Tokyo has two airports – Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.
Narita handles international traffic exclusively, while Haneda deals with domestic flights and a few international flights.
How to get to central Tokyo from Narita Airport
*** TAXI WARNING ***
Don’t get in a taxi! Narita is 66 km east of Tokyo – the fare is likely to be more than a return flight to Hong Kong!
The Airport Limousine Bus
The Airport Limousine Bus, is probably the most convenient way to get to the city centre. You’ll find the ticket desk right in front of you as you enter arrivals, and the bus stops are then located immediately outside each terminal building. Buses leave for Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Disneyland and major hotels. They depart every fifteen minutes. A one way ticket costs 3000 yen, and depending on traffic, expected journey time is about one and a half hours.
For more information go to the Airport Limousine Bus web site or telephone 03 3665 7220 (English information is available).
The JR Narita Express Train (N-EX)
With departures every thirty minutes or so, the JR Narita Express (N-EX) serves JR Shinjuku Station, JR Tokyo Station, JR Ikebukuro Station, JR Shinagawa and JR Yokohama Station. To board the train, follow the signs from inside the terminal buildings (be prepared for quite a walk!). The Japan Rail Pass is valid, but otherwise a one-way ticket (depending on destination) will cost around 3310 yen. It takes approximately 53 minutes to reach Tokyo station from Narita.
When travelling from the airport getting a seat on the train is normally not a problem. However when going in the other direction, it’s best to buy a ticket a few days in advance. Tickets can be bought from any of the major JR Stations (Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro). For more details, telephone the English information line 03 3423 01111, or you can take a look at the JR Narita Express Train website.
The Keisei Skyliner
An alternative to the Narita Express is the Keisei Skyliner. It is slightly cheaper (only 1,920 yen) and the journey time is short (just 51 minutes) but as the service only runs as far as Keisei Nippori and Keisei Ueno Stations, it’s potentially full of hassle (ie if you’re not staying in that part of town, you’ll probably have to change trains at least once more before reaching your final destination). For anyone brave enough though, trains depart every forty minutes from both terminals. The best place to change onto the JR Yamanote Line is Nippori. Don’t attempt to change at Ueno – there’s far too much walking involved. For more information phone, 03 3831 0131 (Japanese only).
The Keisei Skyliner website has full details on their service including directions and a timetable (link points to English section of the site).
How to get to central Tokyo from Haneda Airport
Haneda Airport (only 10km from the city centre) is linked to JR Hamamatsucho Station by monorail. At Hamamatsucho you can then easily transfer onto the JR Yamanote Line or the JR Keihin Tohoku Line. The journey takes approximately twenty minutes and trains depart every ten.
The Airport Limousine Bus
The Airport Limousine Bus departs frequently for Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, the city centre hotels and Disneyland.
For short distances, ie Ginza, the Tokyo Station area, Shibuya and Shinjuku, taxis are affordable.
*** Lugage Warning ***
It’s advisable to do what the Japanese do, and that’s pack very light. On the notoriously crowded public transport system there’s little space for luggage, and very little sympathy for it too. In stations also, you’ll find that lifts and escalators are few and far between (the same goes for helpful passers by)!