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Friday, January 27, 2017

How to Enjoy Japan at the Airport before Leaving

Leaving Japan can be one of the saddest parts of your Japan trip. You just spent time exploring parts of the country and now you travel to the airport in order to wait for your flight back home. Your time at the airport doesn't have to be sad. The airport has a lot to offer before leaving Japan. I've departed from two airports in Japan so far: Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka and Narita International Airport (NRT) in Chiba Prefecture. For the sake of this blog post I'll be discussing the Narita Airport which is the most popular airport to be used for travel to and from Japan.

As mentioned before, Narita Airport is located in Chiba Prefecture, right next to Tokyo, and serves as an airport for the Tokyo area. From Tokyo Station to Narita Airport Terminals, it takes a bit more than a hour by train. While on the train you'll see the scenery go from condensed city to a more open city. As I'm from the United States, I've only used Terminal 2 and 3 so far (Terminal 1 is on its own). Once you enter the airport you'll need to take care of some business first such as returning any items you've rented during your trip such as a portable wifi. Then you'll want to check in with your airline and get them any luggage you're not going to carry-on. And now you're ready to wait for your flight by killing some time.
A cool manga mural I found at the Narita International Airport.
Now, depending on how early you get to the airport will determine how many of these things you can do before leaving on your flight back home.

Souvenir Shopping

There could be two reasons for souvenir shopping at the airport:
1: You forgot to buy someone or yourself a souvenir from Japan.
2: You still have some yen left over and you don't want to cash it in for your own currency or you don't want to bring any yen back home.

I've done both of those things before. The airport is not a bad place to do it either. The shops in the airport have everything you can think of, from Japanese brand electronics to packaged foods. I like to spend the last of my money on the food products such as Kit-Kats and other Japanese snacks. If you don't want a souvenir but would like to shop for daily use items such as cosmetics, they have a store in the airport for that too.

Let's say you only have coins left and just want to buy something small for yourself while you wait for your flight; they've got you covered. At the airport you'll find an assortment of vending machines that can help you get a drink or some ice cream.


This is a unique thing to do as you wait for your flight. I don't see many airports have little exhibits for people to check out. It's like having a tiny museum exhibit in the airport. When I was leaving for my flight I noticed the exhibit they had available at the time was on kabuki, traditional Japanese theater. It was just a small explanation of what kabuki was but it's a nice option to have if you're looking for something different to do than the usual.


And now for the usual. Grab a bite to eat before you take off. This is your last chance to have Japanese food from Japan before leaving for your flight back home. You won't be able to have this food again until you go back to Japan (and that's the question that's on your mind while you wait for your flight, "When will I be able to come back to Japan?"). You have a selection of food to choose from depending on your wait time. If your plane will be leaving soon they have onigiri (rice balls) and such from small kiosks or stores. Do you have two or three hours of waiting to do? Try a sit-down place in the airport. You can get your last bowl of ramen or go for the popular choice, sushi. They have a lot of sushi places available to grab your last few sushi before you leave for home. Be wary of the wait though, you don't want to miss your flight! Or do you????

I hope you all enjoyed this post. This can be a very sad topic because leaving Japan is just a sad experience. My very first time leaving Japan, I remember crying on the train to the airport. It was very sad, but not anymore because I know I can always go back now. But sorry if my pictures are a little blurry. I tried to take them as fast as I could because I was running out of time for my flight.

As always, thank you for reading my blog! For more Japan related content and fun stuff go follow me on Facebook and Instagram, along with clicking that follow button at the top of the page to get updates on when I post since I don't have a strict schedule (this button was just recently added because I didn't know how to work this thing).