From/to Tokyo Narita international airport
last update: February 27, 2015
Two rail companies operate connections between Narita Airport and Tokyo, the JR (Japan railways) and private Keisei Railways.
Keisei company offers essentially three types of connection, the Skyliner
, the Sky Access Express
and the Keisei Main Line
is currently the fastest alternative to reach a "central" station in Tokyo, it makes only two stops: Nippori station (40 minutes) and Ueno station
(45 minutes). Both stations are served by the JR Yamanote line
and Ueno by some metro lines too, therefore from these station you can easily reach any other part of the city.
There is a train every half hour. All seats are reserved.
You can also buy this ticket online with a small discount (2200 yen adults, 1100 children) at this link
Sky Access Express
The Sky Access Express
, is useful to reach Aoto station
(44 minutes), from where you can reach several stations of Tokyo more or less for half price compared to the Skyliner. For example you can go in the direction of Ueno (1240 yen) through the Main line
, or towards Oshiage (Tokyo Sky Tree area) taking the Oshiage line
which subsequently continues along the route of the Toei Asakusa line
, then stopping at Asakusa (59 minutes, 1290 yen), Nihonbashi, Higashi-Ginza (70 minutes, 1330 yen), Shimbashi, etc.
Some trains, once arrived at Aoto, then continue in the direction Oshiage / Asakusa / Shimbashi, so there is no need to make a change. This aspect depends on the time of departure.
The Keisei Main Line
is the slowest and cheapest alternative of all. You can get to Ueno station (80 minutes, 1030 yen) or get off at Aoto station (66 minutes) and there change as mentioned above. Compared to the Sky Access Express, you can save about 200 yen.
In addition, there are two "types" of trains on this line, the Limited Express ones (the travel times I wrote here refer to these trains) and the Local ones, which stop at every station and are even slower.
The Narita Express
(N'ex) of JR is the most "famous" service to reach without any change some important stations in Tokyo: Tokyo Station (59 min), Shinagawa (70 min), Shibuya (78 min), Shinjuku (83 min), Ikebukuro (90 min). Taking the Narita Express, you can also get to Yokohama (Yokohama station
, 90 minutes) and Saitama (Omiya station
, 114 minutes).
It is also the most expensive rail alternative, 3020 yen to Tokyo Station, 3190 yen to the other stations in Tokyo, 4290 yen to Yokohama. All seats are reserved, If the train is full (but it is practically impossible to happen), "standing" tickets are sold with a discount of 500 yen.
Buying an ordinary ticket of the N'ex is a thing that I absolutely do not
recommend because of the high price.
In the past there was a promotion called "Suica & N'Ex
", that has been discontinued from 1st April 2014.
Now there is a new promotion, N'EX Tokyo Direct Ticket
: for 1500 yen you can reach any JR staton within Tokyo, both those directly served by the Narita Express and any other one. With the same price you can also reach Yokohama and Saitama. This promotion is valid only for foreigners, it can be purchased only at JR offices inside Narita Airport, and is valid only for the journey from the airport to the city, so it cannot be used for the return trip to the airport.
From March 14, 2015
the promotion "N'EX Tokyo Direct Ticket" will be discontinued too, and will be replaced by a new promotion, called NEX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket
: conditions will be the same ones of the previous one, with the difference that the ticket will be a round trip ticket and the price will rise to 4,000 yen.
Starting from March 14, 2015, therefore, the only way to buy a one-way ticket with the Narita Express will be to pay at full price.
Important clarification about the Narita Express from Narita airport
All Narita Express depart from the airport and arrive at Tokyo station. At Tokyo station, the train splits into two: some of the cars continues towards Shibuya, Shinjuku, etc, the other cars continue instead towards Shinagawa, Yokohama and lastly Ofuna.
So, if you are going to any destination station, except for Tokyo station, it is absolutely necessary
to respect the place that you are assigned, the number of the car in particular, to avoid the risk of arriving somewhere else than where you are headed.
During a trip a few years ago, inspired by the fact that the train was practically empty, I sat down in a random place, and...you can imagine the end of this story.
JR Sobu line
There is also another alternative of JR, much cheaper and with low frequencies (more or less a departure every hour).
A sort of metropolitan rail service, identified as JR Sobu line Rapid Service
, making numerous stops and arrives at Tokyo station in about 90 minutes for only 1320 yen. The seats are not reserved.
Narita airport is connected by an infinite number of bus routes to various cities in surroundings. You can find the complete list of bus connections at this link
Here Below instead I'll describe the services to/from Tokyo.
A slow service, that takes between 100 and 140 minutes depending on your stop, is the "Limousine bus
The standard ticket costs 3100 yen and could be very handy becaouse it stops just in front of many hotels in Tokyo. You can check all the stops at this link http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/bus_services/narita/index
I recommend this service for those who are particularly scared of a first impact with the rail system of the city and prefer to be conveniently left in front of the hotel without the possibility of making mistakes.
Limousine & Metro pass:
it is a special package that offers a Limousine bus ticket to Tokyo + a Tokyo metro day pass (with this pass you can use for one day all Tokyo metro subway lines for free) for 3200 yen or a round trip ticket + a Tokyo metro 2days pass for 6200 yen.
By Be-Transse bus
The cheapest foreign-friendly alternative of all to get to downtown Tokyo from Narita airport, even compared to any train option.
This bus line connects Narita Airport to Ginza
and Tokyo station
in about 90 minutes, at a price of 1000 yen. More information at this website
, where you can find photos and very detailed instructions that describe the locations of the stops and the service.
Keisei Tokyo Shuttle bus
This bus line connects Narita airport to Tokyo station (and other minor stops in Tokyo), at a price of 900 yen, you can find more information at this link
, where it is not explained, however, the position of the stops in Tokyo.
A taxi(cab) ride to the city of Tokyo costs between 150 and 200 euros.
Further information here
The "Mori Building City Air Services" company offers a connection by helicopter that costs 280.000 yen one way.
From the arrival area of Narita airport you are transported by limousine
to the nearby heliport where is the takeoff, and after a flight of 15 minutes you'll land at the heliport of Ark Hills
. Overall the whole trip takes 30 minutes (15 in the limousine + 15 in flight).
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin
How to use Govoyagin
Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience
, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Govoyagin you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities
all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Govoyagin you can also buy tickets
for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table
in hundreds of restaurants.