Narita Airport to Tokyo

A complete list of transfers

Image of author Maureen
Maureen
11. July 2019
154 ratings

After a long flight getting from the airport to your accommodation can be strenuous, so doing your research before your trip is guaranteed to make your arrival much smoother. To save you some time googling for the best or cheapest transfer out there, I’ve compiled a comprehensive overview of all your transfer options from Narita Airport to Tokyo.

Generally speaking, you can choose from:
🚌 Bus
🚅 Train
🚕 Taxi
🚁 Helicopter

⚠️Do not tip your driver! Tipping is considered rude in Japan.

About Narita Airport (NRT)

Narita Airport is one of the two major airports in the Tokyo area and also the hub of many major airlines, such as ANA Airways or Japan Airlines. It’s the second busiest airport in the country and serves 50% of international passengers, meaning that it’s likely you’ll fly into it. Narita is located in the Chiba prefecture east of Tokyo and about 37 miles (60km) from Tokyo city enter, which is roughly 25 miles (40 km) more than the distance from Haneda Airport to Tokyo city center.

Always be sure to know which terminal you arrive in by checking your airline’s designated terminal at Narita.

Your transfer options

Just because Narita is further away from Tokyo’s city center than Haneda, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s complicated to find the best airport transfer from NRT to Tokyo that fits your personal needs. Which transportation from Narita to Tokyo you should choose for yourself depends on the money you want to spend, the time you have to spare, and the level of comfort you prefer. Before you get overwhelmed by all the different options you have to get from the airport to Tokyo, here’s an overview:

Destination(s)

Travel Time

Price

Advantages

Disadvantages

Tickets

🚌 BUS

Shared Shuttle

door-to-door

80 min

$45

  • direct service
  • convenient
  • high cost per person

Tokyo Shuttle

  • Tokyo Station
  • Shinonome

80 min

$8.50

  • most affordable
  • only servicing one station
  • long travel time

At ticket counter

Access Narita

  • Tokyo Station
  • Ginza Station

80 min

$9.20

  • affordable
  • lavatory on board
  • long travel time
  • limited options

At ticket counter

🚅TRAIN

Keisei Main Line

  • Nippori
  • Ueno

80 min

$10

  • cheap
  • many stops along the way
  • crowded cars

At ticket counter

Keisei Skyliner

  • Nippori
  • Ueno

34 min

$20

  • shortest travel time
  • a bit more expensive

At ticket counter

Keisei Access Express

  • Shinagawa
  • Shimbashi
  • Nihombashi

60 min

$12

  • affordable
  • fast

At ticket counter

Narita Express

  • Tokyo Station
  • Shinagawa
  • Shinjuku
  • Ikebukuro

55 min

$36

  • free with JR Pass
  • service to Yokohama
  • most expensive train

At ticket counter

🚕TAXI

Private transfer

door-to-door

60 min

$225 / 5 people

  • most convenient
  • personal driver
  • expensive
  • only suited for small groups

Regular Taxi

door-to-door

60 min

$280 / 4 people

  • convenient
  • flexible
  • most expensive transfer
  • only suited for small groups
  • no flat rate

At the airport

UBER

door-to-door

60 min

$250 / 4 people

  • convenient
  • payment through app
  • expensive
  • internet access required

Via app

🚁HELICOPTER

Helicopter

Tokyo heliport

20 min

$546 / person

  • unique experience
  • crazy expensive

My pick: The Keisei Skyliner! It’s fast and easy. Maureen from Loving Tokyo

  • cheapest transfer: Access Narita and Tokyo Shuttle (bus)
  • fastest transfer: Keisei Skyliner (train)
  • best door-to-door transfer: Private transfer (taxi)
  • kid-friendly transfer: Private transfer (taxi)

1. Get on a Bus

Shared Shuttle

  • 80 minutes
  • $45
  • direct service to hotel/apartment

The shared shuttle is a good option for those who do not want to worry about how to get from the airport to the hotel. All you need is to submit the address you’d like to be driven to – that’s it! The shared shuttle will get you directly to your destination, regardless of the address. The downside of this type of shuttle from Narita to Tokyo is that you’ll be sharing the shuttle with other travelers, meaning you won’t know who’ll be dropped off first. If you’re unlucky and you’re the last passengers on the shuttle, the airport transfer could take a really long time.

Getting tickets: To book the shuttle from Narita to Tokyo, you should reserve your tickets in advance as they will be much cheaper online. Once you’ve booked, you’ll receive a voucher that you can present at the airport to exchange it for your actual ticket to board the bus.

Reserve Shuttle

Tokyo Shuttle

  • 70 minutes to Tokyo Station
  • $9.30
  • Tokyo Station, Shinonome Station

Taking the bus from Narita to Tokyo is by far the cheapest airport transfer. It offers direct service to Tokyo Station in the center of the city where you can transfer onto major subway lines as well as JR lines. What’s oftentimes overseen is that the Tokyo shuttle has another stop at Shinonome after Tokyo Station meaning you can choose which station is best for you to reach your hotel or accommodation. Tokyo Shuttle runs regularly, about every 20 minutes. You can look at the bus schedule with all daily departures to plan your trip.

Getting tickets: To use the Tokyo Shuttle from Narita International Airport, you don’t need a reservation. Simply head to the Keisei Bus ticket counter in your terminal and purchase your transfer tickets there. A round trip will cost you 1,900 Yen. There is, however, a surcharge for late night or early morning rides. Instead of 1,000 Yen, you’ll be paying 2,000 yen directly at the bus in cash.

What you should know: For those of you who require an early morning or late night ride, there’s a trick. By booking online you save half the price, which again amounts to the regular fare at around 900 Yen. The problem is that it is extremely hard to find the online tickets and the translations on the page aren’t always clear and accurate.

Access Narita Bus

  • 80 minutes
  • $9.30
  • Ginza Station, Tokyo Station

Access Narita Bus departs from terminals 1, 2, and 3 and drops you off at Ginza Station and Tokyo Station, both located in the city center. At Ginza Station Sukiyabashi, you can easily switch to the metro system. At Tokyo Station Yaesu South Entrance, you’ll have direct access to all JR lines. The bus service operates 142 times a day, departing every 15 during peak periods.

Getting tickets: You don’t need to prebook any tickets before getting to Narita Airport. Simply head to the ticket counter at any terminal.

What you should know: There’s a limit of one suitcase per person. On the other hand, however, there’s a lavatory on board.

2. Take a train

When taking the train from Narita to Tokyo, you should know that you have four options, three of which are Keisei Line trains: Main Line, Skyliner, and the Access Express. The fourth options you have is the Narita Express (N’EX) by Japan Rail. All trains offer service between Narita airport and downtown Tokyo.

Keisei trains offer free WiFi during the entire ride and have dedicated luggage space. Generally, the Keisei trains, as all Japanese trains in general, are spacious and clean. All seats are equipped with power outlets for the case that your phone didn’t survive the flight.

Keisei Main Line

  • 120 minutes
  • price
  • Nippori Station, Ueno Station

Choosing Keisei main line is the cheapest option of the three Keisei trains. It is, after all, a regular commuter train. Even though the train will get you to Tokyo without hassle, it takes relatively long and also is crowded most of the time. After arriving at Nippori or Ueno, you have access to the metro system to reach your final destination.

Keisei Skyliner

  • 36 minutes
  • $20
  • Nippori Station, Ueno Station

The Keisei Skyliner is by far the fastest option to take a train to Tokyo. The high-speed train is the fastest airport transfer traveling at a speed of 100mph (160km/h). It departs three times every hour and gets you to Nippori only 36 minutes. If your destination is Ueno add on 5 more minutes. The speedy service does come with a higher price.

Ueno Station is well-connected, so you can easily continue your journey by subway. Nippori Station, on the other hand, is well-connected to JR lines, so if you’re planning to leave Tokyo right away, this is the best transfer option.

Getting tickets: There are ticket counters and ticket machines for Skyliner tickets located at the airport. To save some money, you can pre-purchase tickets with online discounts. It will not only save you money but also more time. Since you would already be choosing a fast transfer with the Skyliner already, you probably don’t care to spend time waiting in line unnecessarily. With an online ticket, all you need to do is exchange your e-voucher for a ticket.

Access Express

  • 70 minutes
  • $20
  • Shinagawa, Shimbashi, Nihombashi

The Access Express is something in the middle of the Main Line and the Skyliner. It is cheaper than the Skyliner, but not as fast. However, it is more expensive than the main line, but faster. It does take a different route. The Access Express gets you straight from Narita Airport to Shinagawa, Shimbashi, and Nihombashi.

Narita Express (N’EX)

  • 52 minutes to Tokyo Station
  • $36 / free with a JR Pass
  • Tokyo Station, Yokohama

The Narita Express is an offer by JR East. It’s fast and convenient, and can even get you all the way to Yokohama should you be staying there or taking a cruise from there. Narita Express runs on a regular schedule, every 30 minutes.

Getting tickets: Narita Express N’EX tickets are, like many other services and products, only available for non-Japanese travelers. If you don’t already have a JRPass, you can get tickets at any JR ticket travel center, ticket counter, or ticket machine at the airport. For travelers returning to Narita airport, it’s best to purchase a round trip as it saves you some money compared to one-way tickets. You have the option to travel in an ordinary car or a green car, which is equivalent to first class. Ordinary.

Good to know: If you have a Japan Rail Pass, it still probably isn’t worth it to use it for your airport transfer unless your plan doesn’t include staying in Tokyo but onward travel right away. Activating your JR Pass for the airport transfer is only worth it if your pass validity exceeds the length of your travel plans. To use your JR Pass or JReast Pass for the Narita Express, all you need to do is reserve a seat for the train ride. There’s no payment needed since you are already a Japan Rail Pass holder.

3. Grab a taxi

Private transfer

  • 70 minutes
  • $225
  • direct service to hotel/apartment

Taking a private transfer is probably the most convenient way to travel from NRT to Tokyo. Why? Upon exiting your terminal, a driver will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name. It’s the most worry-free option as you literally won’t have to think about a thing and instead can focus on your excitement of being in Japan.

You will need to pay a little extra for the convenience. The cost of a private transfer starts at $…

Taxi

  • 70 minutes
  • $270
  • direct service to hotel/apartment

Grabbing a regular taxi from Narita Airport to Tokyo is a very convenient option to reach your accommodation. It is, however, also one of the most expensive airport transfers to Tokyo.

How to get a taxi: Simply follow the taxi signs to get outside your terminal at Narita airport. You will need to queue up and wait for your turn. There’s no flat rate for the taxi ride to Tokyo from Narita, but you can expect to pay about $280 per taxi.

UBER

  • 70 minutes
  • $250
  • direct service to hotel/apartment

UBER is known to be the budget-friendly pendent to a regular taxi. Even though they do operate in Japan, the service is by far not as common as it is in the United States or other countries. UBER in Japan is mostly used for airport transfers, as taxi services in Tokyo seem redundant due to its extraordinarily great public transportation system. Despite that fact that an UBER from NRT to Tokyo by UBER is less expensive than a regular taxi, it is still not the cheapest transfer option.

How to use UBER: Using UBER requires you to download the app on your phone. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can take advantage of our promo code to save on your first rides. Once you have arrived, you can open the app and enter your destination. A driver will automatically be assigned to you and find you within minutes. You’ll be charged over the app, so there is no risk of getting ripped off, which would be extremely rare in Japan anyway.

Good to know: As UBER is an internet-based app, you’ll need access to the internet in order to call your UBER. A great tool is the fare estimate that can give you a rough idea of what costs to expect for your airport transfer to Tokyo. Whether you are planning to use UBER or not, I dearly recommend getting a sim card or pocket wifi for your Japan trip to stay connected.

4. Fly by helicopter

  • 20 minutes
  • $546
  • Tokyo heliport

This option is surely nothing I would recommend to anybody, but I decided to list it for completion purposes. Undoubtedly, a helicopter ride is the most luxurious way to get from NRT to Tokyo. Unless you have a large amount of money to burn, it’s quite ridiculous. If you’re short on time, however, you could kill two birds with one stone using this transfer from Narita to Tokyo. For me, it would be crazy to recommend a helicopter transfer!


Narita to Tokyo with Japan Rail Pass

Did you buy a JR Pass to travel across Japan? Well, the good news is that the JR Pass is valid on the Narita Express offering frequent service between the airport and Tokyo. You would, however, need to activate your JR Pass to use it on the express. If you do not plan on traveling by bullet train right away, it’s probably not worth it to use the JR Pass for the Narita Express, as you’ll be better off paying for the airport transfer separately rather than lose a day of your pass.

JR PASS GUIDE


FAQ

What is the cheapest airport transfer from Narita to Tokyo?

If you’re looking for the cheapest transfer to get you from NRT to Tokyo, you should hop on a shuttle bus. Tokyo Shuttle and Access Narita both take you to the city for 1,000 Yen. The benefit of saving money, unfortunately, is counterbalanced with the longest transfer time. Expect to be on the bus for 80-120 minutes.

Is there UBER in Tokyo?

Yes, UBER is available in Japan, including in its capital Tokyo. It is, however, less popular compared to the United States and therefore also scarce. It’s rather used for airport transfers as opposed to trips within the city. Public transportation in Tokyo enjoys a great reputation, making it so easy to get from A to B that you don’t really need a taxi or UBER within the city.

What is the Narita Express?

The Narita Express is a train that offers service between Narita Airport and Tokyo.

Do taxi drivers in Tokyo speak English?

A little bit if you’re lucky! English is very limited in Japan and compared to other countries, you will have a much harder time finding English speakers in Japan. That includes taxi drivers. However, due to their increased exposure to tourists, most understand the very basics – just enough to get you to your destination.

How much do I tip my taxi driver in Tokyo?

You don’t tip your taxi driver. In fact, you do not tip in Japan at all because it’s culturally inappropriate to do so. Your tip will be rejected and also make the other person feel very uncomfortable.

I only have a stopover at Narita. What do I do?

If your stopover is less than 2 hours, you should stay at the airport to avoid missing your connecting flight. Is your layover longer than that, I recommend taking a hotel shuttle bus (for free) and heading to Narita View Hotel to use the onsen there. That’s exactly what I did when I first traveled to Japan. We fly into Tokyo and had a connecting flight to Osaka the same day. The Onsen at the hotel was a great and inexpensive experience.

Is Haneda or Narita closer to Tokyo?

Out of the two Tokyo airports, Haneda is in the closer distance to the city center than Narita. So if you have the choice between the two, it’s better to opt for Haneda. If you’re landing in Narita, however, don’t worry. It’s still easy and fast to get to the city center, especially by the Skyliner high-speed train.


From Tokyo to Narita Airport

When it’s sadly time to leave and you’re looking for a way to get from Tokyo to Narita you’ll have the same options as to when you arrived. Simply do them in reverse. Remember that, ideally, you should be at the airport 2 hours before your departure if you have a domestic flight and 3 hours if you are traveling internationally.

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