After a long flight, you have finally arrived at Narita Airport, eager to start exploring Tokyo, but you might be surprised to hear that Narita Airport is not actually that close to Tokyo at all. It is located in Chiba Prefecture, which is approximately 60 km from downtown Tokyo. So you may be wondering, what is the best way for me to get into Tokyo from Narita Airport?
Well, the good news is that there are many different options for getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo depending on your time and budget.
We will run you through the three main options of transportation into Tokyo (bus, train, and taxi), and discuss the best option for your specific needs.
JR Narita Express (N’EX)
¥3000 – ¥4oo0 Direct, one-way or round-trip
60 minutes to Tokyo Station
The N’EX is a high-tech looking train that runs from Narita airport to most major stations in the greater Tokyo area including, Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. All seats on the N’EX are reserved and tickets may be purchased at Narita Airport station, JR Ticket Offices, Travel Service Centers, and reserved seat ticket machines. Reservations can also be made overseas through JR-EAST Train Reservation. The ride takes approximately one hour, costs around ¥3000 and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR Tokyo Wide Area Pass and some other JR passes. There are departures every 30 to 60 minutes. The NEX Tokyo Round Trip ticket provides foreign travelers with a discounted round trip from the airport into Tokyo and back within a 2-week period and is ¥4000.
The downside of most train travel in Japan is luggage. Although N’EX does provide a small luggage area, it still may be a challenge if you have a large party all carrying substantial luggage.
Pros: discount price for foreign travelers, runs every 30 minutes.
Cons: luggage can be a challenge, train stations are usually very busy.
¥2,200 one way
41 minutes to Ueno Station, 55 minutes to Tokyo Station
Keisei Skyliner offers the fastest transportation to get downtown Tokyo. From the airport, it takes only about 40 minutes to Ueno Station. From there, you can transfer to the JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku Line to get to Tokyo Station (10 minutes and ¥160). There are connections every 20-40 minutes. If purchased in advance online or with a travel agent outside of Japan, foreign tourists can ride the Skyliner for only ¥2200.
Pros: super-fast transport to Tokyo, reasonable cost, runs ever 30 minutes.
Cons: limited luggage storage, Ueno station is often busy.
Airport Limousine Bus
75 – 125 minutes to Tokyo Station
The Airport Limousine Bus operates from Narita Airport to many major hotels in the greater Tokyo area, so it is the most convenient option for anyone staying in a hotel downtown Tokyo. Tickets can be purchased at the Airport Limousine ticket counter inside the terminal. Limousine buses to Tokyo Station depart every 15 to 20 minutes and the one-way journey takes an average of 100 minutes.
If you want to avoid carrying your luggage on the train, the Airport Limousine bus is a good option for you as it has storage compartments at the bottom of the bus specifically for luggage. A flat rate of ¥3000 per person will take you directly from the airport to your hotel. A special round trip ticket for only ¥4500 y is also available to foreign tourists exclusively.
The only downside to this service is that the bus only goes to a certain number of hotels. So your best option is to check on their website to see if your hotel is one that they stop at.
Pros: easy to buy tickets, luggage storage, direct to your hotel.
Cons: pricey compared to other options, limited hotels.
Tokyo Shuttle Bus
90 minutes to Tokyo Station
If you are on a tight budget or just want to save some extra cash to explore the city, the Keisei Tokyo Shuttle Bus is a good option for you. The bus runs approximately every 20 minutes and takes about 90 minutes to get to Tokyo Station. You also have the luxury of being able to store your luggage underneath the bus. The fare is ¥1000 during the day and ¥2000 at night but with a reservation, the fare is only ¥900, night or day, so be sure to make a reservation beforehand. Reservations can be made here.
Tickets can also be purchased at the Keisei Bus Counter in the arrival lobby. There are bus stations on the first floor of each terminal.
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.
¥15,000 – ¥20,000
60 – 90 minutes
Taking a taxi anywhere in Tokyo is pricey, especially from the airport. The convenience of a taxi is that they can take you directly to your destination with no stops, however, they are the most expensive option by far.
There are a number of taxi services that operate from the airport and the prices and times will vary depending on your destination, but Because Narita Airport is located about 60 km outside of Tokyo, a taxi ride into central Tokyo is very expensive and not recommended.
Pros: Takes you directly to your destination.
Cons: Very expensive.
Narita Express (N’EX) is an efficient and quick option for anyone who doesn’t mind carrying their luggage. It goes directly to Tokyo Station and makes stops in other popular locations such as Shibuya and Shinjuku.
Keisei Skyliner is the quickest option to get into Tokyo but requires one transfer to get to Tokyo Station and is also limited one luggage storage.
The Airport Limousine Bus is slightly more expensive but has the convenience of being able to store your luggage underneath the bus and also makes direct stops at most hotels downtown Tokyo.
The Tokyo Shuttle bus is the cheapest of the options to get into Tokyo and has the luxury of being able to store your luggage underneath the bus. Although, it does not make direct stops at hotels so you will have to make arrangements once you get to Tokyo Station.
Taking a taxi will take you directly to your destination but is also the most expensive and not recommended unless necessary.