11-hour-layover in Japan - Stay in Narita

Having a long layover is a great opportunity to explore new city. When I fly internationally, I always try my best (if I am able to) to choose a long layover in order to get out to the city to either go shopping or sightseeing. At the end of 2016, I had a new year's eve countdown with my friend in Korea thanks to my 12-hour-layover; it was one of the best experiences EVERRR!!! And this year 2018, I am going to have a 11-hour-layover in JAPAN, my favorite country!!!!!!

My itinerary:
Mon 22, 2018: arrive at Narita at 6:45 AM
Layover in Tokyo for 11h 10m
Mon 22, 2018: depart from Narita at 5:55PM

I have 2 options to choose from:
-either to stay in Narita area or
-go to Tokyo

Disclaimer: this is only my planning, I did not actually go yet. I am still debating whether to stay in Narita or go to Tokyo. Each plan has its pros and cons and I am gonna go into more detail later.

***Just so you know, I would be traveling alone and my purpose of layover in Japan is: 60% shopping, 20% sightseeing and 20% food. (Yup, I am all about shopping because I love Japanese brands)

This post I am going to talk about staying in Narita area.

Where I want to go:
  • Aeon Mall
  • Mega Don Quijote
  • Omote Sando Street & Shinsho-ji temple  (I have to cross this one out since there are a lot of walking; I would have to walk from Narita station via Omote Sando Street to the temple and from there to Don Quijote. I do not mind walking but the weather would be freezing in January and google maps shows very very local path and I obviously do not want to get lost; so sadly there is no sightseeing in this option.

Here is what I planned:

1. First arrive at Narita international airport
***There is a direct bus from Narita airport to Aeon Mall ( 250 yen for 20-25 minutes) at gate 28C but the earliest departure is at 9:50AM, I do not want to wait that long so I decide to take the train and bus to Aeon Mall)
***Buy IC card at the airport (Suica or Pasmo card-prepaid transportation card) so you do not have deal with cash

2. Take JR line train to Narita Station- 200 yen (~12 minutes)
NRT-Narita station.PNG 434.95 KB
3. From Narita Station, take Keisei bus straight to Aeon Mall - 210 yen (~10 minutes)
Bus timeable: http://narita-aeonmall.com.e.vd.hp.transer.com/static/detail/access-bustime5/

4. Aeon Mall probably does not open at the time I get there so I will head to Don Quijote (opens 24/7) which is 600 meters away-~7 mins (Aeon opens at 10AM).
Aeon to Donquijote Narita.PNG 366.52 KB
5. After shopping at Don Quijote, I will walk back to Aeon Mall.
Stores I want to go in Aeon Mall: Uniqlo, Muji, Daiso, Aeon supermarket.
Aeon floor guide: http://narita-aeonmall.com/floorguide-tr/html5.html#page=2

6. After hanging out and eating at Aeon, take direct bus at entrance G from Aeon Mall to Narita Airport terminal 2 - 250 yen (20-25 minutes)
Bus timeable: http://narita-aeonmall.com.e.vd.hp.transer.com/static/detail/access-bustime3
>>>I would take the bus at 14:10 PM

Pros and cons:

Pros:
  • no risk
  • no pressure on time, plenty of time to go around and shop
  • easy transportation
  • cheaper to go around Narita area than going to Tokyo
Cons:
  • No sightseeing
  • Narita does not have the chain restaurants I want to go to ( Ichiran Ramen or Genki sushi)

And don't forget visa:

I need a visa to enter Japan but I know that if you have US passport, you do not need one (I am not sure about other countries tho). But applying for transit visa is really easy, you just need your itinerary, passport, 2x2 inches photo, a visa of the country you are heading to, and $6 fee. The processing time took more than a week for me.

Overall:

-Staying in Narita is more doable, cheaper and less time-consuming. No sighseeing is a big turn off ( I know that I crossed out the only sightseeing in this plan but I think it is appropriate to do so).
-This plans is perfect for anyone who loves shopping and have less than 11 hours of layover

That's it for my plan in Narita. This is based on my personal preference, please adjust it accordingly. I will post my plan to Tokyo later and then choose either plan to stick to. Thank you for reading!

Khanh Vuong