Narita Airport’s Smoking Rooms, Free Wi-Fi, and Exciting Toilet Bowls

Japanese packaging for a pack of Marlboro Light Menthols.

As a not avid but long time smoker, something I enjoy about foreign airports is that their assholes aren’t so tightened by political stupidity that they’ve banned smoking rooms.  I understand that non-smokers don’t want to inhale smoke, but I also think it’s wrong to punish smokers, or inconvenience them, for doing something that isn’t illegal.  Singapore’s Changi Airport has smoking rooms.  Japan’s Narita Airport has smoking rooms.  Germany’s Frankfurt Airport has smoking rooms.  NAIA in the Philippines doesn’t have a smoking room, but the Philippines tries to emulate all the laws the US passes, and that airport just sucks anyway, so it doesn’t count.

On a long-haul flight from Manila in the Philippines to New York City, that stop at Narita is a small blessing if you’re a smoker.  I’ve gone through there twice, in different areas each time, and in both instances a smoking room was conveniently placed for people on short or long layovers.

The smoking rooms are completely closed in with tinted glass windows and doors that you open by pushing on a pad on the door, located where a handle would normally be.  Inside is a vending machine, lots of benches, a television, cigarette butt receptacles / ashtrays and even a stand with car-style lighters for people who forgot those or couldn’t get their lighter through security at their point of origin.

A Japanese man and woman taking a break in a smoking room at Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

When I sat down in the smoking room it had a really relaxing atmosphere.  There was an assorted crowd inside that fluctuated constantly as people rushed in and rushed out to head to their gates.  I saw Japanese businessmen talking in clipped tones, likely about some upcoming project, convention or deal.  I saw airline attendants, Japanese and otherwise, enjoying their breaks.  There were plenty of travelers, mostly Asian, lounging with dazed looks on their faces.

A group of Japanese people in a smoking room at Narita Airport, Tokyo, Japan.

While there, a traveler that looked like he was from the Middle East was trying to give away a meal voucher he had.  He asked me if I had time ‘til my next flight and told me about the voucher, asking if I wanted it.  I only had a few minutes left by that point so I declined.  It was odd, but he went around almost the whole room before running into someone that would take it from him.  It’s possible that everyone had a connecting flight coming up shortly, but I think it’s more likely that most people just won’t take something free, because scams are so prevalent.  No one wants to get suckered.

Another guy I spoke to was from the US.  He was on his way back home to pick up his dogs and bring them back to Japan.  That sparked a long conversation about pet importation, since I had my cat Marble with me on my flight, importing her to the US, and had previously imported her and three other cats to the Philippines from Singapore.  Japan is pretty strict on their import requirements, especially compared to the US which barely asked me for any documentation at all for Marble and didn’t require an import permit.

Sitting on the floor near my connecting flight's gate, charging my phone at a wall outlet.

Narita as a whole is a very modern, attractive airport that reminded me of Changi and the airport in Kuala Lumpur.  My only complaint about the place is that it didn’t have free wi-fi throughout the terminal, though I did find a wi-fi kiosk sponsored by Google.  The catch was that after registering to use the service, you were presented with an advertisement encouraging you to download the latest version of Google’s browser, Chrome.

Google sponsored free wi-fi at Narita Airport in Tokyo Japan.

Leaving Narita and arriving at JFK in New York was like leaving a posh neighborhood and stepping into the projects.  JFK even smells funny, but from what I’ve been told it’s common knowledge that the place is a dump in serious need of remodeling.  One of the most interesting thing about Narita, though, are the toilets.  Have a look for yourself:

A toilet with butt sprayer, butt blow dryer and heated seat at Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan.

These types of toilets are common in Japan.  The one pictured above had a heated toilet seat and a sprayer that you could use to clean your backside.  It also had a blow dryer that would dry your backside after it was sprayed clean.  Even if I’d needed to use them, I don’t think I would, since it was a public toilet.  I spent about five minutes looking at the toilet bowl from different angles, trying to figure out where the spray and blow drying would come from, but I gave up.  If I ever have a chance to stay in a hotel in Japan, I might give it a try.  Or France.  I hear they’re used there too.

Passing through Narita is, overall, a pleasant experience with a clean environment, satisfactory amenities and interesting people watching opportunities.

7 thoughts on “Narita Airport’s Smoking Rooms, Free Wi-Fi, and Exciting Toilet Bowls”

  1. Well, you'll be able to go shed a tear in a toilet stall that looks just like this one. Maybe this exact one in fact. Who knows?Going to Japan would be interesting, but I don't have the same excitement about the idea that I had when I'd never been to Asia before. That's not to say that we won't go there some time in the future if we have the opportunity, though.


  2. interesting post, not a smoker myself and i hate being exposed to second had smoke but I believe smokers should be allowed to light up in a safe area.As it relates to the toilet and Narita I just cant wait to experience just coming off the plane in Japan, I'll prolly break out into tears!


  3. When I got to Narita, I only saw the Eastern style toilet. I really needed a Western style though right after landing.I went in 2007, so that was some while ago and I think you're right on smoking no longer allowed in restaurants.


  4. I'm a little confused… The toilet in the picture is a western style toilet. They're used in France too. Are you talking about those things that look like a long trough in the floor that you squat over?When was it that you went to Japan? I think I read something recently that said smoking is no longer allowed in restaurants there. Maybe I'm wrong.


  5. Do I have stories about various bathrooms while my friend and I were in Japan. I did not find the much needed Western style toilet at Narita after the long flight to Japan. It was not fun! We also did find the bidet toilet at a Starbucks (ah, memories of the azuki frappachino) in Kyoto. My friend tried it out. I had no idea what she was up to but she had to use the bathroom, came back looking rather …sheepish and told me she tried it out. Apparently she did not know how to stop the puffs of air. Hahahaha.Oh! and we've found that you can smoke in McDonald's too. We went to one only once to see what changes were on the menu and yep, smoking is allowed.


  6. You have to press it to know where the spray is coming from. There will be a nozzle which extends out from within to shoot at the crack hole.


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