I have a 4 hour and 45 min layover in Tokyo on my way back to the United States from Bangkok. I looked on the Narita Int'l Airport website and it promoted that "if you have 4 hours or more between flights than you can can the airport and experience some of the real Japan." This s my first trip to Asia and I thought it would be cool to see a second country (and it only REALLY counts to say you've been to a place if you actually leave the airport! HAHA) whilst I'm there esp. if I have almost 5 hours to kill. The airport website said to visit the Narita-san Shinshoji Temple and the many old shops and attractions near to it. It says the temple is only a 15 min. train ride followed by a 15 min. walk (30 min. total) from the airport which means in theory I could take an hour to get there and back and spend at least an hour or 2 at the site with enough time to be back at the airport 2 hours or so before my flight back to the US. Has anyone out there done this? If so, how was it and would you recommend? I really don't wanna spend 5 hours in a boring airport when I can be out exploring a bit more before my return home. Also, as I assume my luggage will automatically be transferred on to the US (it wil, right?) I will only have to carry my hand luggage through Japanese customs which should make it fairly quick and easy. Anyone who has done this or something like it, please give me some advice. Thanks a lot!
I had 12 hours to kill at Narita one trip. I took the free shuttle to one of the hotels and walked from there. I did not have a single yen on me. Shuttle to hotel, walk to temple, shuttle back, try to sleep, granola bar, water and on the plane.
Check with information at the airport and find out what hotel is close to that temple. Or check with a travel helper that lives in Tokyo or Narita and ask them. Good Luck.
the town of Narita is a lovely place. I'd leave the airport and go there without a doubt!!!
I did this with just a 3 hour layover and it was nice (before all the security clearances - so you will need to adjust for time). I left my luggage at the airport and changed some yen (just a bit for the subway train and then possibly some food).
The temple is very nice and if you can go during a festival period (as I don't see when you will be there) -- it is really beautiful. There are a ton of shops and local markets that sell everything and it's pretty easy to navigate your way around the small town. I'm sure I used a credit card at some places but I can't recall to be honest and some places in Asia do not accept foreign credit cards, so just be aware of this.
I would recommend it for sure. it is a short ride there and short ride back. If you find the information desk, they can tell you the exact time but I think it was only about 25 min or less from what I recall. Just be sure to allow enough time now to get back through security.
Thank you gypsierose. It sounds like 5(ish) hours will be perfectly fine. I will be able to get to town with an hour or two there and still be able to get back to the airport 2 hours before my flight (pretty standard for int'l departures) to allow enough time for security. My checked luggage WILL go right on through to the U.S. I assume? And thus I will only have to go through security with my hand luggage which should be rather easy. I am most looking forward to my first trip to Asia and I'm very excited to be able to see TWO countries (even if Japan will only be a small taste) on one trip. Thanks for your tips