tokyo: narita airport terminal 3 opening

© kenta hasegawa

welcome to muji airport. well, it's narita airport actually, tokyo's longtime international gateway. the airport has won back some of the limelight that rival haneda airport – very favourably situated on the city's doorstep with a range of hailed facilities and a regained number of key international routes – has been gloriously basking in for the past few years. but there's one thing that narita airport has always excelled in: plenty of space. in anticipation of further liberalization of japan's airline sector and the floods of passengers that are expected to arrive for the 2020 summer olympics, the air hub played its trump card and opened a brand new terminal earlier this week. and not surprisingly, it's dedicated entirely to low-cost carriers, a fast-growing market segment as just about anywhere else on the planet today.

situated north of the existing terminal 2 and conveniently connected by an enclosed walkway, the new terminal 3 boasts a compatible interior void of any frills, and one where the focus is clearly on functionality and efficiency. operator narita airport authority enlisted tokyo-based creative agency party for the interior design. restricted by a limited budget, party's design team cleverly came up with a sports-inspired theme that would give passengers a fun experience despite the lack of usual facilities that most airport terminals have. so, instead of moving walkways running tracks were implemented, and clear and beautifully designed signage replaces illuminated signs.

and this is also where muji comes into the picture. well-known for its no-frills aesthetic, the brand was picked to provide all furnishings, and there's a lot of it. no less than 400 muji sofas dot the premises on both the landside and airside of the terminal, in addition to a large number of its equally simple and sturdy wooden dining tables and chairs for the building's restaurant sections. terminal 3 is currently used by low-cost carriers jetstar, vanilla air, spring airlines and jeju air, serving mostly destinations across japan, in addition to hong kong, taipei, kaohsiung, seoul, jeju, cairns, brisbane and melbourne. but as japan's airline sector is gradually opening up, the number of destinations served from terminal 3 is expected to see a steep rise in the near future. location: terminal 3, 1-1 furugome [narita airport].

© kenta hasegawa