How to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo

By

narita_express
February 13, 2014

After a long flight you have finally arrived in Japan and are eager to start your trip but you might be surprised to learn that Narita Airport is not actually close to Tokyo at all.

In fact it is located in Chiba Prefecture, which is approximately 60km (37 miles) from downtown Tokyo.

The good news is that there are a number of different options for getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo depending on your time and budget.

In this article we will outline the different options so you can choose the most suitable one, which saves your time and energy for the real adventure in Tokyo!

By Bus

AIRPORT LIMOUSINE BUS
¥3,000 one way
75 – 125 minutes to Tokyo Station

The Airport Limousine Bus service operates bus service from Narita Airport to many major hotels in the greater Tokyo area. Tickets can be purchased at their ticket counter and most of the ticket staff speak English.

If you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of carrying your luggage on the train, the Airport Limousine bus is a good option. A flat rate of ¥3000 per person will take you directly from the airport to your hotel.

The downside to this service is that the bus service only goes to a certain number of hotels and if your hotel is not one of them you will still have to figure out how to get to your hotel. Your best option is to check on their website if your hotel is one that they will stop at.

Pros: easy to buy tickets, luggage storage, direct to your hotel.
Cons: pricey compared to other options, limited number of hotels.

KEISEI EXPRESS BUS
¥900 one way
90 minutes to Tokyo Station

If you are on a tight budget the Keisei Express Bus is a good option. This bus service runs every 20 minutes starting at 7:00am until 11:00pm.

Tickets can be purchased at the Keisei Bus Counter in the arrival lobby. There is one Keisei bus stop at terminal 1 and two stops at terminal 2. The bus will stop at Tokyo Station, Sukiyabashi (Ginza), and Shinonomeshako.

Check their website for a full list of timetables and prices.

Pros: inexpensive tickets, luggage storage, direct to Tokyo.
Cons: travel time is slower compared to trains, limited stops.

By Train

JR NARITA EXPRESS (N’EX)
¥1,500 one way*
60 minutes to Tokyo Station

The N’EX is a futuristic looking train that runs from Narita airport to major stations in the greater Tokyo area including, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro and Shinagawa. All seats on the N’EX are reserved and tickets must be purchased at the N’EX ticket counters.

*If you hold a non-Japanese passport, N’EX offers a discounted price of a single ticket for just ¥1500. Alternatively, you can purchase a N’EX + Suica combo for ¥3500. This will give you a prepaid Suica card worth ¥2000 which covers most of the transportation in Tokyo including JR, Tokyo Metro, and buses. N’EX is great for low budget travelers.

The downside of most train travel in Japan is luggage. While the N’EX does provide a small luggage area, many city trains do not. If you are carrying a large amount of luggage or you have a large family, you might want to consider a limousine bus service as all the major train stations in Tokyo can get very crowded and confusing for the first time visitors.

Pros: discount price for foreign passport holders, runs every 30min
Cons: luggage can be a challenge, train stations are usually busy

KEISEI SKYLINER
¥2,400 one way
41 minutes to Ueno Station

Keisei Skyliner is by far the fastest transportation to get to the city. From the airport, it takes only about 40 minutes to Nippori and Ueno. If your destination is one of these two stations, Keisei Skyliner is the best option.

Even if Nippori or Ueno is not your final destination, you can always transfer to JR or metro line since Ueno station has two convenient lines; Hibiya and Ginza line. All seats are reserved for Keisei Skyliner so if you miss one, you have to buy another ticket. Being on time is very important especially for this train!

Pros: super fast transport to Tokyo, reasonable cost, runs ever 30 minutes
Cons: limited luggage storage, Ueno station will be busy

skyliner

KEISEI ELECTRIC RAILWAY

The Keisei Electric Railway offers two options; Narita Sky Access Express and Keisei Main line. Essentially the Narita Sky Access Express and Keisei Main line are the slower versions of the Keisei Skyliner. They are not as fast as Skyliner but definitely much cheaper and stop at more stations.

-Narita Sky Access Express; ¥1,200 ~ ¥1,460 one way, 59min to Nihonbashi station. Stops at Shin-Kamagaya, Higashi-Matsudo, Aoto, Nippori, Ueno, Oshiage, Asakusa, Asakusabashi, Higashinihonbashi, Ningyocho, Nihombashi, Ginza, Shimbashi, Shinagawa, Haneda Airport.

-Keisei Main Line; ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,280 one way, 71min to Ueno station. Stops at Shin-Kamagaya, Higashi-Matsudo, Aoto, Nippori, Ueno, Oshiage, Asakusa, Asakusabashi, Higashinihonbashi, Ningyocho, Nihombashi, Ginza, Shimbashi, Shinagawa, Haneda Airport.

Pros: cheapest option, multiple stops
Cons: slowest train, no luggage storage, can be busy

By Taxi

¥15,000 ~ ¥20,000
60 ~ 90 minutes

Taking a taxi anywhere in Tokyo is expensive and it is especially expensive from the airport. The convenience of a taxi is that they can take you directly to your destination, however they are the most expensive option.

There are a number of taxi services that operate from the airport and the prices and times will vary depending on your destination.

If you do decide to use a taxi service it is good to check if they have a fixed rate to go to the airport. This will usually be 20% ~ 30% cheaper than a metered rate.

Some taxi companies even offer a built in translation service in English, Chinese and Korean.

Pros: always available, direct to your destination.
Cons: very expensive.

Day Rooms and Airport Hotels

Most of the transportation options from Narita Airport stop running around midnight and will start again around 5:00am the following morning.

If your flight arrives or departs during this downtime there are a few accommodation options available to you.

A short 5 minutes by the free shuttle bus is the Narita Airport Rest Hotel. Single rooms start at ¥7200 and are good for an overnight stay.

Around Narita airport there are several cheap hotels such as APA hotel (¥2,500 per night) and the Richmond Hotels Narita (¥3,500 per night). Conveniently, most of the hotels have their own free shuttle buses from Narita airport.

If you have an extended layover at Narita Airport there is a fantastic day room facility at the airport.

Located before and after passport control, the rooms offer a bed and shower service which can be rented by the hour. The day room service starts at 7:00am until 9:00pm and located at both terminal 1 and 2.

This service is great for anyone who has a few hour layovers but doesn’t have enough time to go into Tokyo and also doesn’t want to walk around the airport the whole time.

For the full price list of day room rates visit their website.

Conclusion

While Narita Airport is not as close to Tokyo as many people would like, there are a number of different options to get to the city that are suitable for a range of budgets.

Choose the best one for you and enjoy your stay in Japan!

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Drone flyer, digital producer, editor of GaijinPot.
  • Jonas

    Had no idea that they’d introduced a cheaper 1500 yen ticket with N’EX for foreign passport holders, so I’m glad I read this post before going!

    • Sébastien Guillaume Shimomichi

      This does not apply for foreign passports with study or work visas.

      • Rudie

        Really? I lived in Japan for a couple of years on a work visa and every time I got it without problems; they only checked the first page. Even when I just picked up people from the airport I got it. The only thing the JR website says is you have to have a foreign passport.

        • Sébastien Guillaume Shimomichi

          Really? I was denied the discount… :(

          • Jonas

            Are we talking about the same discount?

            According to the news I’ve seen about this “N’EX TOKYO Direct Ticket(One-way)”, it was first introduced January the 10th just this year (2014).

  • Tom McPhillips

    The NEX deal is you get a Suica card for 500yen not 2000 yen
    The train travel portion is 3000yen. (Two single 1500 yen fares)

  • MK8

    I actually thought that the NEX was really quite convenient when it came to luggage. In each hallway, you are able to secure your suitcase onto a system with a personal code. This means that you don’t have to attend to your luggage while travelling. On the other hand, this might be inconvenient when the train is very crowded, since there won’t be enough space for all the suitcases.

  • EmpressB7 K-Flying

    That NEX Train looks SEXY AS HELL! It looks like takes you to the Matrix and yanks you back! LOL

    • http://www.gaijinpot.com/ Anthony Joh

      It’s like the red pill of trains!

      • EmpressB7 K-Flying

        LOL!

  • Sherry Chang

    I need a help explanation of Keisei bus to Narita airport. I arrived Haneda airport in 10.30pm but need transit to Narita terminal 2 in 6am flight to sapporo. Are this bus start at midnight? And can arrived before my departure? How to make reservation for Keisei bus? I don’t know Japanese language.

  • Otaku

    what about taking the subway to downtown tokyo? i hear thats alot easier is that possible?

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