Relocating to Japan – Arriving in Tokyo via Narita Airport

Tokyo enjoys two international options: Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport) and Narita International Airport.

Narita International Airport is actually located 60 km east of Tokyo in Chiba prefecture, and was for many years the only airport providing international air service to the area. While offering the majority of international flight options, its distance from downtown Tokyo means that the first experience foreign visitors arriving to Narita Airport will have of Japan is the long journey (either by train, bus or taxi) to their hotels.

Tokyo International Airport used to be called “Haneda Airpot”, and is often still referred to as such even though the name was changed when international flights were added in 2010. While international flights to/from Haneda Airport are limited to select routes and airlines, it is expanding all the time. Considering the limited selection, and its convenience to central Tokyo, it is advisable to choose a flight to Haneda over Narita where ever possible.

Arriving Tokyo via Narita Airport

Immigration at Narita Airport

Japan has introduced bio-metric registration as part of the entry requirements for foreigners into the country. In general, foreigners 16 years of age and over must be fingerprinted and have their photo taken as part of immigration landing procedures when entering Japan.

The immigration official will check your passport and disembarkation form and insert the appropriate visa stamp (Landing Permission) inside the passport.

If you are arriving with a Japan visa in your passport, you will be issued a Residence Card (or zai-ryu card) when you enter the country. This card will be made base on the information the immigration bureau has on file from your visa application, and will act as the standard form of identification while you are in Japan and should be kept with you at all times.

Unaccompanied Baggage 

When relocating to Japan, it is necessary to fill out 2 copies of the “Custom Declaration” form in duplicate which will allow your personal effects to clear customs smoothly, usually within a week or so after arrival to Japan. These forms are available from the flight attendant inside the airplane. Failure to submit these forms may delay the release of your personal belongings and you will be required to provide additional paperwork.

The customs officer will stamp both forms and return 1 form to you which must be submitted to the local shipping agent when your shipment has arrived at part of the customs clearance process.

To continue reading a full story and learn more about useful information you should know in advance, please click Relocate to Japan – Arriving in Tokyo via Narita Airport.


*Original article published on Japan Info Swap, which full of timely and useful informaiton in English about Japan for expats by the H&R Group.
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