Arriving at Narita Airport for the first time can be overwhelming for most people. Depending on when you travel, the airport can be a very busy place and the lines for tickets can be very long. However, knowing where to go and how to get there can make this chaotic experience a breeze!
If you are landing in Narita, there is no doubt you are going to Tokyo. The Japanese do an insanely great job at making things convenient for people, especially tourists. This includes getting to Tokyo. Narita Airport offers many transit services by train, bus, and taxi. The most common way is by train on the Keisei Main Line, the Keisei Skyliner, JR Sobu Rapid Express Line, and the JR Narita Express (N’EX).
There are also several more options if you don’t want to take the train. You can take the Tokyo Shuttle Bus, Limousine Bus, and the standard Taxi.
Suggested Train Lines
Keisei Main Line
920-1030 yen, about 1 hour and 30 minutes of travel
This Line is the most common line used by most people coming from the Airport. This train can be distinguished by the red and blue stripes running vertically down each carriage. Because this is a public local line with many stops, it might be busier than usual and one of the slower options. If the train is busy, a seat might not be available so expect to stand if that’s the case. The main stops of this train are Aoto, Nippori, and ends at Keisei-Ueno Station. I rode this train several times from Narita and the rural views are great for a warm introduction to the country.
JR Sobu Line (Rapid Service)
1320 yen, about 1 hour and 30 minutes of travel
This Line is the second most common line used by people coming from the Airport. This train can be distinguished by the blue and gold stripes running vertically down each carriage. The major stops of this line are Tokyo Station, and Shinjuku Station. This line only has a departure once per hour. Because this line is a rapid service, expect it to be less busy than the Keisei Main Line.
2470-2940 yen per ticket, about 1 hour of travel
This train is the second fastest option to get to Tokyo. This awesome looking train is a high speed rapid express train that has comfortable seats and a place to put your luggage. This train has no stops and runs from Narita to Nippori. The Skyliner is recommended for those who are staying in Nippori, or to connect to the Yamanote Line to get to their hotel. You can find more information, and discounts here from the official website.
JR Narita Express (N’EX)
3020-6160 yen per ticket, about 50 minutes of travel
Easily the fastest and most luxurious way to Tokyo, this express train stops at every major station such as Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Omiya, Yokohama, and Ofuna Station. The price of each ticket goes up the further away you go from Tokyo. Like the Keisei Skyliner, this train has comfortable seats, plenty of legroom, and a place to store your luggage while on the train. Unlike the Keisei Skyliner, this train offers premium first class tickets which offer better seating and more room than standard seating. This train can be distinguished by its futuristic styled front, and it’s white and red colors. The price is a bit higher than the other options, however I strongly recommend this train for a comfortable and stress free ride to Tokyo. You can book tickets, view timetables, and see a list of detailed information here at JR’s official website for N’EX.
Buses & Road Transportation
Keisei Expressway Bus
1000-2000 yen per ticket, about 1 hour of travel time (depending on traffic)
My personal favorite. I always use the Keisei Bus to Tokyo Station from Narita Airport because of how cheap it is compared to the other options. This bus is a standard charter bus with comfortable seats, an overhead space for any extra luggage such as bags, a cup holder on the back of every seat if you have a drink, and free accessible WiFi. You can reserve your tickets here at the official website or get tickets at the airport from the Keisei kiosk near the exit. Buses conveniently depart every 20 minutes. When boarding the bus, staff will take your suitcase and any large luggage to store safely underneath the bus in the storage compartments for the duration of the ride. Be aware that travel time can vary depending on traffic.
JR Access Narita Bus
1000 yen per person, about 1 hour of travel time (depending on traffic)
JR does a great job at making things convenient, including their bus services. Like the Keisei Bus, this bus is a standard charter bus with comfortable seats, and overhead space for storage. You do not have to buy or reserve a ticket before boarding the bus, however I would not recommend this during busy holidays or weekends. You might get stuck waiting for the next bus if you can’t get on the first. Instead of presenting a ticket, you simply pay when getting on the bus before taking your seat. This bus stops at Tokyo and Ginza Station. Be aware that travel time can vary depending on the traffic. You can find more information about this bus through their official site here.
Friendly Airport Limousine Bus
1400-3100 yen per ticket, about 1 hour of travel time (depending on traffic)
The Friendly Airport Limousine does an awesome job of getting people to specific hotel destinations within Tokyo, starting at Narita Terminal 3 and ending at Shiba Park Hotel. This bus is slightly more luxurious with new comfortable seats, extra leg room, overhead space, and free accessible WiFi. You can reserve tickets, find timetables, and see all the stops here on their official website here. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets at their orange colored kiosk at the Airport inside the Arrivals Lobby. Be sure to check for official deals from their website for discounts before booking your tickets!
16000-25000 yen per fare, about 1 hour of travel time (depending on traffic)
The last and least favorable option is by taxi. Taxi fares to Tokyo can range up to 25000 yen (250 USD) per ride from the airport. In a situation where your plane arrives late at night after 12:30 AM (when trains and bus services are suspended) and you don’t want to wait at the airport until morning, your only option will be to take a taxi. If you are someone with no budget and prefers the privacy of a car to yourself, go ahead and take the taxi. Taxis usually take around an hour to get to Tokyo depending on the traffic.
There are no tickets or extra services needed to get a taxi. Simply walk outside of the airport from the Arrivals Lobby and watch for where the taxis are parked. Taxis are typically black, green, or orange. You can find more detailed information on fares here at Narita Airport’s official website.
All Aboard for Tokyo
There are many convenient ways at your disposal to get to Tokyo from Narita Airport. It is just a matter of choosing the right service that fits your needs and budget. Above were all of the possible ways and services that you can take. From my own personal experience after riding most of these, I recommend taking the Keisei Main Line, or the Keisei Expressway Bus. These two options are not only the cheapest, but also gives you a chance to experience Japan in a way you wouldn’t normally by taking the fastest options.
I’ve not talked about the ways of getting tickets or train passes from Narita Airport, so I will cover that in the near future! I will provide a link later once posted.