When you land in Narita Airport (NRT), you have a long trip ahead of you still. The distance from Narita Airport to Tokyo city is about 80 km. From Narita, you’re still one to two hours away from downtown Tokyo, so you need to figure out how to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo beforehand.
To make matters worse, cabs are insanely expensive in Japan, so you probably wouldn’t want to take a 2-hour ride in one. You can either take a bus or a train to travel between the Narita or Haneda Airports and Tokyo, but there are multiple options within these two broad categories.
In this post, I’ll show you how to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo (and from Haneda Airport too) and how cheap/fast/convenient each option is.
Taxi from Narita Airport to Tokyo
As I previously mentioned, you probably won’t want to take a taxi from Narita Airport to Tokyo, for the simple reason that it’s really expensive. The cost of taxi rides in Japan are high and we’re talking about a trip that will take you about 90 minutes.
If you really feel like you need to take a cab, know that the taxi fare from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo — like say, to Shinjuku — will be easily over 20,000 yen (about $200). Prepare 30,000 yen (about $300) to be safe. If comfort is important to you and money is not an issue, this could be a decent option.
(Tip: always check how much a taxi ride from the airport to the city center costs. During a long stopover in Taiwan, I made the mistake of taking a cab from the airport to downtown Taipei without knowing how far the trip was or how much it was gonna cost. It was a mistake that messed up my entire budget, but at least it was only about $35.)
Transportation from Narita Airport to Tokyo: Overview
Once we eliminate taxis, there are a few different options for transportation from Narita to Tokyo. Broadly, you can either take a bus or a train into central Tokyo.
From there, there are a few things you should consider:
- How much are you willing to pay?
Obviously, you get what you pay for. So the cheaper is it, the less convenient it is.
- Where will you be staying?
Since none of these transportation options offer door-to-door service, you’ll only be able to stop at major train stations and hotels, so you’ll have to walk the rest of the way. Don’t choose a certain bus or train just because it’s the cheapest; Tokyo is a huge city and you don’t want to end up stranded in the wrong end of the city with your luggage.
- How fast do you need to get there?
If you’re on a one-day stopover, for example, time is precious and saving a couple of hours may be worth a few extra thousand yens.
- Do you have big bags?
Some options are just commuter trains, so they’re cheap but can be crowded and almost impossible to navigate if you have sizeable luggage.
|One-Way Ticket||Return Ticket||Travel Time|
|Airport Limousine Bus||3,000||4,500||60 minutes to Tokyo City Air Terminal|
|Tokyo Shuttle/Keisei Bus||from 900||80 minutes to Tokyo Station|
|Access Narita Bus||1,000||75 minutes to Tokyo Station|
|JR Narita Express (N’EX) Train||from 3,020||4,000||53 minutes to Tokyo Station|
|JR Sobu Rapid Line (Airport Narita) Train||1,320||90 minutes to Tokyo Station|
|Keisei Sky Access Line Skyliner Train||2,470||41 minutes to Ueno|
|Keisei Main Line Limited Express Train||1,030||70 minutes to Ueno|
|Keisei Sky Access Line Access Express Train||1,330||64 minutes to Higashi-Ginza|
Narita Airport Limousine Bus Service
The Airport Limousine bus runs from the Narita Airport into Tokyo and back. Don’t be fooled by the name; it’s a regular bus. It’s comfortable and super convenient because it stops at many major hotels and subway stations all over Tokyo. (It only took us less than 10 minutes to walk from the bus stop to our AirBnB studio.) Plus, there are helpful attendants who greet you politely and load your luggage into the bus.
I took the Narita Airport Limousine Bus to Shinjuku. For a return trip for two passengers, we shelled out 9,000 yen. That’s 4,500 yen (about $45) per person. A one-way ticket costs 3,000 yen.
Keisei Tokyo Airport Shuttle Bus
The Keisei Bus, also known as the Tokyo Airport Shuttle Bus, runs between Narita Airport and Tokyo subway station.
The Tokyo Airport Shuttle Bus is considerably cheaper than the Limousine Bus, but it has a big downside: it only stops at Tokyo Station, Ginza (Yurakucho), Oedo-Onsen Monogatari, and Shinonomeshako. Unless you’ll be staying in one of these areas, you’ll have to take the train to your final destination.
A trip will only set you back 900 yen each way if you make an advanced reservation beforehand. The Keisei Bus company has an English website; follow the instructions here to purchase the ticket online, by phone, or at convenience stores if you’re already in Japan.
Without a reservation, you’ll have to pay 1,000 yen each way, with no guarantee that a seat will be available. You can purchase a ticket at the Keisei Bus counter at the arrival hall of the Airport.
Access Narita Bus
This bus ride will set you back 1,000 yen each way, but it only stops at Ginza Station and Tokyo Station. The tickets are half price for kids. There’s no need for you to make a reservation. Just show up at the bus stop; the bus comes every 15 minutes. Check out their website for more information.
JR Narita Express (N’EX) Train
The modern N’EX train runs between Narita Airport and downtown Tokyo.
This is a comfortable train with lots of luggage space and the ticket prices reflects this fact. A one-way journey on the N’EX train costs around 3,000 yen. There’s also the heavily discounted round-trip fare that you can get — it’s valid for two weeks and it’s sold exclusively to foreign travelers at 4,000 yen. If you already have the Japan Rail Pass or the JR East Pass, you can ride the N’EX train for free.
The Narita Express train takes you from Narita to Tokyo Station, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. The train route splits into two so you can also take it to reach Yokohama instead.
The Narita Express train timetable says it runs every half an hour, so you should be able to find one that suits your schedule.
Keisei Sky Access Line Skyliner Train
The Keisei Skyliner train is the fastest way to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo. It stops at Nippori and Ueno, then you’ll have to take the regular subway train to your final destination. If you’ll be staying near Nippori or Ueno, the Keisei Skyliner would be a convenient option, but otherwise you may end up taking a longer time to reach your accommodation.
The ticket costs 2,470 yen for the Skyliner.
For more information about travel times and fares on the Keisei trains between Narita to Tokyo, check out their official website.
JR Sobu Rapid Line Train, Keisei Sky Access Line Access Express Train and Keisei Main Line Limited Express Train
These three trains will take you from Narita Airport to Tokyo cheaply. However, they are all regular commuter trains and come with a set of challenges that you may not want to deal with. It would be much easier to take one of the cheaper buses instead.
These train routes are difficult to figure out. They can be slow and crowded, especially during peak hours. Plus, you won’t be able to move freely if you have big bags with you. Some train stations don’t have elevators or escalators, so you may have to lug your bags up and down the stairs. You can use the luggage delivery service at the airport to transfer your bags to your hotel, but it would probably be better to just use the money to take a more convenient transportation option instead.
Prices vary depending on which train service you choose and where you get off, but expect to pay 1,000 to 1,300 yen for a one-way trip.