- How to get from Narita Airport (NRT)to Tokyo city center – Fastest and Cheapest way.
- TRAINS – Which train is for you?
How to get from Narita Airport (NRT)to Tokyo city center – Fastest and Cheapest way.
Narita Airport (NRT) is 70km (43 miles) away from Tokyo city center
Tokyo area has two airports. One of the airport – Narita Airport is located in the 70km (43 miles) east of Tokyo city center. Yes, it’s far. If your destination is Tokyo and have choice of Narita Airport (NRT) or Haneda Airport (HND) upon your purchasing ticket, you might want to choose Haneda which is much closer to Tokyo city center. However, do not worry even if you have tickets to Narita (NRT), there are several options that takes you to Tokyo city center.
Today I’d like to explain about the 3 train routes and 2 bus services from Narita Airports to Tokyo. In this article, you’ll find out what is the fastest, cheapest and the best choice for your next travel to Tokyo.
You can also see this contents on Youtube : How to Get from Narita Airport to Tokyo
Narita Airport Map
Narita airport has 3 terminals, T1 (South and North) and T2, and T3.
- T1 South : ANA and other Star Alliance airlines.
- T1 North: Skyteam airlines (Delta has moved completely to Haneda (HND)
- T2 : Japan Airlines and other One World Alliance airlines .
- T3 : LCCs Domestic and International
TRAINS – Which train is for you?
First, probably the most common public transportation from Narita to Tokyo is trains.
Two Train companies JR and KEISEI runs a special airport train with reserved seat. JR runs Narita Express (N’EX) and KEISEI runs Sky Liner. There is also a train called Access Express, which takes you to Tokyo city center and Haneda airport. This one doesn’t have reserved seat. The destination and price are different, so you can decide based on your destination and budget.
The merit of using train is, the train is fast and it doesn’t get influenced by traffic. What I like about train is usually it’s safer, and you can walk around unlike the bus. Your trip is not influenced by the driving technique of the driver too.
There are two stations travelers who arrives at Narita Airport will use. Narita Airport Station (Terminal 1) and Terminal 2 Station (Terminal 2 and 3). You can use both trains from both stations, so once you arrive and leave custom, proceed to the station in the basement. You’ll find both JR and KEISEI stations next to each other.
These are some other local trains that you can take from these two airport stations. So make sure you are on the right train.
- JR line (Narita Express and Local Trains to Narita city, Chiba, and Tokyo)
- Keisei Line – Sky Access ( Skyliner and Access Express)
- Keisei Line (Local trains to Narita city, Chiba and Ueno)
Most of the local trains are for local users, but the Access Express is very useful for tourists too. Let’s see one by one.
Narita Express (N’EX)
First Narita Express is operated by JR, and it takes you directly to Tokyo Station, Shibuya Station, and Shinjuku Stations. Some trains goes to Shinagawa and Yokohama. It takes about 1 hour to Tokyo Station and 1 hour and 30 minutes to Shinjuku, so it DOES take time but it’s a great relieve that you can go directly to those stations after long flight, carrying big suitcases. For any travelers, the first thing you want to do is to unload the luggages and make sure you have a good space to sleep that night. So I recommend you to find the fastest route to your accommodation.
The fare and time to destinations of Narita Express
|JR Narita Express||One Way Fare||Time Takes|
|to Tokyo Statoin||3070 Yen||60 min.|
|to Shinjuku, Shibuya Station||3250 Yen||1 hour and 24 min to Shinjuku. 1 hour and 18 min to Shibuya.|
So that is 6500 Yen for round trip to Shinjuku. That is expensive. If you return in 14 days with Narita Express Again, you can consider “N’EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket” which is 4,070 Yen round trip. Make sure you ask that ticket for the staff at the airport station.
What if you have Japan Rail Pass
If you are planning to use Japan Rail Pass, Narita Express is the only choice as the reserved seats of Narita Express is included in the pass. You need to activate the pass and make seat reservation before you get on the Narita Express, so make sure you stop at the JR counter which you can find easily at the gate of JR stations in Narita Airport.
You can activate your JR pass at JR East Travel Service Center in front of the train gate. (Left on the photo)
How to get on Narita Express
You can get ticket with reserved seat at the counter and proceed to the platform. Just make sure that you don’t get on the local train. Narita Express is a train with red, white and black design.
So for whom, Narita Express is good?
Narita Express is good for you if,
- Your final destination is near Tokyo Station, Shibuya, Shinjuku
- You want to use Japan Rail Pass
Keisei Skyliner is a rapid train service from Narita Airport to Nippori, and Ueno in Tokyo city center. All seats are for reservation only and the biggest merit of the Skyliner is the speed to the Ueno. It runs with 160km /h which is very fast for non-Shinkansen train in Japan. It takes you to the Nippori station in about 40 minutes. The service runs every 20 minutes (40 minutes at night) . The fare is 2590 Yen, and a little more reasonable than Narita Express.
Skyline stops at Nippori and Keisei Ueno Station. Unless you have accommodation booked near Ueno Station, you want to get off at Nippori station and change to JR Lines.
So for whom, Skyliner is good?
Keisei Skyliner is good for you if,
- Your final destination is near Ueno station
- Your final destination is on the station easily accessible from Nippori station, such as Akihabara or Ikebukuro.
- Asakusa is another town that is close to Ueno. But there is another way to go directly to Asakusa too.
Access Express is a regular train that connects Narita Airport and Haneda Airport, which is on the other side of Tokyo. The train use the fast track called (Sky Access) the same as Skyliner, and it takes you to the city center of Tokyo with some stops. You don’t need any reservation for this train, so the fare will be around 1300 Yen, which is much cheaper than using Skyliner or Narita Express which has only reserved seat.
The train will directly goes into subway called Asakusa Line, so if your destination is on Asakusa line, it might be easier to take this Access Express instead of any other services.
The major station in Tokyo that Access Express train stops: Asakusa – Nihonbashi – Shinbashi – Daimon.
The major problem is that it comes only every 40 minutes or so, and it doesn’t run in the evening (and the direction changes to Ueno instead of Haneda Airport). Also the train is not just for airport users, so it can be busy in the morning and the evening. You might feel less comfort comparing with reserved train like Skyliner or Narita Express.
I personally take this Access Express a lot since it was easy to get to my home near Shinjuku, but when I’m tired, I use Skyliner to Ueno and change to Oedo Line or take Narita Express to Shinjuku.
So for whom, Access Express is good?
Access Express is good for you if,
- Your final destination is along Toei Asakusa Line subway.
- Your final destination is on the station easily accessible from stations of Asakusa Line.
How to get on Sky Liner and Access Express
When you get on the Sky Liner or Access Express, make sure you are on the right train with the right ticket. Both Narita Airport Station and Airport Terminal 2 stations has two different platforms for Tokyo direction. One is for Via Sky Access, and one if Via Keisei Line .You need to go to the platform of SKY ACCESS for Sky Liner and Access Express. It’s a little confusing as the destination is the same, but the route via Keisei Line takes much longer time. You use Keisei Line only in case you need to go to Narita city, or other stations along the Keisei Line.
After you reached the platform, I want you to be careful not to take Access Express with Skyliner ticket, or take Skyliner without any reserved seat ticket.
Especially at Airpot Terminal 2 station, both train comes in the same platform. Skyliner is the one with white body and blue design with 2 doors per car, and Access Express is 3 door and seats are facing the side of the train.
I met a guy who took wrong train…and what happened.
When I took Access Express one time, I saw one guy who purchased Skyliner ticket but accidentally got on Access Express. He was sitting next to me and talked to me “Am I on the right train?” showing me the reserved seat ticket for Skyliner which was going to arrive right after our train. It was after leaving Airport Terminal 2 station, and there was no way to go back or change to Skyliner since the Skyliner is non-stop to Tokyo.
He looked quite upset and I didn’t have words to talk to him when Skyline pass by our train with massive speed… and the silence after that. I don’t want the reader of this blog experience the same.
For hot to get around Tokyo by train, please also look at How to Get Around Tokyo by train
The bus access between Narita Airport and Tokyo used to be only limousine bus that is connecting many major hotels in Tokyo and some major stations. But recently, more reasonable and convenient choice is available.
Airport Bus TYO-NRT
The Airport Bus TYO-NRT is the shuttle service between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station. The bus will take you to Tokyo Station as fast as 65 minutes (depends on traffic) and it cost only 1300 Yen one way.
The bus runs every 10 minutes to 20 minutes between 3 terminals of Narita airport and Yaesu Gate of Tokyo Station.
To take the bus to Tokyo, you proceed to the bus ticket counter on the arrival gate and purchase your ticket. It’s easy to find the counter, but make sure you get the ticket at this counter before you proceed to the bus. You can get tickets for all bus services from Narita Airport here.
So for whom,Airport Bus TYO-NRT is good?
Airport Bus TYO-NRT is good for you if,
- Your final destination is near Tokyo Station.
- You are arriving on Airport Terminal 3. (It’s a long walk from Airport Terminal 2 station.)
Limousine Bus offers a bus service between Narita Airports and some destinations in central Tokyo and Haneda Airport. The bus has direct service to major hotels in central Tokyo, so if you are stay at that hotel on the list, this will be your choice. The price is 3200 yen for adults ( 1600 yen for 6 -11 years old), so it’s a little pricy, but you can skip all the stress of getting on and off at the busy trains. The bus name is “limousine” but it’s a pretty normal bus with bathroom in the back.
Some major hotels with limousine buses stop.
- Shinjuku: Hilton Tokyo, Hyatt Regency Tokyo, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Keio Plaza Hotel, Washington Hotel
- Roppongi, Akasaka Area: Ritz Carlton Tokyo, Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Hotel New Otani, Okura Tokyo, Capitol Tokyu Hotel
- Ginza, Hibiya Area: The Palace Hotel, The Imperial Hotel
* Due to the travel restrictions, the number of bus is limited so please check the updated information on the official homepage if you use them.
Limousine Bus is good for you if,
- Your hotel is the list of bus destinations.
So which transportation is better for you?
I recommend you to choose the easiest way because it’s very difficult to change trains with many suitcases after a long flight to Japan. Especially if your arrival time hits the morning or evening rush hours, it’s even more difficult. So you might wan to choose the transportation that takes you to the destination directly, or you can even consider choose the hotel that is convenient from Narita Airport for the first night.
Articles that you might show interest : Complete Guide to Tokyo