Figuring out Narita Airport

As I continue to figure out things for myself, I am beginning on working on figuring out the largest airport in Japan, Narita International Airport.  I will continue to study the diagrams of the airport terminals and read their guides about how to get through customs, but I figured I turn to the internet for information.

After the plane lands from the insanely long flight from the US, I would assume I would stand up, gather my belongings and head to the terminal.  From what I have read, you then go through passport control where you tell them what you are doing in Japan. They take a picture of you, stamp your passport, and then send you to baggage and customs.  This is where I get confused.

I’ve read in some places they will go through your bags and check and in other places, they only spot check some bags coming through customs.  Now I’m not trying anything stupid like smuggling stuff into Japan (come on now) but I just want to know what is the process through customs and getting through all the checks before finding my way to the buses, train, or a taxi to get me to Ginza.

So I’m reaching out to the internet world to see who has ever flown into Narita airport from another country (the USA or another, doesn’t matter).  I would like to know each step you took when you made your way off the plane and through all of customs, from passport to getting your bag.  So if you have flown into Narita and gone through the process, please let me know.  I want to know everything you went through, what to know, little things that will make it faster, and how long it takes.  Does it take an hour? How long will I be sitting in line?  I appreciate any information you all can give.  Arigato!!

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