Congratulations, you have made it to Japan but if you are landing at Narita International, your journey into Tokyo isn’t quite over. In fact, you are still an hour away from downtown Tokyo, so how on earth do you manage not only the jet lag but also getting you and your luggage into the city? Here are some ways to get into the city.
Most people would think to take a cab, it’s what a lot of people from the US do when at an airport in the United States. Well, that is a bad idea when leaving Narita. A cab ride from Narita into Tokyo can easily be around $200 USD and if you haven’t exchanged any cash for Yen, you might have a problem. Most cabs don’t take credit card and if you are jet lagged, you could be making an expensive mistake. Also, Uber and Lyft are not that common in Japan (but always check before you travel), so you can’t rely on them like you would in the United States.
So, how on Earth do you get to Tokyo? Well, there are a lot of options. First, is the Narita Express. This train runs every hour into Tokyo Station and costs around 3000 Yen per person, which is about $30 USD, making it a fairly cheap deal. Now the only draw back is when you get into Tokyo Station, you will then have to make your way to your hotel which may be in a different ward. For example, if you are staying in Shibuya, you will then have to either get to another train or take a cab. So this could be another headache after a long flight.
There is also the JR Sobu Line that also runs to Tokyo Station, but it takes 90 minutes but at the cost of just 1380 Yen (give or take), it is also a lot cheaper than nearly every other option to get into Tokyo ($14 USD). Again, this train is slower than the Narita Express but cheaper. However you will then be faced with the issue of getting to your hotel (in a different ward) so again, keep that in mind.
There is also the limousine buses that leaves Narita at least every half hour or so. For about 2800 Yen per person, the buses run to about 130 hotels in the greater Tokyo area, so they are a cheap option to get you into the city and will drop you off right in front of your hotel (if you are on the right bus/route). Again, they will take some time with a lot of frequent stops, but they take the hassle and cost of getting either a cab or a train ride to Tokyo Station. Side note, if you are booking an Air Bnb, a bus may not stop in your area, you will have to figure that out and if a bus stops in your area.
Another option is to book a shuttle, either private or shared, which is what I have done the two times I have landed in Japan. The shuttle, which can be booked through Expedia, Viator, and other booking sites, will cost about $50 or so USD per person and will drop you right in front of your hotel.
To meet your shuttle, you will get off your plane, get through customs/immigration, and then when you reach arrivals, you will meet a person waiting there with your name on a sign. They will take you to your shuttle and then drive you right to your hotel. It is an easy and convenient option that I prefer and champion. It takes all the thought out of getting from the airport to the hotel which is nice when you are jet lagged and just want to get to your hotel. The only minor problem with this is if you are using a shared shuttle, you may have to wait for other people and their flights to arrive, so you may wait up to a half hour or so. But when you consider the other options, this is not a bad problem to have.
Hope these tips can help you figure out how to get from Narita to Tokyo!