After a whirlwind trip around Tokyo spotting cherry blossoms in Shinjuku, exploring Tokyo DisneySea and winding down in Nikko, it was time to wrap it up and head on back to the states. We arrived through Haneda Airport but would be departing from Narita International Airport. Before catching our flight back, we spent the afternoon exploring the airport and lounging in the United Club and ANA Lounge!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 9 – Lounging and shopping at NRT
Keisei Skyliner to Narita
To get from Nikko to Narita, we used the return leg of our Nikko pass but hopped off at Nippori Station, instead of going all the way back into Tokyo. Nippori Station is one of the stations that you can catch the Keisei Skyliner, a high speed train connecting Tokyo and Narita Airport in under 45 minutes! For ~$21USD, we got a one way ticket that drops you off just a few minutes from the departures hall at Narita! (Make sure you buy your tickets online for a small discount.)
All seats on the train are assigned and there is ample storage near the doors and above each seat. I had no problem storing away my luggage and backpack for the ride. Per Japanese standard, the train was in superb condition and very clean. (I wouldn’t expect it any other way.)
After a 30 minute train ride, we were pulling into Terminal 1 of Narita!
Narita Terminal 1
The Skyliner drops you off below the check-in terminals of Terminal 1. A quick escalator/elevator ride and you’re thrown into the crowds of people lugging suitcases and pushing luggage carts.
After a quick check-in at the United Airlines counter and a breezy walk through security, we were air side and ready to explore a little bit of Narita before our flight. Fa-So-La Akihabara proved to be both delightful and dangerous (for our wallets) as they had so many Japanese snacks and omiyage (gifts/souvenirs) to bring back. As a result, these are just some of the goodies I brought back with me:
Edit: I was able to dig up a picture of the damage done once I got back home!
The rest of Terminal 1 is lined with smaller gift shops, but I found that the Akihabara one had the most variety of snacks and gifts. Aside from gift shops, there are lots of duty-free stores, brand name boutiques and restaurants to kill time in before your flight.
Narita United Club
After spending more than I care to admit on Japanese snacks and goodies, it was time for the age old tradition that many avid frequent flyers enjoy doing almost as much as flying itself, airport lounging. Since me and Ryan H. would be flying United business class back to the states, our reservation included lounge access to the United Club. To get Thomas K. in with us, I used one of my United Club lounge passes that I get from the MileagePlus Explorer credit card every year.
This was my first time visiting this United Club so I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer size of the lounge. There was tons of seating options and power outlets for people to use.
After staking out our territory, it was time to check out the goods (aka food spread) of the lounge. There are actually two separate buffet stations in the lounge. One is located close to the entrance and the second is tucked away in the opposite corner. The selections varied a little from each station so can’t hurt to check out both when you visit. There was your standard fare of sushi/rolls and riceballs to pick at. My favorite part of the Narita lounges are the automatic perfect-pour beer machines that every lounge seems to have. It even tops off the mug with the perfect amount of foam!
Narita ANA Lounge Revisited
After having a couple of bites at the United Club, Ryan H. and I decided to make the most of our business class ticket with United and visit the ANA Business Class Lounge in Satellite 4. You get access to this lounge if you are flying First/Business on any Star Alliance flight out of Narita or if you are Star Alliance Gold elite. I actually visited the same lounge two summers ago during my trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong with my mom. So you can read all about that experience HERE. Here’s a few pictures I took from this visit:
However, there was one part of the lounge that I checked out for the very first time this trip, the shower suites! Right past the noodle bar and beyond the restrooms, there’s several shower suites that patrons can use (free of charge) to freshen up between flights. You just bring your boarding pass to the shower attendant and you are handed a key to your suite.
The rooms have all the amenities you would need for that quick refresh before flying, including individually packaged Shiseido bath products and facial wash.
After a much needed shower and spritz, a visit to the awesome noodle bar was in order. I absolutely loved this part of the ANA Lounge last visit and this time did not disappoint. There is a menu (with pictures) when you get to the window and then you’re given a number that is called when your order is ready. Simple enough, right? I strayed away from the udon/soba options and got the chicken curry and rice. Definitely not bad for an airport lounge! However, we didn’t want to stuff ourselves to the point of self-loathing so we quickly left after just one small round of food.
As we were making our way back to the United Club, I managed to spend a few minutes plane watching and spotted the chariot that we would ride back to the states. It would be my first time on a Dreamliner (Boeing 787) and I obviously was thrilled to be sitting in the front of the plane!
After reuniting with Thomas K. at the United Club and taking an obligatory passport/boarding pass picture, we were off to board our flight home. Since we had such an eventful (read: delayed) flight coming into Tokyo, all I wanted was a comfortable and drama-free flight back. Aside from my first flight on a 787 Dreamliner, it was also Ryan H.’s first flight in long-haul/international Business! So it was time to say sayounara to Tokyo and onward and upwards back to the states on United’s 787 BusinessFirst cabin!