The first and last things you do with any international travel is to make your way between the airport and the city. This is our guide for Narita Airport, but check out our Haneda Transport Guide if you're landing there. For the most accurate train timetables and costs, be sure to use the Transit Search function of this app.
【Choose the best option before you arrive】
Coming from Narita Airport
Narita is the main Tokyo airport, but you'll find that it's surprisingly far from the city center (and not actually in Tokyo either). Depending on where you're located and how you go the trip can take from 36 minutes to 2.5 hours! With a bit of planning you can save time, money, and hassle.
For most people landing at Narita and going into central Tokyo there are two main modes of transport: Train and Limousine Bus. As always, there is a train to take you where you want to go, but for many people the Limousine Bus service can be a much easier journey.
If you're a foreign passport holder you could be in luck! There are many good deals available to visitors, allowing you to save up to 50% on what would normally be an average 3,000 yen trip. Tickets for children under 12 are generally half price. The deals are always changing, so be sure to check online (links below) to see what's available.
Narita Express Train (N'EX)
For those getting off at major JR stations like Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, or Shinjuku (and others) the Narita Express can be a good option, getting you there in around 60-90 minutes. However, major stations can be quite chaotic so be prepared to walk with your bags through a lot of people. Normal prices are just over 3,000 yen, but if you purchased a Japan Rail Pass (and still have time left on it) you can ride for free. There is a JR Travel Center at the airport for redeeming your Japan Rail Pass, but if you're planning on spending a lot of time in Tokyo first we suggest saving the days for the bulk of your travel outside or between cities. In order to ride the Narita Express you will need to purchase a reserved seat at the counter or with a ticket machine, and we suggest also purchasing a Suica e-money card when you do.
If you're going to Nippori or Ueno stations (or near them) you'll be able to make the trip on the Skyliner in a super-fast 36-41 minutes for about 2,200 yen. However, any other stations besides those two means that you will need to switch trains. The speed on the train is great, and there are some very nice views from the windows. The Skyliner is particularly useful for those staying in North or East Tokyo, and you'll need to purchase as reserved seat at the counter before boarding.
Local Trains: Keisei Access Express
Staying in Oshiage, Asakusa, Nihombashi, or Higashi-Ginza? The Access Express is more like a local train (with bench seats) so it's less comfortable, but will get you there in 47-64 minutes at lower prices (around 980-1,400 yen). See the chart linked to below for more details, and keep in mind that this particular route cannot use credit cards. This train is especially good if you're staying in North or East Tokyo, or the business districts in the city center. No need to purchase a reserved seat, so it's best to buy an e-money card from the ticket machine and use that.
While trains will get you to other train stations, the Limousine Bus service will often bring you much closer to your hotel, if not directly to the hotel entrance. For those who don't want to carry their bags much and have a hotel near one of the arrival points, this is the way to go. A one-way trip is usually around 3,100 yen, but there are often good deals available at Narita for purchasing round-trip tickets at a good discount. If you buy a round-trip ticket be sure to make sure to confirm at the ticket desk that a timely return trip is available from your area.
Taxis and hired cars
Narita is FAR from downtown, so you could easily pay over 25,000 yen for a one-way trip into the city in a taxi, plus highway tolls. However, sometimes it makes sense depending on your situation, so it's best to book in advance with a service like Tokyo MK at fixed fares ranging from 16,000 to 22,000 yen, plus highway tolls (max 2,650 yen). Pickups from Narita can also incur placard fees around 3,000 yen.
Renting a car at the airport makes your trip easy going by forgetting about your luggage after you store it in the trunk, and not caring about time tables of transportation.
After stepping out from the arrival gate, go to the service counter and apply for your own car for your stay in Japan. Don’t forget to bring you passport and a valid international driving license. Nippon Rent-A-Car is available 24 hours so even if you arrive at the airport by a late or early morning flight, there are no worries to wait for the trains and buses to start operating. It is possible to return your car to another location too.
For the most standard type of mobile, the fee is approximately 10,000yen per day, and each additional day will cost 8,000～9,000yen. If you are traveling in a big party, this will be a choice to consider.
Feel like going crazy? You and three other passengers can ride in a custom Hermés Edition helicopter for 270,000 yen directly to downtown in a mere 20 minutes.
-Easy to transfer to other train lines on arrival
-Fast, comfortable, and with toilets on board.
-Stretch your legs and walk around
-Drinks and snacks available
-Charge any device with an AC outlet (except local trains)
-Nice views of the countryside
-Must walk a fair distance down to the tracks below the airport with your luggage
-When you arrive you'll need to bring your bags through busy train stations, then make your way to your hotel on foot or by taxi
-Wide variety of arrival points
-Toilets available on most buses
-Minimal walking as departure points are right outside the doors of the airport
-Goes straight to the door of many major hotels
-Free Wi-Fi (must sign-up at the airport)
-Comfortable enough but you can't walk around
-Transport time is longer than the train, but usually less than their given estimate
-No AC outlets
-Rather boring views on the highway (though downtown is exciting)