Arriving at Narita will be one of the most awesome moments of your life.
Probably one of them nicest and most efficient customs I have been through. They know you are there for one of two reason and in the end both are going to make them money so they are very efficient. Welcome to Japan!
Air Conditioning in Japan
Seems the Japanese don’t love the AC like we do in the US. So it can be a little warm. Dress to stay cool even in the fall and spring buildings can be a little warmer than you are expecting.
The First Hour
The first hour in Japan can be a blur. Know this now. It’s going to be hectic and it’s going to be confusing. I have flown into Japan at least 6 times now in my life, into the same airport and almost the same gate and it’s still a bit confusing each time. Stop take a deep breath and look around….
YOU ARE IN JAPAN!
When you arrive (in Narita) and get off the plane take a second to look around. Stop and look around please. It’s the first few seconds in Japan and this moment will never exist again in your life. Most will want to rush to get going but I always stop in the terminal and take a look out the window. It’s a pretty nice moment.
Celebrate it and take a deep breath. Ahhhhh…… JAPAN! Nippon! Land of the First Sun! We are all jealous of you right now…. look you are in JAPAN! Don’t try to keep up with the crowd. Let them go. Trust me here. Let them rush off. Walk and pay attention to everything.
Customs is next, then pick up your bags, then one more check point and you are now….OFFICIALLY IN JAPAN!
Details…oh right. Customs, Bags, & checkpoint… This may take a little work. The baggage claim seems to be in the basement of the airport, not sure why but it’s kind of an odd place. Customs in Japan is really pretty easy. In fact it is one of the easiest customs I have been through ever. After you do that make sure you read all of the signs and get heading in the right direction. Start getting used to reading all of the signs. Even ones that don’t mean anything to you but might have information you may need. It will also help you stay alert as to what is around you. Japan has done a great job putting English sings up when they can. Most are well done and some will make you laugh.
You will arrive in the lowest level of Narita Airport. When you come back to leave you will be 4 floors above you. Keep that in mind. Everyone on the bottom level is new to Japan. If you head up 4 escalators or the elevator to the departures floor it’s a bit more energetic and updated. The bottom of the airport is kind of boring and plain.
Getting to Tokyo from Narita
Next my guess would be to take the NEX from Narita to Tokyo . The cost is about $15 USD but if you have your JR Rail Pass like I suggest then you need to go get it now. The JR Rail Office in Narita can help you get your pass. Note the times they are open please. If you are going to be in Japan get the train pass. It’s awesome, but now is the time to pick up the pass and get that one item done before leaving the airport. There is a section below about the JR Rail Pass.
This will take about 30 minutes to an hour but is not crazy. The reason it takes a bit long is because the Japanese are so very careful and thoughtful when working that they double check everything. Get used to being treated like you are special in Japan. It’s something you will miss when you leave.
Just taking the NEX
The NEX Train is the express train to and from NRT into Tokyo and other areas south of there like Yokohama. It’s pretty fast at 45 min or so into Tokyo Station. You can purchase two types of tickets. One way or Round Trip. You save a little bit of money buy getting the round trip, just don’t lose your ticket.