Narita Airport is located outside of Tokyo and it takes approximately one to two hours to make it to Tokyo depending on time and mode of transportation. So depending on your budget and time availability, there are many options available to choose from.
We quickly eliminated 2 options off our list
- TAXI – Not advisable because it is very expensive. Since we will be arriving around the rush hour, it will be even more expensive.
- Keisei Skyliner – For this train, you will have to get off at Nippori Station and the transfer to the JR Yamanote line to get to Shinjuku Station. Definitely not recommended for first time travelers because it can be very confusing.
We had 2 other options for this journey
* Bus Option – Airport Limousine Bus:
- If your hotel is a drop-off point, it is very convenient since the bus drops you and your luggages right at the doorstep
- It is an additional expense if you already have the Japan Rail Pass.
- The journey is longer because you could run into heavy traffic depending on your time of travel
* Train option – Narita Express:
For this trip, we had pre-bought the Japan Rail Pass. (If you are still undecided about buying the Japan Rail Pass, read THIS. ) Since we have the Japan Rail Pass, we decided to take the NEX which is free with the Japan Rail Pass. But first we had to activate our Japan Rail Pass at the JR East Office at Narita Airport.
Once we activated our Japan Rail Pass, the office made reservation for us for the NEX. Then it was just a 5 minute walk to the NEX train. Once on the train, there is an area at both ends of each train car for luggages.
The train was pretty empty since they run every 30 minutes. It took about 1 hour from Narita to Shinjuku Station.
- It is free if you have Japan Rail Pass
- You can reserve your seats
- There is no traffic jam
- You get out at Shinjuku Station which means you will have to figure out how to get out of Shinjuku Station with all your luggages and get to your hotel. Shinjuku Station is huge and it has 200 exits, 51 train platforms and at least 8 connecting malls! It is also very crowded. It’s ok if you have very light luggages but if you have a lot of luggage, it becomes a struggle trying to manipulate around the crowd
In conclusion, there is no right or wrong way to travel from Narita Airport to Central Tokyo.Your budget, time and travel style will help to decide which works for your travels.