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Apr 19, 2002 10:38 AM

Narita Airport

  • j

I am going to be traveling through Narita en route from Beijing back to the US, and have 4 hours' layover. Is it possible to get a decent meal there (say, like at the restaurants on the land side of the airport) without passing through immigration? Or, if I do have to go through immigration, are the lines to get back to the air-side of the airport manageable? It has always been a pleasure of mine to have a lunch (or whatever) at Narita in the middle of these flights, and to stock up on o-nigiri and other snacks for the long flight back to the East Coast, and I am not sure what impact 9/11 has had on the Japanese airport security situation. Thanks!

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  1. Did you already look at the following page?


    8 Replies
    1. re: Hiko Ikeda

      You'll can only get to the restaurants from the departure lounge.

      Otherwise you'll just have to contend with snacks in the transit lounge.

      1. re: Hiko Ikeda

        Yes, I looked at that before. It is just not clear to me whether the security is so strict now that I won't be able to get to the land-side and back with enough time for a meal.

        1. re: James G

          Hi James,

          With only a 4 hour layover, after clearing immigration and customs, you'll be cutting it really close. And, "yes", security screening at Narita has tightened up quite a bit since 9/11.


          1. re: Andy P.

            Andy, I'm going to disagree with you on this one; I don't think the security/immigration has gotten any tighter. I think if all James wants to do is stay in the airport, but get out to where there's more shops, there'll be plenty of time. (If you actually wanted to leave the airport, that's another story.) Coming back from Australia on Sunday, I got through immigration, picked up my bag, and cleared customs in about 20 minutes.

            Having said that, given that I have a re-entry permit, I use the Japanese line at immigration. The line for foreigners can be ridiculously long (and it was on Sunday night). I think that's the part that could be dicy. Doing the security check to get back in is no slower than before, and immigration to get out of Japan has speeded up a bit now that Japanese nationals don't have to fill out those cards any more.

            Enjoy your layover!

            1. re: Rachel M.
              Simon Gittins

              Something to be aware of if you are making a quick trip out to "land side" at Narita (I did this a few years ago during a layover to post some parcels at the airport post office), is that you are liable to pay the hefty Japanese departure tax. You can avoid this if you explain what you are doing at the airport information desk BEFORE going through immigration.

              1. re: Simon Gittins

                I thought they changed the system a couple of years ago and now include the departure tax with the ticket, instead of having you pay it at the time you clear immigration?

                1. re: Lori D

                  Yep, that's correct, so that shouldn't be a worry for James (although it could never hurt to check).

                  Between that and all the renovations they've made, it's almost a tolerable airport to use nowadays. Now if the airlines would just start letting you check in at Hakozaki again...

        2. re: Hiko Ikeda

          Is there a similar map of the Kansai International food scene? Or Kyoto station?