It’s the biggest airport in Japan, and the second busiest. Located 60 kilometers out of Tokyo and the international hub for getting into Tokyo. Let Japlanning tell you the best way to get to and from Tokyo to Narita and the best way to get around the airport.
Narita Airport, which was formally known as New Tokyo Airport is the hub for most international flights in and out of Tokyo, Japan. The other airport, Haneda, which is centrally located in Tokyo Bay, handles the bulk of domestic air travel in and out of Tokyo and a handful of international flights.
Narita Airport is large and spans over two terminals, appropriately called “Terminal 1 and Terminal 2”. Both have international flights arriving and departing from them, and are connected by road and train, which makes transfers between the terminals are a breeze.
When arriving into Narita, you will be pointed to Immigration to clear. Here you can experience waits from 5 minutes to over an hour, all depending on how many flights come in at the same time, and staffing levels. Make sure you have filled out your arrival card on the plane correctly, and present your boarding pass, passport, and arrival card to immigration.
All foreigners over the age of 15 who arrive in Japan are fingerprinted and photographed to prevent criminals and terrorists from entering Japan. Diplomats, and some permanent residents of Japan are excluded from the process. This is all performed at the immigration point of arrival when your passport is also stamped.
Once you clear Immigration, make your way to the baggage carousels to collect your luggage and clear customs, if you’re declaring nothing, walk through the green “nothing to declare” desks and exit to the arrival halls.
After you’re in the arrival halls, you will find many shops selling rental cell phones and wifi hotspots to keep you connected in Japan, and you will also find transport options.
Now that you have your things, it's time to get into Tokyo, with so many options to get their, find out what transports the best below.
The biggest downside to flying into Narita is the distance from Tokyo, but thankfully Narita International Airport gives you plenty of options on getting to the city, and some within 60 minutes. Let’s take a look at your options, the costs and the ease of each:
Taxi - Lets start with the most important thing you need to know: you do not take a taxi from Narita to Tokyo. Taxis can be expensive in Japan, and from Narita to Tokyo it will cost from $250 - $350 dollars, one way. This is simply cost prohibitive for most, and the traffic will usually make it one of the slowest options as well.
JR Narita Express Train - the most popular way to get into Tokyo and beyond is the Narita Express (N’EX). This train is a high speed connection into Tokyo, and services major areas, like Tokyo Station (Marunouchi), Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Ueno and more.
N’EX departs from both terminals’ train stations (follow the signs from the arrival hall to the station). The fast journey takes 60-minutes into Tokyo Station, and this line is fully covered by the JR Rail Pass, and JR East Rail Pass, that are available to foreigners.
One-way transit on the Narita Express costs 3000¥, and trains depart every 30 to 60 minutes. At the airport you can purchase the Suica & NEX package that gives you discounted rides on N’EX, and also Suica credit for other trains. One-way for 3500¥ and round trip for 5000¥. For more information check our article here.
JR Sobu Line - an alternative to the N’EX is the JR Sobu Line. It’s cheaper than the express, however much slower, and trains are often less frequent. A trip from Narita into Tokyo on the Sobu line is about 90 minutes. This option is also covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Rail Pass.
The JR Sobu Line costs 1280¥. The service leaves once every hour.
Other Trains - The Keisei Sky Liner and Limited Express run from both terminals, but involve transfers at stations before Tokyo.
Limousine Bus - The other option to taking a train into Tokyo is to use the Limousine bus service. Busses depart from Narita to several hotels and major stations in Tokyo, and also to Tokyo Disney Resort. Booking desks are in the arrival halls, and can’t be missed by their bright orange signs.
Buses leave for Tokyo every 15 to 20 minutes to various locations and hotels. A one-way journey into central Tokyo costs 3000¥, and takes about 70 to 110 minutes, depending on traffic. For full schedules and destinations, visit the official website - http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/
Narita airport is large and can be extremely busy with multiple flights arriving at once, however the organisation of the Airport makes everything easy to find, and simple to get into Tokyo from the Airport. If you’re flying into Tokyo, chances are you will be arriving in Narita. Planning your transport prior to arriving from the options above will make your arrival an enjoyable start to you Japan vacation.
Have you flown into Narita International Airport before? How did you find it?
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