As surprising as it may seem, Narita Airport (NRT) — Tokyo’s main international gateway — is not close to Tokyo at all. In fact, this Tokyo airport is so rural and remote that on the journey into Tokyo you’ll see rice paddies long before neon lights. In more practical terms, you’re looking at a distance of about 80 km (50 miles) from Narita Airport to Shibuya Crossing.

Since Tokyo is such a vast metropolis, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer as to which method or route is cheapest/best for getting from Narita to your accommodation in Tokyo.

If you’ve picked out a hotel in a central neighborhood, like Shinjuku, Roppongi and Shibuya, you’re in luck — we’ve made individual mini-guides for how to get to each one from Narita Airport. These guuides cover the fastest, cheapest, and easiest transport options, and you can find links for all of them below.

For other locations, don’t go anywhere — right here we’ve put together some more general information, to help you work out the best option.

Jump to:

Overview: Getting from Narita to Tokyo

tl;dr If you don’t mind spending a little extra, we suggest the simple option of a shared taxi service. This costs around ¥7,000 per person (two person minimum booking). Also worth a mention is the speedy Keisei Skyliner train: normally tickets would set you back ¥2,570, but you can buy them online for the discounted price of ¥2,300.

Quick comparison of Narita to central Tokyo transport options

Transport Approx cost Travel time Frequency Notes Booking link
Train (Keisei Skyliner) ¥2,300 1 hr Every 15–20 mins Transfer at Nippori Station for onward travel on JR lines Book here (discounted)
Train (JR Narita Express) ¥3,070 1 hr Every hour Direct to Tokyo Station (with less frequent departures for Shinjuku and Shibuya) Buy at the airport
Train (Keisei main line) ¥1,210 95 mins Every 15–20 mins Transfer at Nippori Station for onward travel on JR lines Buy at the airport
Narita Airport Limousine Bus ¥3,100 90–120 mins Every 15–20 mins Time varies according to destination; price does not Book here
Pre-booked private taxi From ¥20,000 (inclusive of highway tolls) 50–70 mins Pre-book only Price per car; great for groups Book here
Low-cost shared taxi ¥7,000 (inclusive of highway tolls) 50–70 mins Pre-book only Price per person; possible wait time for other passengers Book here
Regular taxi From ¥23,500 50–70 mins Generally available outside the airport Price may vary considerably depending on traffic and time of day Grab a taxi outside the terminal

Note: All details above were calculated on travel to Tokyo Station, except for the Limousine Bus, which has reduced services due to COVID-19 and does not currently stop there. Exact fares/times/transfers will vary depending on your destination.

Narita: The LCC airport of choice

While finding the cheapest transport between Narita and Tokyo is a worthy quest in itself, it has become more important because of the arrival of low-cost carriers. Many of them use Narita Airport as their base of operations for domestic flights out of Tokyo.

Some of the fares are cheap enough to make tourists coming to Japan consider whether they should get a Japan Rail Pass or just book a couple of flights on an LCC. However, since Narita Airport is not actually in Tokyo (unlike the much more conveniently located and modern Haneda Airport), transport fees to and from Tokyo should be factored into your overall costs.

Note: There is no train station at Narita Terminal 3, where most LCCs arrive and depart. Instead, you’ll need to use the train station at Terminal 2 (about a 15-minute walk). Buses and taxis do depart directly from Terminal 3 though.

Welcome to Japan at Narita
And Narita, too! | Photo by Carey Finn

Narita Airport (NRT) to popular Tokyo destinations

As promised, check out our mini guides for getting from Narita to different parts of the city:

Pro tip: Getting in late at night? Check out our dedicated guide to late-night transfers from Narita Airport.

Express trains from Narita Airport

Two operators run express trains from Narita Airport to central Tokyo: Keisei (the Skyliner) and JR (the Narita Express, or N’EX).

Keisei Skyliner

Keisei Skyliner Express from Narita to Tokyo
The Skyliner — snazzy and fast. | Photo by iStock.com/amnachphoto

The snazzy Skyliner offers the speediest travel time — just 36 minutes to Nippori Station or 41 minutes to Ueno Station. From Nippori, you can transfer to the JR Yamanote line for onward travel; from Ueno you can transfer to the JR Yamanote line and also the Hibiya and Ginza subway lines. The service runs between 7:30 a.m. and 11 p.m, with one to three departures every hour. On weekends, the timetable changes slightly but the number of departures is the same.

Honestly though, one of the best things about the Skyliner is the train itself. This train is a dedicated airport service — meaning that you don’t have to compete with daily commuters for seats. In fact, seat reservations are required so you’re guaranteed a seat. And speaking of seats, the Skyliner’s seats are incredibly comfortable and each has its own charging port. And even better, there’s separate luggage storage space, and everyone’s favorite — free WiFi.

For more details, check out our dedicated guide to taking Keisei trains. The guide covers the Skyliner along with regular Keisei trains (more on those below) from Narita to Tokyo — it’s chock-full of useful info and discount hacks.

How much does it cost? Regular price is ¥2,570 but you can book here for a discounted price of ¥2,300. Or consider this great value package that includes a 24-hour subway pass — valued at ¥800 — for ¥2,890 total.
How long does it take? 36 mins to Nippori Station or 41 mins to Ueno Station.

Narita Express

narita to tokyo train - the narita express
Photo by iStock.com/coward_lion

The Narita Express is a trouble-free way of getting to the main JR stations in Tokyo, especially on the west side of town. All N’EX trains go to Tokyo Station (53 minutes). And some continue on to Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, or stations even further afield — no transfer required. All seats are reserved (so you won’t have to fight for one) and, like the Skyliner, there is free WiFi and ample luggage storage.

Three to five N’EX trains depart from Narita Airport Terminal 1 Station each hour between 6:52 a.m. and 11:42 p.m; all trains also stop at Narita Airport Terminal 2. Check the timetable carefully to make sure that the service stops at your station — while all services stop at Tokyo Station, not all will stop at Shinjuku Station for example.

Regular price N’EX tickets aren’t cheap: ¥3,070 to Tokyo Station one-way. You can buy tickets at the JR stations and travel centers at Narita Airport. you could use a JR Pass (see below) to ride the N’EX; however, we only recomend this if you plan on traveling beyond Tokyo (e.g. to Kyoto or Osaka) the same day or the day after.

Read our full guide to taking the JR Narita Express here.

How much does it cost? ¥3,070 to Tokyo Station; ¥3,250 to Shinagawa, Shibuya, and Shinjuku
How long does it take? 53 mins to Tokyo station; 1 hr and 20 mins to Shinagawa; 1 hr and 30 mins to Shibuya; and 1 hr and 40 mins to Shinjuku.

N’EX Tokyo Round-Trip ticket

The N’EX Tokyo Round-Trip ticket gives you round-trip travel from Narita to Tokyo and back for ¥4,070 for adults (and ¥2,030 for children). It’s only available at Narita Airport to foreign passport holders (the cool thing for residents is that you don’t need a tourist visa); however, the return ticket must be used with 14 days.

The ticket is even good for some of N’EX’s more farflung destinations, such as Kurihama in Kanagawa Prefecture and Ōmiya in Saitama — extraordinarily good value.

Regular trains from Narita to Tokyo

If you don’t have much luggage or don’t mind carting it around on foot, it may interest you to know that the cheapest regular trains that run the route between central Tokyo and Narita Airport are on the Keisei line.

One good thing about the Keisei line is that some services connect directly with the Toei Asakusa subway line; while other services terminate at stations on the JR Yamanote line (Tokyo’s central loop line). So it’s pretty convenient for a lot of different stations in central Tokyo. The bad news is that it’s a regular train — so catching it with your suitcase during rush hour may be hazardous to your health! The journey takes between 80 and 120 minutes, depending on where you’re heading.

Pro tip: To help you on your visit, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to taking Keisei trains from Narita to Tokyo.

regular keisei train
Photo by iStock.com/winhorse

Keisei Limited Express: The cheapest train from Narita to Tokyo

Here’s a summary of the route and cost from Narita Airport on the Keisei Limited Express to some of the main stations in Tokyo:

Destination Transfer station Next train Total cost Total travel time
Tokyo Nippori Station JR Yamanote line for Tokyo ¥1,210 90 mins + transfer time
Shibuya Nippori Station JR Yamanote line for Shinjuku/Shibuya ¥1,250 110 mins + transfer time
Shinjuku Nippori Station JR Yamanote line for Shinjuku/Shibuya ¥1,250 90 mins + transfer time
Roppongi Ueno Hibiya subway line for Naka-Meguro ¥1,250 110 mins + transfer time
Ikebukuro Nippori Station JR Yamanote for Shinjuku/Shibuya ¥1,220 95 mins + transfer time
Ueno ¥1,050 80 mins
Asakusa Aoto or Keisei-Takasago Station Keisei Oshiage line local for Haneda ¥1,110 75 mins + transfer time

If you want to take one of these Cheapo options, at the Keisei train ticket counter, just ask for a ticket to your destination (but explicitly say not on the Skyliner). On the other hand, if you’re planning on having a few days in Tokyo, ask for a Suica or Pasmo card — this is a top-up IC card usable on all trains, buses, etc. in the Tokyo area. You can also get an IC card from JR station ticket offices, and almost all railway ticket machines. As this is a regular train, without reserved seating, you don’t need to worry about purchasing a special ticket — you can just use a topped-up Suica or Pasmo to pass through the ticket gates and board the train.

Keisei Sky Access Express

Keisei also has another useful regular train service: the Sky Access Express (not to be confused with the Skyliner). This service connects directly with the Toei Asakusa subway line (rather than terminating at Nippori or Ueno stations). So you can travel directly to destinations including: Asakusa (60 mins), Nihonbashi (65 mins), and Shinbashi (70 mins) faster than you could on the Keisei Limited Express.

Total travel cost to destinations on the Toei Asakusa line is about ¥200 more than using the Keisei Limited Express routes outlined above; so, for example, the trip from Narita to Asakusa will cost you ¥1,310.

In our opinion, the extra couple hundred yen is worth it. But for maximum comfort and convenience, the Skyliner is still your best bet. Again, we recommend looking at our dedicated guide to taking Keisei trains (Limited Express, Sky Access Express, and Skyliner) from Narita to Tokyo — it’s chock-full of useful info and discount hacks.

Buses from Narita to Tokyo

As of June 2022, Shinjuku is one of only two center city destinations served by “Limousine” buses | Photo by Gregory Lane

Narita Airport Limousine Bus

Important! Although Narita Airport Limousine buses are currently operating, the frequency of services and the destinations served are greatly reduced. This may improve depending on border regulations.

The convenience of not having to cart your luggage around is great, but the Airport Limousine Bus service is not the cheapest option. Also, while comfortable, the buses are, in fact, not very limousine-like. They are simply coaches (with comfier seats and WiFi) that run to major hotels and stations (but currently only Shinjuku Station and TCAT) in the Greater Tokyo area for around ¥3,200 one-way and ¥4,500 for a return ticket (valid for 14 days). You do get space for two decent sized (30 kg each) suitcases per passenger.

You can book Limousine Bus tickets online in advance for a slighty discounted price of ¥3,100 one-way. Sadly, while the return ticket can also be booked online, there is no further discount. You can also buy them from the bus counters in the airport arrivals hall on the day.

How much does it cost? ¥3,100
How long does it take? 1 hour (depending on traffic)

Interior of Limousine Bus to Narita Airport during COVID-19
If you’re lucky it will be this empty | Photo by Gregory Lane

Tokyo Shuttle Bus

Note: The Tokyo Shuttle Bus — also known as the Airport Bus Tokyo-Narita (TYO-NRT) — is still running between Narita and Tokyo. However, advance reservations are not possible (you have to buy your tickets on the day) and the timetable is subject to change.

A couple of years ago, the popular budget coach services Tokyo Shuttle and Access Narita buses were merged into one service: Airport Bus Tokyo-Narita (TYO-NRT). Regular daytime tickets cost ¥1,300 for adults and ¥650 for kids, and stops include Tokyo Station (Yaesu exit), Ginza Station and Shinonome. Early morning and late night tickets are double the price at ¥2,600 for adults and ¥1,300 for kids. The journey takes about 65 minutes.

Note that luggage restrictions are a little stricter on the budget coaches: typically just one suitcase (158 cm) per traveler.

How much does it cost? ¥1,300
How long does it take? About 65 minutes

Narita Airport Shuttle bus

The cheapest bus to the west side of town is the Narita Airport Shuttle bus, operated by a company called Willer. This bus runs between Narita Airport and Tokyo, dropping you off at Ikebukuro Station. The journey takes 80 minutes and costs ¥1,900 — but if you book online at least 24 hours in advance, you can get the earlybird price of ¥1,500.

At Ikebukuro Station you have access to JR, Tokyo Metro, Seibu, and Tobu lines. There are currently only 10 departures per day between 9:20 a.m. and 10:20 p.m. Also keep in mind that you’re only allowed to store one suitcase in the trunk of the bus. While there are no size specifications, it’s a bit of a first-come-first-serve situation — if you arrive too late you might not be able to fit your bag in the trunk. Oversized baggage like snowboards and golf bags will only be allowed if there is space.

How much does it cost? ¥1,500 (earlybird discount)
How long does it take? About 80 minutes

Buses from Narita Airport to destinations outside Tokyo

For direct travel from Narita Airport to destinations outside Tokyo, buses are really the only public transportation option. Working out the details can be a little difficult, as buses can rarely be booked directly from the airport. However, Willer Express has information on routes direct from Narita to places like Kanazawa and Niigata.

Kosoku Bus can help you out with a ticket from Narita to skiing hot spot Hakuba.

narita taxi
Photo by iStock.com/Tuayai

Taxis from Narita Airport to Tokyo

Hailing a regular taxi (or Uber) at Narita Airport to central Tokyo is expensive — at least ¥22,000 (and upwards of ¥27,500 to Shinjuku — and that’s the flat-rate fare). So it only makes sense if you are traveling in a group, or in a real pinch.

A pre-booked private taxi could save a little money — and you get the reassurance of a car waiting for you upon arrival at the airport. Another bonus is that you can choose a larger vehicle for a small extra fee — which might be necessary if you have a party of more than three and luggage.

Recommended: Shared minibus/taxi transfer (quick and easy)

A nice, personal service and direct to your hotel, a shared minibus/taxi service hits the sweet spot between budget and convenience. For about ¥7,000 per person, you get frictionless transport from the airport to your accommodation. However, keep in mind that luggage space can be a little limited — one 61 cm tall suitcase per person — and large luggage items like snowboards can’t be accommodated.

How much does it cost? About ¥7,000 per person
How long does it take? 1 hour

Helicopter

You can also charter a helicopter for ¥32,780 or so per person. Not cheap, but certainly a unique airport transfer experience! It takes just 18 minutes from Narita to Tokyo by air.

Narita to Tokyo FAQs

The road to Narita | Photo by Gregory Lane

Can I use a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) from Narita Airport to Tokyo?

Yes. However, given that it doesn’t cost that much to get into Tokyo, you should think carefully before you activate your JR Pass — especially if you plan to spend the first few days of your trip in the city. You might want to choose another option to get into Tokyo, and then activate the pass when you embark on a longer inter-city trip.

How far is Narita from Tokyo?

Narita Airport is approximately 64km from Tokyo.

What is the fastest way to get to central Tokyo?

The fastest way to central Tokyo would be to opt for the Keisei Skyliner, which can get you to Ueno Station in just 41 minutes.

What is the difference between Narita Station and the Narita Airport train stations?

About 8 km, so make sure you don’t get off at Narita Station by mistake on your way back to the airport! Narita Station is not the one at the actual airport. Stay on the train until you reach the station for your terminal — Narita International Airport Terminal 1 Station or Terminal 2 Station (which serves both Terminal 2 and 3).

narita tokyo airport arrivals hall
Photo by iStock.com/winhorse

How do I get to Narita Airport from Tokyo?

On the way back, all of the same transport options apply. Simply reverse the route, check the times, and you’re good to go.

Which airport should I use to fly into Tokyo?

If it’s an option when you’re booking your flight to Tokyo, Haneda Airport is the one to choose, as it’s closer to the city and much snazzier, too. However, flying into Narita Airport is often the only — or cheaper — option, and, as you can see, it’s well connected to Tokyo.

Is there a hotel inside Narita Airport?

The only accommodation directly connected to the airport is a capsule hotel called Nine Hours Narita Airport. This capsule hotel features around the clock check-in and is located in Terminal 2. The hotel provides basic toiletries and sleepwear.

For recommendations on hotels near Narita Airport, see our accommodation listings.  

While we do our best to ensure everything is correct, information is subject to change. This post was originally published on July 30, 2012. Last updated in November 2022 by Maria Danuco.

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