Japan: Easiest way to get from Narita airport to Tokyo Station?
June 17, 2011 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Japan: Easiest way to get from Narita airport to Tokyo Station? Or, do I have my train details straight?

It looks like most hassle-free way to get from Narita Airport's international arrivals to Tokyo Station is to take the JR Express train. Anyone able to confirm? Flight is Delta Airlines, arriving late afternoon. Not much luggage. I got this information online and don't trust it completely:

- Take a JR Express train from Narita Airport Station (Airport Terminal 1).
- Go to the JR N'EX counter and reserve your seat for the red line (JR Narita Express).
- All seats are reserved, cost is about 3,000 yen.
- Departures every 30-60 minutes.
- Takes about 60 minutes to get to Tokyo Station.
- Get off at Tokyo Station.

Questions are:
1) how far of a walk is it from the Delta Airlines arrivals to the Narita train station?
2) Would it be easier or less crazy to just take a bus? Would be okay with longer travel time if it means not getting pushed into a train.
3) How do you know when to get off the train? Are there signs for Tokyo Station in English?
4) Should I buy tickets in advance?

Side question... What to do at Haneda airport late evening when you're just waiting for your midnight-departing flight?
posted by belau to Travel & Transportation around Japan (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
1) The walk isn't that far. Two, maybe three floors, with escalators (that you can roll your luggage cart onto) all the way to the NEX counter.

2) The train is regular. Buses have to deal with traffic. Buses are also not much cheaper, AFAIK. The NEX has reserved seats. No one stands on the NEX.

3) There are announcements in English on all trains that go to and from Narita. Also, the stop after Narita, I believe, is Tokyo Station.

4) You can more than likely get tickets when you arrive.

The NEX is the big, sleek white, black and red train. The rapid train (which makes a lot more stops, but is cheaper/more crowded) is sliver and blue/yellow.

No idea bout Haneda, though they've recently re-done it. Should be lots to do.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:36 PM on June 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

1) I arrived on Delta too. It's a pretty short walk -- it's about the same distance from arrival gate to ground transportation as at other major airports. I was carrying a week's luggage on my back and didn't find it tedious at all.

2) All of the Narita Express trains have reserved seats only, so you can be assured of getting a seat. I've taken the limousine bus too. It's quite nice. But the train is nicer. No shoving, really.

3) All stops are announced in Japanese and in English.

4) Not sure if you should buy tickets in advance. The last time I was in Japan was just before the N'EX trains started running, so I don't know how busy they are, but I didn't have any trouble getting a seat. (I took the Keisei line, FWIW. Since there are a couple of different trains operated by different companies, you don't have to worry too too much about one being super-crowded.)
posted by Jeanne at 6:37 PM on June 17, 2011

Although many NEX trains are stopped due to power-saving measures as a result of the earthquake, at the time of your arrival they are running normally (once every 30 minutes). If they are stopped for some reason, I recommend taking a limousine bus.

If you do take the NEX, be sure to purchase a Suica & N'EX ticket at the counter. For 5,500 yen (3,500 yen one way) you get a round-trip fare on the N'EX and 2,000 yen worth of Suica credit that you can use on JR lines, private railway lines, subway lines, and buses as well as at stores offering payment by Suica. This is probably the biggest "secret" bargain for traveling in Japan.
posted by armage at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

By the way, are you trying to do a transfer from Narita to Haneda on the same day? If so there are trains that run between both airports without transfers required. (The easiest way to get to Haneda Airport from Tokyo Station is by limousine bus, but you can also take the Asakusa and Keikyu lines from Nihonbashi, a short walk from Tokyo Station, or the Tokyo Monorail from Hamamatsucho, a few stops away on the Yamanote Line. The monorail allows you to disembark directly onto the departures level of the Haneda international terminal, while the Keikyu trains stop in a subterranean tunnel connected to the terminal by high-speed elevators.)
posted by armage at 6:58 PM on June 17, 2011

Once you are there you will find that there are lots of train lines, busses, etc and many ways to get around. Maps are useful. Yahoo runs a quite complete route planning service, but it is Japanese only.

This thing seems to work alright too based on a few tests I just ran.
posted by Winnemac at 6:59 PM on June 17, 2011

All train signs and announcements are in both Japanese and English.
posted by twblalock at 7:01 PM on June 17, 2011

2,000 yen worth of Suica credit

Sorry, I meant 1,500 yen of credit (the card itself requires a 500 yen deposit which you can claim back at a ticket window if you return the card once empty.)
posted by armage at 7:06 PM on June 17, 2011

Note: this is what we did, but we were spending a week in Tokyo. If you're leaving same day from Haneda then this might not be the best deal.

We took a bus from Narita to Shinjuku station. I think it was 2,000 yen and for an extra 100 yen we got an all day Tokyo Metro card. About an hour to Shinjuku IIRC. Sorry, I don't remember the name of the bus line, but it was a counter across from a currency exchange.

You might be able to get a bus directly to Tokyo station, but from Shinjuku to Tokyo station is also easy on either the JR line or Tokyo Metro.

All the trains in Tokyo either announced their stop in both Japanese and English, or the subway map in the car had Japanese and English labels. The fare maps, however, were entirely in Japanese. What you can do is buy the lowest fare offered, and then BEFORE exiting at your final stop go to a fare adjustment machine and put in your ticket. The machine will tell you how much you need to pay to exit at that station.
posted by sbutler at 7:20 PM on June 17, 2011

"We are operating the Narita Express (N'EX) with a partial suspension of service. N'EX departs from Narita Airport Station every 30 minutes or hourly from 7:31 to 11:15 and from 14:15 to 20:44. Please note that the service of N'EX departing from Narita Airport between 12:00 and 14:00 is to be cancelled, but the Rapid trains run every hour for Tokyo."
JR East N'EX

The N'EX trains were recently remodeled so it should be a good ride and even with the cancelled departures, I doubt it will effect you. I wouldn't worry about missing Tokyo either. That train is covered in English.

As for Haneda for the night flight, I'm going to be doing that in August and I'll try to make it to the observation deck for a few minutes before we take off.
Hanada Observation Deck

Also the Suica card is a great convenience. No worrying about buying the right tickets. You just need to charge the card when the balance runs out which is fairy easy.
posted by sleepytako at 7:34 PM on June 17, 2011

Not going to Haneda the same day... just departing out of that airport's international terminal at the end of the trip. Is it pretty clear how to get to the N'EX train station from the international arrivals at Narita?

And just to be sure, no need to change trains at all between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station (Marunouchi)?

Thanks everyone for the info so far! This is a huge help.
posted by belau at 8:52 PM on June 17, 2011

belau, there are signs all over the airport in English telling you where to go. Just to be safe, if you follow the escalators all the way down, the train station is in the basement.

No need to change trains, as long as you take JR. Taking the Keisei line will take you to Ueno instead.

Marunouchi is side of Tokyo Station you'll be exiting from, which, conveniently, is the side closest to the platform the NEX and Sobu rapid line (the two trains that come from Narita Airport) stop at.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:00 PM on June 17, 2011

There are "JR N'EX" signs all over the airport, just follow them, it's very easy.

Similarly at Tokyo station there will be many signs for Maranouchi subway line (red circle with "m" inside) in English. Tokyo station is big but the signage is excellent, there is no need to worry!

As futher reassurance, when I was in Tokyo station and I paused for 10 seconds to work out which Shinkansen track I should go to, someone tried to help me! Japanese people tend to be very helpful that way.
posted by dave99 at 2:24 AM on June 18, 2011

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