A 6 Hour Layover in NRT Airport

Last January on my way back to Australia from Canada, I took a strange flight path through 4 countries, on 4 airlines, over the span of 40 hours.  The following was our route:

Ottawa > Toronto > Boston > Tokyo > Gold Coast.

As part our travel itinerary we had a 6 hour layover in Narita International Airport (NRT), which is close to Tokyo, Japan. When we arrived at NRT Airport we were exhausted but determined to stay awake to adjust our internal clocks. Deliriously tired, I didn’t know how I would stay awake for the 6 hour layover until I stepped off the plane and realized that it was going to be no problem at all. Often, airports are pretty standardized and don’t offer very much in terms of things to do, but the NRT airport was full of free cultural activities to teach people about Japan, authentic restaurants, and Japanese shops.

NRT Airport
NRT Airport

I have never been to Japan so I really wanted to  try everything, and I also didn’t want to rest because I knew there would be no going back if we did. We started by watching a traditional Japanese instrument show. Cultural representatives taught people to play the instruments and showed them how to fold origami.

Next, we tried on Japanese kimonos. My boyfriend was VERY against doing this but it’s easy to wear people down when they’ve been flying for over 25 hours. This was hilarious because next to the Japanese ladies we were actually giants, but they insisted on dressing us anyways. In the nicest way possible they expressed some shock with how big we both were in width and height which I thought was funny. We had to wear these funny socks for flip flops that they gave us to keep. They wouldn’t let me stick my giant size 8.5 woman’s feet into the men’s shoes, which still would have been too small for me, and were horrified that I even asked. I had to wear the tiny woman’s wedge flip flops; the largest size covered half my foot.

Flip flop socks
Flip flop socks
IMG_20150115_023843
Dressing the Giant (I’m on my knees here)
IMG_20150115_024537~2
Japanese Kimonos

After the kimonos we decided to grab some traditional Japanese food. There were a lot of restaurant choices so we just decided to randomly pick one. We ordered ramen soup, chicken skewers, edamame, and matcha green tea; everything was incredible!

IMG_20150115_035908
This is airport food!
Ramen Soup... Yum!
Ramen Soup… Yum!

After breakfast/dinner/lunch (at this point I had no idea what meal it was) I converted some money at the Airport Currency Exchange and went shopping. I bought polaroid film, which is much cheaper in Japan than in North America or Australia, and they had some funny themes like Hello Kitty which I obviously bought. I also bought some traditional Japanese green tea, which came in a nice tin. I spent quite a bit of time looking in the cute shops and wanted to buy everything.

Before we knew it, it was time to board our next flight. Before leaving I quickly sent a few postcards to my family to tell them what a great time we had in the Japan airport. I also got some funny Japanese drinks for the flight and then we were on our way to Gold Coast, Australia.

Many people dread a layover when traveling by air but I actually prefer to have at least one when I’m on a long flight path. As someone who hates airplane bathrooms and airplane food (airplane eggs are the worst) I really like having a break in between to stretch my legs, go to the bathroom and eat real food. I also find it fun to have long layovers in different countries because you get to experience a bit of that country’s culture.

Have you had any fun travel layovers? Let me know in the comments below!

19 Comments Add yours

  1. MattG says:

    Wonderful read! Sounds like an amazing time. Also, I love the Gold Coast! Such a breathtaking place.

    Like

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thanks for reading my blog Matt! I love the Gold Coast too. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. 🙂

      Like

      1. MattG says:

        I know the feeling. Are you lucky enough to live there?

        Like

      2. Jessica Lim says:

        Yes I’m here for a year so keep checking back because I’ll be posting more posts on Gold Coast!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Narita can be fun. If you go back for another layover in Narita, try to visit the Narita San temple in the nearby town; it’s big and interesting. There are shuttles from the airport.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Yes I sadly didn’t get to actually visit Japan as it was just a layover but I am planning on going to visit soon. I bet the country is pretty amazing based on the airport.

      Like

  3. That sounds like the best layover ever!! Generally mine consist of mediocre food and hoping my next flight doesn’t get cancelled. Great post!

    Like

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Haha I must admit that most of my layovers are like that too but occasionally I go to fun airports!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa Damian says:

    I admire your ability to make the most of Narita airport. Usually when I fly through there, I’m way too tired to take advantage of everything as you did. You’ve inspired me to seek out some of the cultural demonstrations next time.

    If you do stay overnight or have a longer connection between flights, the temple in Narita is stunningly beautiful. I could spend all day walking around the beautiful gardens, especially in the autumn when the leaves are turning color or in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming.

    Love your travel blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thanks Lisa! I plan to go to Japan at some point so I will definetly check out your recommendations! Try to fight the jet lag next time you travel through NRT, it’s worth it!

      Like

  5. It is such a refreshing feeling to travel. A while ago, I wrote a blog on my reasons to travel. You will love it: https://thinkinglistener.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/on-my-7-reasons-for-traveling/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful! It sounds like NRT is a memorable destination in itself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Absolutely! If you ever get a chance to fly through, I recommend it.

      Like

  7. Elton Hiew says:

    Amazing Photos! Keep it up there! Btw, do visit my blog too at asianbackpacker.wordpress.com P/s: let us continue inspire more people to travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Thank you! Can’t wait to check out your blog! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Elton Hiew says:

        You’re welcome. I hope you liked it

        Like

  8. amerrs says:

    I agree with food at NRT – on the very short list of places where food is good in the airport! Nice post.

    Like

    1. Jessica Lim says:

      Haha a sad reality. Thanks for checking out my blog!

      Like

  9. wekatabti says:

    I had two-day layovers in both West Samoa and Brunei. The best “layovers” I’ve ever had! Thanks for the info on this Japanese Airport. I hope to visit Japan some day, and to visit that airport.

    Liked by 1 person

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