There goes Tokyo.
March 9, 2006 5:48 PM   Subscribe

TokyoFilter: My hubs and I will have a long layover at the Narita/Tokyo airport on June 2. How can we spend our time?

We're flying from Busan, Korea, and our flight lands at 4 p.m. We will be getting a hotel, and we don't fly out again until 11:30 the next morning. We have never been to Japan and would like to do something fun that night but I have no idea how close Narita is to Tokyo proper and what transportation will be like.

We'd like to maybe go to the Tokyo Trader Vics or Tiki Tiki but again, we have no idea how to get there. I would also like some really good fairly inexpensive sushi.

So... hotel suggestions? Ideas for things closer to the airport for us to see? Any MeFites wanna show us around? We'd like to go pretty cheap because we are low-maintainence travelers and this will be the beginning of a very long and expensive vacation to TAHITI! for our one-year anniversary.
posted by Brittanie to Travel & Transportation around Tokyo, Japan (13 answers total)
Best answer: I have a feeling there are plenty of previous posts that cover similar topics about travelling in Japan, so you might look into those. That said... I'm a native, so I don't really have any hotel suggestions except to say that if you choose to stay in a business hotel near the airport, I'm pretty sure the price, service and facilities would basically be the same anywhere you stay. Maybe others will have better suggestions.

Narita Airport, despite its misleading crown of "Tokyo International Airport," is NOT located in Tokyo. Just like Tokyo Disneyland is not in Tokyo. Narita Airport is in fact hours away from central Tokyo, where you will find places to go to and things to see like these. To get to these places, however, you have to take either a limousine bus or trains, and they COST A LOT, so if I were you, I wouldn't waste my precious time and money just to get yourselves to a chain restaurant where you could just go to in the States. My advice would be to ask someone at the hotel you check into for a local sushi place somewhere nearby, and spend a nice relaxing evening there with your hubby. But then, you sound young and since you'll be on one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips, I suppose you could try to shoot over to Roppongi and back in that limited time... but take my word, don't try to go to Yokohama. That's stretching things a bit far, I think. YMMV
posted by misozaki at 7:16 PM on March 9, 2006

Oh, and June is the rainy season here, so you might want to keep that in mind, too. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm being a spoilsport... maybe I'm just jealous because you get to go to Tahiti with your husband while I'll be stuck in dreary ol' Tokyo during the rainy season! ; )
posted by misozaki at 7:29 PM on March 9, 2006

Yeah, it was something like a three hour ride on the train from Narita to Ginza-cho, if I remember correctly... It's expensive as hell too, like all Japanese rail travel.
posted by SweetJesus at 7:45 PM on March 9, 2006

i say hop on the narita express and get into tokyo. when will you be back?

about 90 minutes or so to tokyo station by train (don't take the bus or anything else off rails). not sure the schedule to get you back out to the hotel by narita same night, so you may want to stay in tokyo + head back the next morning before your flight.

book seats ahead of time so you don't have to worry.

if this is too much logistics and $, you can always follow misozaki's advice, but s/he lives there, and when will the next time you're in tokyo be?
posted by elsar at 7:58 PM on March 9, 2006

Response by poster: Misozaki — thanks for your answer. I posted the question because I had a feeling Narita was going to be miles away from Tokyo itself. As for the "chain restaurant" thing, yeah, well, we don't live in the US, and don't plan to visit anytimme soon, so there's that. (We live in Korea.)

We've flown into and out of Tokyo dozens of times but have never left the airport. FYI, we do eventually plan to take a trip to Tokyo for a week or so.

I think a hotel close to the airport and a local sushi place are our best options. Thanks very much for the info.
posted by Brittanie at 8:01 PM on March 9, 2006

well if you've never been to tokyo, i guess that's something interesting to do and it sounds like you'll have plenty of time to hop on a train and take a look at tokyo.

with that having been said, my recommendation would be to check out the prefecture of Chiba, where the narita airport is.

the reason for this is that tokyo is simply big and while there are lots going on, your limited time may really overwhelm you or you may not be able to check things out as much as you wish.

since your arrival is at 4pm, there won't be much touristy thing you can do but you sure can check out temples and shrines you can check out. plus by june, the sun stays out longer.

here's a link to chiba prefecture sightseeing guide - try to stay focus on narita area or shimousa area.

i bet there are lots of local restaurants and small bars that you can check out which might give you a different feel from crowded restaurants in tokyo, too.

the airport has a tourist information booth - you can go there and get some last-minute travel tips too.
posted by grafholic at 8:08 PM on March 9, 2006

Here's a link to a site that attempts to answer the Narita Layover question.
posted by michswiss at 9:31 PM on March 9, 2006

Heh. I used to have 6-8 hour layovers in Narita. I'd take a cab just outside the airport, and then I'd go wander around and find random ramen shops or gawk at vending machines.
Then again, I lived in Yokohama for 6 years, too.

I dunno. It really depends on what you'll feel up to. The airport isn't really in Tokyo and it takes quite a while to get out of the area.

And the link michswiss posted is *excellent* - I'd hit up the Mister Donut. I miss that place!
posted by drstein at 9:35 PM on March 9, 2006

A five minute train ride from the airport is Narita City, a surprisingly authentic (sort of: I think it gets a lot of business people passing through, but not many foreign tourists, so the dynamic is much different) Japanese town with several good business hotels and a large, beautiful shrine. If you're pressed for time & would rather enjoy a small, walkable Japanese city, it might be the more navigable, & slightly more charming (as opposed to cosmopolitan) option.
posted by soviet sleepover at 11:00 PM on March 9, 2006

I concur with soviet sleepover. We got a free bus into Narita from our hotel, (the one the airline put us in).

If you've never been to Japan, trust me, Narita will be perfectly interesting enough. It's Japan! Everything's different! The hassle and expense of getting into Toyko isn't worth it, especially in the middle of a big international trip.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:09 AM on March 10, 2006

...or Tokyo for that matter...

posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:09 AM on March 10, 2006

I'll third soviet sleepover's recco of the town of Narita as a better destination for your circumstances. It's small enough that you can wander a good chunk of it without getting hopelessly lost; the temple Narita-san has pretty grounds to walk around on, and you'll save more than an hour commute time each way (and some money). The folks in Narita are used to dealing with foreigners.

Tokyo's Trader Vic's, btw, is a cool experience, but not in a Japan-experience way—anything but.
posted by adamrice at 7:03 AM on March 10, 2006

Yeah by all means, just visit Narita -- has everything you need for an authentic Japanese experience, and that temple's huge.
posted by Rash at 9:19 AM on March 10, 2006

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