The 5 best plane (aircraft) spotting near Narita Airport – Tokyo, Japan

If you apply to any one of the following, this article woud be worth to read !!
· Depart from or arrive in Narita Airport.
· Photographer who like to take airplanes.
· Airplane lover.
· Family traveling with children.

This article introduces the spots where you can see powerful jet aircrafts in Narita airport or nearby. It is a interesting place for families, photographers and airplane enthusiasts.

The Best places, route and time to see airplanes

Where to go ? (The place where you see planes best)

There are five places to introduce here. If you drive a car, it will be enough time to see all in one day (move distance About 16 – 17 km).

But I would recommend to spend a lot of time in 【View Point 1】Narita Airport  Terminal 1, View Point 2】Aeronautical Science Museum】. Probably these two are the most spectacular.

Exhibitions in Aeronautical science museum is a lot to see, worth a visit inside. If you participate in guided tour inside,  it may take half a day or longer.

Even if it’s not all the five, you may be satisfied with 3 spots (Narita Airport-Terminal 1, Aeronautical Science Museum and one more place plus).

How to go and see (Route and order to visit)

If you visit all the five places, we recommend the route as below.

【View Point 2 – Aeronautical science museum → 【View Point 3 – Sanrizuka Sakura Hill (Hikoki no Oka)】 → 【View Point 4 – Narita Sakurano yama Park】 → 【View Point 5 – Shinonome Hill】 → 【View Point 1 – Narita Airport · Terminal-1 Building】

There are possibilities to reverse it(opposite order), but the number of airplanes leaving and arriving at Narita airport is many in the morning or after the evening.  It would be prudent to devote the most impressive [View Point 1] and [View Point 4] to frequent departure and arrival times.

The best time to visit and see (Time zone)

If  you are the place during the time zones with a large number of departures and arrivals, you will have much more fun.

While aircraft may take off or land at Narita Airport between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., each day has peak traffic periods as well as times of relative quiet. Peak periods for passenger aircraft departures are between 10:00 a.m. and noon, and again between 6:00 pm. and 8:00 p.m., with more than 40% of daily flights departing during these four hours. Meanwhile, arrivals peak in the afternoon, with half of all incoming traffic between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
(From Narita official website https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/fun/osusume_spot)

At Narita Airport, the direction of the airplane will change depending on the wind direction.

Aircraft take off and land into the wind. The runways at Narita Airport are aligned almost directly north-south (NNW/SSE) so aircraft land and take off to the north in a northerly wind and to the south in a southerly wind. The best location for photography will depend on the direction of landings and take offs.
(From Narita official website https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/fun/osusume_spot)

Highlights in each spot, highlight

【View Point1】Narita Airport Terminal 1 (Observation deck – 5th Floor)

If you hope to see powerful departures and arrivals from the closest position, I will recommend this place the most.

There are three terminals (1,2,3) at Narita airport, terminal 1 is the only spot to see the arrival and departure closely. You can see parking air crafts only from Terminal-2. You can not see the arrival and departure scenes.

The location is the 5th floor of Terminal 1. There is an observation deck in the back of the food court.

This place is the area before hand baggage inspection and passport control. It is a public area where anyone can enter. If you are planning to see before your flight departure, please be careful not to go through X-ray inspection (departure procedure).

It will be the best time to go and see after you drop checked-in baggage at the airline counter. You will have 20-30 minutes spare time normally after you completed check-in.

There are runways of  A (4000 m) and B (2500 m). Here in the Terminal 1, you can see Runway-A.

▼▲ All the pictures are taken from the observation deck of the 5th floor of Terminal 1.

  ▼Observation deck of the 5th floor of Terminal 1.

About view from Terminal 2

There is also an observation deck on the 4th floor in the 2nd Terminal. You will be able to see planes being parked. But unfortunately, both A runway and B runway are far away, so we can not see closely  arriving or departing air crafts .

【View Point2】Observation deck in Museum of Aeronautical Sciences

Outdoor observation deck on the third floor. Jet aircraft is passing on your head with the roaring sound just before the arrival or after the departure from Narita airport. Since it is the end of Narita Airport’s northernmost part, A runway (about 4 km), you can see the airplanes very closely.

~Museum of Aeronautical Sciences is worth to visit near Narita Airport~

【View Point 3】Hikoki no Oka & Sanrizuka Sakura no Oka

The distance to the plane is almost the same as that of 【View Point 2 : Aero Nautical Sciences Museum】, but the angle is different.

Although it is not the conspicuous places, it is a popular among aerial photograph manias. I think that it is better to stop by here only if you have enough time. These two places are almost the same.

Hikoki no Oka

“Hikoki no Oka” means “Hill of airplanes” in Japanese language. (Hikoki means airplanes, Oka means Hill). Set on high ground and covering an area of 8,000 square meters, this park is divided into three zones, each offering dynamic close-up views of the aircraft, and is used by aircraft fans as well as families and couples.

Photo source : https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/fun/osusume_spot

Sanrizuka Sakura no Oka

Sanrizuka Sakura no Oka is a park with over 100 cherry trees and azaleas, and a place of relaxation for people in the region. The grassy observation area provides a good vantage point to watch arriving and departing aircraft from a grassed observation area.

Photo source : https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/fun/osusume_spot

【View Point4】Narita Sakura no Yama

“Sakura no Yama” means “Mountain(Hill) of Cherry Blossoms”. (Yama means mountain, Sakura means Cherry Blossoms)

It is a famous place to see an airplane around Narita Airport. Spring is spectacular (The cherry blossoms season is normally in the begging of April, lasted for just 7-14days) . It attracts large crowds of people who come to enjoy the floral colors.

North end of the runway-A. The direction of departure and arrival depends on the wind direction, but when you fly toward the south opposite, it becomes quite distant here.

▲ Photo shot with 200 mm telephoto lens (converted to 35 mm). Before entering takeoff posture.

▲ Information board explains airline companies.

Since it is a famous park, route buses are operating from “Keisei Narita station east exit”, “JR Narita station entrance entrance (east exit)”, “Narita airport” etc.

You can check traffic access from this official site.

 www.soranoekisakurakan.com 
交通アクセス|空の駅 さくら館
http://www.soranoekisakurakan.com/access.html
成田空港近くのさくらの山にある「空の駅 さくら館」への交通案内です

【View Point 5】Toyomi Shinonome no Oka

It is a place where you can see airplanes leaving and departing from runway B. It is located in a slightly unobtrusive place, but there is a parking lot next to it.

It is a place where distance is close, and it is a place where you can take powerful pictures.

▲at Toyomi Shinonome no Oka▼

▲Photos taken from Toyomi Shinonome no Oka▼