Ian Leonard / Alamy

Narita International Airport, Tokyo

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Part of the problem with Narita is that one expects so much more from Tokyo. Located 45 miles—yes, 45 miles—outside the city, it’s a product of 1960s planning and 1970s style: coldly technocratic, soullessly efficient. Narita’s construction was delayed by a land-rights controversy that culminated in deadly riots; at one point local farmers even erected a 200-foot-tall steel tower to block one of the runways. The airport actually sat unused long after it was completed, and remained under heavily armed guard for years, well before post-9/11 security kicked in. Somehow, all this ill will is embedded in the complex itself—as if making the terminals as boring and neutral as possible were a deliberate ploy to ward off further trouble.

The Upside: Small, clean day hotels where weary passengers can shower and nap between flights.

World's Ugliest Airports

Narita International Airport, Tokyo

Part of the problem with Narita is that one expects so much more from Tokyo. Located 45 miles—yes, 45 miles—outside the city, it’s a product of 1960s planning and 1970s style: coldly technocratic, soullessly efficient. Narita’s construction was delayed by a land-rights controversy that culminated in deadly riots; at one point local farmers even erected a 200-foot-tall steel tower to block one of the runways. The airport actually sat unused long after it was completed, and remained under heavily armed guard for years, well before post-9/11 security kicked in. Somehow, all this ill will is embedded in the complex itself—as if making the terminals as boring and neutral as possible were a deliberate ploy to ward off further trouble.

The Upside: Small, clean day hotels where weary passengers can shower and nap between flights.

Ian Leonard / Alamy

World's Ugliest Airports

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