• Operating Hours: 24/7

Taste the famous local tempura at Kikuya

Taste the famous local tempura at Kikuya

If you love food, then you likely want to enjoy as many Japanese dishes as possible during your visit. There are several dining options for you to try at Narita International Airport. Alternatively, you could head out into Narita City to indulge in something tasty like the local eel rice. However, if you're in the mood for some traditional Japanese tempura, visit Kikuya while you're sightseeing near Narita Airport. Kikuya is rated as one of the top places to 

taste the famous local tempura in the region so it's worth a visit.

How to get to Kikuya: Catch the JR Narita Line train or Keisei Line train from the Terminal 1 Station to Narita Station.

• Address: 385 Nakamachi, Narita, Chiba 286-0027
• Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily

An enjoyable layover

Spending a layover at Narita International Airport doesn't need to be a tedious experience. With so many engaging attractions near Narita Airport, use this guide to help you plan your visit and create more unforgettable memories.

To make your journey even smoother, get to know the essential terminal transfer information for Narita Airport. By doing your research ahead of time, you won’t need to worry about getting lost when you’re in a hurry.

Make the most of your time in Japan by exploring Narita City and Tokyo while waiting for your next flight. Japan Airlines will help you enjoy your Japanese travel experience to the fullest – including your layover.

Getting There