Passengers Awaiting Test Results Are Sleeping In Boxes At Narita

For those still able to enter Japan amid selective travel restrictions, many will have to undergo testing at the airport before entering the country. This applies to anyone that has recently been to one of the countries on Japan’s watchlist. However, these tests aren’t instantaneous and passengers have found themselves sleeping on futons partitioned by cardboard as they await results. Incredible photos of this setup have surfaced on social media in the last few days.

Passengers Awaiting Test Results Are Sleeping In Boxes At Narita
One of Narita’s terminal buildings. Photo: Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

What it’s like at Narita’s baggage claim

An article by Forbes calls it a “cardboard box hotel” full of arriving international passengers awaiting their coronavirus test result. The baggage claim area has become a makeshift sleeping area which features “bedframes” made out of rigid cardboard. The bedding itself at least looks fairly comfortable. The result comes in after 1-2 days according to a writer on Wasabi Blog having recently traveled through Narita.

Those without an eye mask may find it difficult to sleep as lights remain on 24 hours a day. However, beverages and snacks, including rice balls, are apparently provided.


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海外在住の友人から 成田空港に帰国したらここに1〜2日隔離されるらしい 隔離スペースて個室かと思ってた みんなこれ感染者いたら大変なことになるよねとビクビクしてるそうです この国の政府は感染してない人までも感染させるのか… 偉い人たちからしたら私たちは税金を払い続けるただの奴隷です 気付きましょうそろそろ

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What happens after test results?

If the test is negative, you have a few options – but there are restrictions compared to what you would normally be able to do. Travelers are authorized to board a shuttle bus to a nearby hotel or otherwise wait for someone to pick them up. Alternatively, they can rent a car. However, the biggest restriction is that the use of public transport is prohibited.

“[Japan is] calling upon people arriving from any country to wait 14 days at a location designated by a quarantine station chief and to refrain from using public transportation.” -Japan’s official travel website

Therefore, it seems like travelers who have limited budgets or no connections with locals with a car are somewhat stuck. Airport hotels aren’t known for being affordable and staying at a Narita Airport hotel for two weeks may run the equivalent cost of more than a month of rent somewhere else. Public transportation is often the main way to get to and from Japan’s major airports.

Passengers Awaiting Test Results Are Sleeping In Boxes At Narita
Narita Airport is one of two major international airports serving the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Photo: Getty Images

It’s unknown whether or not people can stay at the airport’s “cardboard hotel” for some or all of the 14 day period. Considering the hotel is at baggage claim and mainly for people awaiting test results, this may not be the case.


The one traveler who reported on their experience says that what each staff member says is different. “But that is inevitable, and I think it will improve in the future” they go on to say.

“Above all, I want you to keep in mind that [airport] employees are in high-risk positions. They have a high potential of coming in contact with infected people, and they work hard without taking a break.” -Wasabi Blog

It would make sense that Japan’s coronavirus situation would have to improve drastically for these measures to be taken away. However, with over 6,700 cases recorded at the time of writing with a steady increase each day, it doesn’t look like this will be any time soon.

What do you think of these accommodations? Let us know in the comments.