How to travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Metropolitan areas

Upon landing at Narita Airport in Tokyo, tourists are given many options of transportation to get to the Tokyo city area. But choosing the best mode depends on many factors, such as location of your hotel or accommodation, number of pax, and how much luggage you have.

Here, from our own experience, we introduce to you the 5 ways to travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Metropolitan areas.

1. Narita Express

image source: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/

If you are intending to get a Japan Rail Pass (JR pass), then taking the Narita Express (N’EX) will be the most obvious choice, as it is fully covered by the pass. However, if you do not intend to get a JR pass, then a single ticket will cost you from 3020 yen onwards. There is a discount for round trip ticket at 4000 yen.

We recommend to use N’EX if you;

  • intend to buy a JR pass.
  • are staying near the JR station where N’EX stops. Example, Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku or Ikebukuro.
  • have big luggage. N’EX trains have ample luggage storage compartment.

Take note;

  • all seats on N’EX are reserved. Even with a JR pass, you will still need to approach the counter and reserve your seats.
  • N’EX is one of the fastest option for airport transfer

2. Keisei Skyliner

The fastest train to take you from Narita to the city, Keisei Skyliner is a limited express train that is really comfortable to use. The Skyliner is beautifully designed with “wind blue” colour and had won multiple design awards.

Keisei Skyliner is, however, the most expensive airport train too. It is operated by the Keisei Electric Railway co, and is therefore not covered by JR pass.

We recommend to use Keisei Skyliner if you;

  • want to try the most comfort and fast airport transfer.
  • are staying near Ueno or Nippori. Ueno is the furthest station that Skyliner can take you. If you are staying at say, Shinjuku, you will need to transfer to the Ueno JR line and take another train to Shinjuku. This can be cumbersome especially when travelling with elderly or having lots of luggage.
  • are travelling during busy days.

3. Regular trains

NE’X and Keisei Skyliner are the faster and costlier option to travel from Narita Airport to Tokyo Metropolitan areas. If you are not in a hurry or would like to go for a cheaper mode of transport, there are regular trains available too. The JR Sobu line rapid service trains and Keisei Limited Express trains both take around 90 minutes to reach the city area, but are much cheaper than NE’X and Skyliner.

We recommend to use normal trains if you;

  • want to save some money and is not in a rush for time.
  • do not have too much luggage. As these are normal trains, you will be travelling with mostly local Japanese who are commuting from Narita to Tokyo. It can get crowded during peak hours and you may not get a seat for the whole journey.
  • arrive in Narita Airport late (after 10pm). NE’X and Keisei Skyliner last train is around 10pm. If you cleared immigration after that time, your only choice of train may be just the normal trains.

4. Bus

Besides trains, taking a bus from airport to the city is also a good option. There are different companies operating buses from Narita airport. Our recommendations are Airport Limousine and Tokyo Shuttle.

The Airport Limousine Bus is a more expensive option, each ticket priced at around 3000 yen. The bus stops at many hotels and is very convenient if you are staying in any of them. Tokyo Shuttle is cheap, each ticket is only 1000 yen, and is a great way to get to JR Tokyo station. From there, you can take another JR train to reach your destination.

We recommend to use airport bus if you;

  • have many luggages. There are staffs stationed at the airport bus stops who will help you to load your luggage.
  • arrive in the wee hours. Airport buses operate late into the night. Do check out their website to get the timetable.
  • want the cheapest option

5. Taxi and private cars

If you have lots of money to spare, or you arrived the airport at 3am and has a meeting to attend at 6am, then hailing a taxi or a private car may be the option. A trip from Narita to Tokyo city area can cost a few hundred dollars. This is due to the high taxi rates and long distance between Narita and Tokyo.

We recommend to use taxi if you;

  • are insanely rich