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Our trip to the US was via Japan Airlines (JAL), which meant we had a layover at Narita International Airport where we changed planes. The stop was over three hours and so I took my time walking from our arrival gate towards our boarding gate in the satellite terminal of the airport. This was so I could get a few, ok a lot, of photos. Of course, I wasn’t able to and didn’t take photos at sensitive areas of the airport (immigration, security checks) as these areas prohibit the use of camera and cellphones.
Passengers walk towards the terminal building upon deplaning
Signs show the way for transfer passengers (Green) and those staying in Japan (Yellow).
The long corridor connecting the main Terminal 2 to the satellite is quite spacious.
There are moving walkways along one side of the connector’s right corridor.
Information screens for Terminal 2 departures
Example of a cafe inside the Narita terminal
Play or lounge area for passengers along the wide bridge connecting Terminal 2 with its satellite
Clean and elegant architecture for Narita Airport’s Terminal 2 connection with its satellite
We really liked the “modern Asian” feel of the interior of Narita Airport
Doorway to the satellite with signs clearly showing the way to the boarding gates
Information screens for departing flights at Narita’s Terminal 2
Familiar green telephones and phone card dispensers
Our boarding gate for the Narita – San Diego leg of our trip
I will be writing a few more articles on airports in future posts.
On our most recent trip to Japan, we took Philippine Airlines instead of the usual Delta in our previous trips. For one, PAL offered full service at a competitive price (Delta and JAL were more expensive) and the new schedules meant we could fly to Narita in the morning and arrive there early afternoon, and return to Manila in the evening. This was practically Delta’s schedule. It also helped that PAL was using NAIA Terminal 2 so that meant a better terminal for us compared to the congested and dilapidated NAIA Terminal 1. Of course, there were other choices including ANA, which I would have preferred if only it wasn’t so expensive even compared to JAL. Low cost carriers were also not on our list as we had the budget for full service and we didn’t like the schedules.
We arrived at Narita after a smooth flight and our plane proceeded to Terminal 2, which most Asian airlines use. I have not used this terminal for quite some time now as I usually planed in via Delta or its predecessor Northwest. The last time I was in Terminal 2 was in 1999 when I was returning home to Manila after 3 years in Yokohama, Japan. That time, I used JAL as part of my benefits of being a Monbusho scholar.
Moving walkway or “walkalator” to the arrivals area for immigration processing.
A view of aircraft docked at the airport shows a couple of JAL planes and one of Cathay Pacific. I like JAL’s old logo compared to its new one. This retro look gives you a feeling of nostalgia.
A computer-generated, anime image of an airport staff member greeting arriving passengers to Japan.
Entry towards the immigration counters
Past immigration and proceeding towards the baggage claim area.
Descending to the baggage claim area, passengers are provided information on a huge board on which carousel their baggage will be coming out of. To be sure, ground staff hold a placard directing PAL passengers to the assigned carousel.
Narita’s expanse becomes more obvious at the baggage claim area.
Luggage coming out for passengers to pick up from the carousel.
Ground staff remind passengers to check whether they got the correct luggage from the carousel. Many bags are identical so people should have a distinctive feature on their luggage whether its a tag, sticker, strap or others.
Airport limousine bus counters – there are limousine buses bound for many destinations in the Kanto area. I usually took the limousine bus to get back to Yokohama when I was a student in Japan in the 1990s.
Keisei Skyliner train counter – the Skyliner is less expensive than the limousine buses and for those who travel light, it is a good option going to Tokyo. The last two stops are at Nippori and Ueno Stations where one can easily transfer to JR or subway lines. Other rail options are JR’s Narita Express (NEX) and JR Yokosuka-Sobu Line’s Airport Narita service. I usually take the latter from Yokohama Station.
Giant electronic boards at the arrival lobby provide information on flights arriving and departing Narita Terminal 2.
Our hosts gave instructions to take the limousine bus but part of our group were fetched by car. I was invited to join them because we were staying at the same hotel. The others stayed at another hotel. And so we walked to the upper level of the terminal to cross towards the parking building. The yellow line in the photo is a standard feature of many facilities in Japan that make them PWD-friendly. These are guides for blind people who can use their canes to “feel” the directions.
Another view of the information board from the upper level of the terminal.
Quite an unusual description of the parking building levels, which we thought were signature Japanese.
Floor information for Terminal 2
On the bridge from Terminal 2 to the parking building, we have a good view of the driveway and the slots for VIPs.
Paying for parking at one of the machines at the parking building.
We were curious about the sign that also mentioned a pet hotel. I guess travelers who didn’t have anyone to leave their pets with at home can now have the convenience of checking in their pets at the hotel to take care of the animals while they were away.
Waiting zone for vehicles – our host went to get our vehicle while we waited at the designated area.
I am already looking forward to a next trip to Japan. Perhaps I will take PAL again in a future flight? Actually, I was a bit disappointed that they used a smaller plane for our flight even if it was a new Airbus A321 Neo. I think I got used to the B747s that Delta and JAL used for their flights (I think JAL and ANA now uses the fuel efficient B777’s while Delta retained its B747s that eventually continue to the US). I think the smaller aircraft by PAL was the result of a combination of cost cutting (fuel-wise) and their increasing the frequency of flights. No matter, if you know that a nice airport like Narita is waiting on the other end of trip, it is a flight worth looking forward to.
On my previous two trips to Tokyo, I flew on Delta and this meant flying in and out via Narita’s Terminal 1. The last time around only this February, we decided to take Philippine Airlines, which uses Terminal 2 along with most other Asian airlines. Here’s a few photos I was able to take at the terminal.
Terminal 2 is also a huge terminal and serves as the hub for Japan Airlines (JAL).
The many information boards provide up to date info on inbound and outbound flights out of Narita Terminal 2. Many refer to the boards for info on which counters to go to for checking-in for flights.
Another look at the spacious terminal.
A passenger reading check-in counter information.
The giant board provides updates on flights as passengers wait seated in the middle of the terminal. Behind the board are shops and restaurants for the convenience of passengers and well-wishers.
Airport staff on a huddle for orientation and final instructions from their team leader before checking-in passengers for Philippine Airlines. Meanwhile, a politician and embassy staff assisting him wait patiently among other passengers.
Info board on the various restaurants and cafes at Terminal 2.
Display in front of one of the many restaurants at Terminal 2. These items on display are artificial but look good enough to eat.
After going through immigration, passengers are greeted by more shops and cafes. Of course, there are always information boards to provide updates on flights. In many large airports, it is not uncommon for flight to change gates so passengers should always check if they are still boarding at the same gate provided to them upon check-in.
A bus transported us to our plane.
There are several options for passengers to travel between Narita Airport and their destinations in the Kanto area. There are many train services connecting the airport to Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba or other destinations. These include the Narita Express (N’EX), the Airport Narita trains of the JR Yokosuka-Sobu Line, and the Keisei Skyliner. Another option is to take limousine buses from the airport, which includes the Airport Limousine bus from Narita. Information on fares and schedules are available from the internet links I provided.
Bus stops are located just outside Narita Terminal 1
The information boards on Airport Limousine stops provide information for the next bus for a particular destination in both Japanese and English.
Smoking areas are located outside the airport and are enclosed. There is air-conditioning for ventilation.
A Limousine Bus bound for the Yokohama City Air Terminal (YCAT) is shown loading passengers. I used to take this bus as an alternate for going to Yokohama. My other option was the Airport Narita trains of the JR Yokosuka-Sobu Line.
Back of a bus bound for Shibuya and Futako Tamagawa in western Tokyo.
Airport Limousine Bus ticket from Narita to Akasaka
When I was still residing in Yokohama, I usually took the train to Narita and the bus when returning from the airport and via YCAT. This was because I usually travelled lighter when going to Manila than when I was returning since I brought back some food items for times when I was feeling homesick and longed for something familiar to eat. Cost-wise, the airport limousine bus service cost a bit more but was more convenient for my return trips. Later, in my stays at Saitama, the obvious choice was the bus to and from Narita through Omiya Station as traveling by rail was more complicated due to the transfers. The additional cost is easily justified by the convenience and comfort provided by the bus service.