I had high expectations for my departure to Europe from Central Japan International Airport. The airport is located 35 kilometers outside Nagoya and I’d heard rumors that this was an amazing airport.
I’d red online that the train from Nagoya Station would only take around 15 minutes and that there would be an onsen (Japanese bath where you soak in tubs) in the airport with a view over the runway and a big shopping center. My expectations got even higher.
The train ride to the airport from Nagoya Station ended up taking closer to 35 minutes than to 15, which left me a bit short of time, but still in time for my onsen adventure. But when I arrived at the check-in lines the queue was horrendously long. I was booked in Finnair’s Economy Class, which had five check-in lines, but only four were actually functioning. Well, in fact only 3 ½, since one was only open to check-ins sporadically during the 30-40 minutes, I was queuing.
It looked like there was enough staff to actually man all the counters, so I was wondering why they didn’t. Or maybe the staff at one of the two virtually empty Business Class counters could have checked in some of the Economy Class passengers in and serviced the Finnair customers much quicker.
When I finally made through check-in and security check and entered the terminal, I started looking for signs saying spa, massage, onsen or bath, but they were nowhere to be found. I decided to ask at the airport information counter:
Me: Hi there, could you please tell me where the spa is?
Me: Yes, please. Where the onsen is?
Lady: Oooooh, there is an onsen outside. That is BEFORE check-in.
Needless to say that this was extremely disappointing. If you build a spa and an onsen in an airport, it doesn’t make sense that it is situated outside the terminals. It’s when you’ve checked in you expect these services. At least that’s where I expect is. You don’t go to the tax free shops and lounges before check-in either.
Disappointed, cranky and hungry, I decided to find a restaurant. Airport-food isn’t usually an explosion of culinary creations, but I thought that in Japan, where you can buy great food anywhere, there had to be a good restaurant or two in an airport.
I looked around and found no signs of places to eat. Eventually I found a map over the airport that showed, that the airport had a deli, a Starbucks and a couple of vending machines. That was the food selection at Central Japan International Airport, where they have over 30 international departures every day.
I boarded the plane for Helsinki and thought that this was definitely an airport I would remember. Unfortunately not for a lot of great things.