How to go to Yokohama from Tokyo?
October 6, 2008 11:15 PM   Subscribe

I am currently in Singapore and would like to go to Yokohama during mid-November. I speak pretty good English and minimal Japanese, but since this would be my first trip to Japan, I'm pretty clueless about directions.

I'd probably fly from Singapore to Narita airport. I have read that I could take either Narita Express train or limousine bus from the airport. Can anybody suggest the safest (most foreigner-friendly way) that I could take? It's okay if it's slightly more expensive than other alternatives, as long as I'd arrive there.
posted by joewandy to Travel & Transportation around Japan (11 answers total)
I would take the Narita Express. It's no problem for someone who speaks no Japanese. Tokyo area JR stations have all important signs in English, and the trains announcements are all in English as well. It's fast, and easier to catch (in the airport) than buses. (Though buses will probably be marginally cheaper.) The station agents are the airport speak enough English so you can get your ticket, though the ticket its self will be Japanese. (You'll be able to make out your car number and seat though.)

The buses are a little more hit and miss on Enlgish ability. And NRT to Yokohama takes forever.
posted by Ookseer at 11:37 PM on October 6, 2008

I also recommend Narita Express for travel to Yokohama. A bus would be like 3 hours or more with traffic. Everything's in English, credit cards no problem, ask the nice ladies in the JR uniforms if you have questions, etc.
posted by gen at 12:15 AM on October 7, 2008

Where's your final destination in Yokohama? The answer depends on whether you will be going to Yokohama proper or the outskirts. And will you have lots of luggage?

If you are going to end up near Yokohama Station, I hands down recommend the limousine bus, called the YCAT, to the bus terminal or one of the hotel stops and then cab it to your destination. (Be sure to bring along a printout of the address to show the driver.)

I'm a recent transplant to Yokohama (from Tokyo) and used the bus both ways when I took a trip overseas a couple months ago. It cost not much more than the Narita Express and took about an hour and a half. You don't have to worry about train transfers or lugging your bags up and down stairs -- just check your luggage in at the airport curb and sleep until your destination. Oh, and the curbside staff speak English. I'll never take the train to Narita again!

Here's the YCAT timetable, YCAT terminal map, and Narita limousine bus counter map.
posted by QueSeraSera at 1:04 AM on October 7, 2008

PS. Narita Airport wishes it was in Tokyo... it's way out in Chiba Prefecture.
posted by QueSeraSera at 1:06 AM on October 7, 2008

My final destination would be to arrive at Yokohama Hostel Village. According to the site, it is located within 3-minutes walking distance from JR Ishikawacho Station.

Pretty minimal luggage, just 3 young adult -- each carrying a small backpack.
posted by joewandy at 2:49 AM on October 7, 2008

You might also want to get a JR Rail Pass (, which you can use to pay for your Next train to Yokohama.

I used a JR Rail Pass when I was in Japan a couple of weeks ago, and it saved me a bunch of money. Note that you have to buy a coupon outside of Japan (there's a list of vendors on the website, including a couple in Singapore), which you will convert into a pass at a JR station (there's one in the basement of Narita airport).
posted by quidividi at 3:42 AM on October 7, 2008

Another vote for the Narita Express train - it's more comfortable, in my experience, and doesn't get stuck in traffic.

Just to clarify a few points above. YCAT is the Yokohama City Air Terminal, not the name of a bus line. The Narita Express is called "NEX", not "Next".

A JR Rail Pass can be convenient and economical if you're traveling very extensively in Japan within a short period of time (e.g. over to Hiroshima and back), and don't mind the restrictions - there are a lot of shinkansen trains and certain other express trains that you can't take. Individual train tickets can be cheaper if you're not traveling that much, and even if you are, planes and buses are often cheaper. And of course if you're just going to Yokohama (and Tokyo and Kamakura), a rail pass doesn't make any sense at all.

Enjoy your trip!
posted by crustacean choreographer at 6:37 AM on October 7, 2008

It looks like your best bet is to take the NEX to Tokyo or Shinagawa Station, transfer to the Keihin-Tohoku line, and take that the rest of the way to Ishikawa-cho. I'm pretty sure that you can buy a ticket good to the end of your journey at the NEX counter.

Another option would be to take the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno Station, and transfer to the Keihin-Tohoku there. This will be somewhat cheaper and slower. (There's also a milk-run train on the Keisei line—that's only a few hundred yen, but it takes a loooooong time. Narita is quite far from Tokyo).

Note that Tokyo, Ueno, and Shinagawa stations are huge and kind of confusing. Take your time and don't hyperventilate while trying to make your way to your connection. Tokyo Station is a beautiful old structure, and you might want to step outside and look around.
posted by adamrice at 7:27 AM on October 7, 2008

Fast, comfortable and hassle free? I still say bus (+ taxi or +local train ride).
Want to jump right into the Japan experience? You're with friends, have fun and do the train.
posted by QueSeraSera at 8:23 AM on October 7, 2008

>It looks like your best bet is to take the NEX to Tokyo or Shinagawa Station, transfer to the Keihin-Tohoku line, and take that the rest of the way to Ishikawa-cho.

But the NEX goes all the way to Yokohama station, with far fewer stops than a local train.
posted by crustacean choreographer at 12:26 PM on October 7, 2008

crustacean choreographer—I did not know that. Cool!
posted by adamrice at 1:00 PM on October 7, 2008

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