From Narita Airport to Tokyo: How to Travel Between them
Express train, taxi or bus: check the best way to go from Tokyo to Narita Airport and vice versa
Although it’s considered the largest international airport in Tokyo, in reality Narita Airport is not in Tokyo, not even close. Narita Airport is at least an hour away from what we would consider the center of Tokyo. So getting from Narita Airport to Tokyo is not as easy as it can be in other cities.
The size of Tokyo is also another difficulty when moving to and from the airport. Tokyo doesn’t have what we could call a “center” like other tourist cities. The city is huge, with other neighborhoods or cities inside. When we talk about the center of Tokyo we usually refer to the area near Tokyo Station, but many tourists stay in the Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno or Asakusa areas, for example.
There are different ways to connect the airport with different parts of the city. Depending on your destination (in which area is your hotel or residence, etc.), your needs and your budget, one option or another will be more convenient for you. In this article I will explain the different ways to get from Narita airport to Tokyo, explaining the pros and cons and comparing the prices.
Arriving to Haneda? Then check this article: How to Travel Between Haneda Airport and Tokyo
*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.
Getting from Narita to central Tokyo quick comparison
Before going into the details of each service, let’s have a quick comparison to give you an idea. Basically there are three ways to get from Narita Airport: train, taxi and bus. Within these categories, there are different options and prices.
The following chart shows three of the most important points that people usually look for when deciding that are how much it cost, how many time it takes, and how many people (for example sometimes sharing a taxi can be better than going on express train, etc).
- Approx fare: This is the lowest cost possible for this service. In some services prices might change depending on where your destination is or the time of day you’re using this service.
- Time: This is the lowest time possible for this service. Time might change in some services depending on where your destination is or the conditions (heavy rain, traffic jam, etc).
|from 22,700 yen
|from 27,000 yen
|Up to 6
|Up to 4
|Grab a taxi there
Express Trains from Narita Airport
Being the country of the famous bullet trains, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the most common ways to travel from the city center to the airport is by express train. These trains are not only fast, but also very comfortable and designed for travelers. There are mainly two options.
The Keisei Skyliner is the fastest way to get from Narita Airport to Tokyo or vice versa. It costs 2,570 yen for adults and 1,150 yen for children from 6 to 11 years old.
This train takes 36 minutes to Nippori Station or 41 minutes to Ueno Station. At Nippori Station you can change to the JR Yamanote Line, while at Ueno Station in addition to the Yamanote Line you can also transfer to the Ginza or Hibiya Line of the Tokyo Metro. Depending on where your hotel is located, one station or the other will be more convenient.
Besides the speed, one of the reasons why it may be worth paying the price of the Skyliner is because there is a specific space in each carriage where you can leave your suitcases. So you can relax in the comfortable seats and enjoy the ride without worrying about your suitcase moving or disturbing other passengers. Free Wifi is also available.
The Narita Express or N’EX is another of the fastest options to travel between Narita Airport and Tokyo. It’s slightly more expensive than the Skyliner, 3,320 yen for adults, but it goes from Narita Airport to Tokyo station directly in 53 minutes. Some of the trains also stop at Shinjuku or Shibuya.
In addition, if you buy the round-trip ticket together, there is a 33% promotion and it costs 4,070 yen for adults or 2,030 yen for children. And for those who have a Japan Rail Pass, the N’EX is included in the pass so you don’t have to pay for it.
Where to Buy the Express Train Ticket in Narita Airport?
The train area at Narita Airport is located on the B1 floor. Once there, you will quickly see two large counters. One is blue, and corresponds to the counter for the Keisei line, which operates the Skyliner. For the NEX’T you have both an area with ticket vending machines, and right next to it a JR ticket office if you prefer to be attended by a staff.
Where to Take the Express Train Ticket in Narita Airport?
Both Keisei Line and JR have right next to their ticket counters the doors to access the train tracks. Make sure you are on the right track, as there are also local trains (but they are much slower).
Taxis or Private Transfers
One of the most used systems in all the airports of the world to get from the airport to the hotel is the taxi or private transfer. It’s undoubtedly the most comfortable and simple way, especially if you come tired from a long flight and with possible jet lag.
But it’s also usually the most expensive option. In Japan as a general rule, taxi services are more expensive than in other countries, even for relatively short trips. As I said, Narita airport is at least one hour away from the center of Tokyo, like Tokyo Station or Shinjuku.
The price of regular taxis can vary between 25,000-30,000 yen, or even more if there is traffic or an accident and the ride takes a long time (since the meter counts by kilometers but also by hours). In addition, to this price you need to add the cost of tolls (which is quite high when it comes to entering/exiting Narita).
So in general, using a taxi to go from Tokyo to Narita Airport isn’t the best option, unless you are in a hurry or have a high budget. But there are also situations when taxi is the best option: when traveling with a lot of people and luggage, especially if there are children; or when your flight leaves very early in the morning or arrives very late at night and there aren’t many transports available.
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Buses from Narita to Tokyo
Although not particularly economical, Airport Limousine Bus is a popular choice among many tourists because of its practicality. The ticket costs 3,100 yen for adults or 1,550 yen for children, making it even more expensive than the Skyliner, but it stops at many of Tokyo’s most popular hotels. With this option, you save having to change trains, carry luggage on the train, at the station, look for the exit, etc. You simply leave your luggage in the luggage compartment of the bus and sit down until you arrive at the door of the hotel.
The disadvantage of the train is that you may be delayed if there is traffic, and more than an hour depending on the destination. Also, although the name is Limousine Bus, the interior is that of a fairly normal bus (slightly larger and more comfortable than a regular bus).
Narita Airport Shuttle Bus
Willer Express is a Japanese bus company that offers very competitive prices for trips between different cities in Japan. They also have a bus that connects Narita airport with Ikebukuro station for 1,500 yen (1,900 yen if you buy it the same day). In Ikebukuro you can transfer to different train and subway lines, such as the JR Yamanote or the Marunouchi, Yurakucho and Fukutoshi lines of the Tokyo subway.
Where to Buy Bus Tickets in Narita Airport?
Unlike the train, the ticket counters for the bus are on the second floor, right in the arrivals area. There are several counters throughout the airport, and they are signposted so they are easy to find. You will have one counter for the Airport Limousine Bus marked just as Bus Tickets and another for the Shuttle Bus, marked Low Cost Bus Tickets.
Where to Take the Bus in Narita Airport?
That will depend on which bus you take, but basically you just have to go outside and look for the number of your bus stop. The exit doors are next to the ticket counter and the staff will tell you approximately where your stop is (exiting to the left, right, etc).
Although it’s not the most recommended or the most comfortable option, if you want to go as cheaply as possible, there are also local trains that connect Narita airport with some of the most popular train stations in Tokyo. The price is around 1,050-1,250 yen depending on the destination station for the Keisei Limited Express, or for about 1,350 yen you can use the Keisei Sky Access Express, which connects Narita Airport with Asakusa in 60 minutes or 70 minutes to Shinbashi.
So, the big question of most of you know probably is, which is the best way to move between Narita Airport and central Tokyo? Well, as I said at the beginning, it will depend on your priorities.
From the above, the fastest option is express train (especially the Skyliner). But if you prefer to prioritize economy over speed, then the cheapest option is no doubt the local train followed by express train and shuttle bus. For those searching for a private transportation or for large groups, then Airport Taxi is the one.
If you want to compare whether it’s better to take the train or bus depending on where your hotel is, these articles are a guide on how to move between Narita Airport and the following locations:
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If you are if you are wondering how to get around Tokyo once you get there, this article may help you ▶︎The Ultimate Guide for Transportation in Tokyo
▽Transportation Guide for Other Popular Destinations▽
If you are traveling to Tokyo don’t miss the best tourist attractions and spots with our Best Things to Do in Tokyo!
I hope you found it useful! If you want to know the best places to visit and things to do in Tokyo, or other trips about transportation in Japan, these articles may interest you too!