Narita International Airport
Located to the east of Central Tokyo, Narita handles a significant number of international flights, making it many visitors point of entry and/or exit in Japan. Tokyo’s Haneda Airport also handles international traffic so ensure you check which airport you are flying in/out of.
Narita has three terminals: Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 handle international flights by full-service airlines while Terminal 3 caters to low-cost carriers.
Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 have underground train stations (discussed below). Terminal 3 is connected to Terminal 2 by a walkway, making access easy. Free shuttle buses also run between the terminals.
The following information is intended for travelers heading from Narita Airport to Nagano and Central Japan. Let’s start with how to get to and from the airport – for information about which transport option will suit you best, see our ‘Best Way to Get from Narita Airport to Tokyo – Train, Bus or Private Transport?’ page.
TRAIN SERVICES TO/FROM NARITA AIRPORT
Two rapid train lines connect Narita Airport to Tokyo: 1. The Narita Express (N’EX) to Tokyo Station and 2. the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno Station. Both services are easy and comfortable to use however only the NEX is covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass. The Keisei Skyliner is not covered by any JR Pass:
Narita Express (N’EX)
Making stops at Narita Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, the Narita Express (N’EX) takes approximately 55 minutes to travel from the airport to Tokyo Station (depending on which service and terminal you are using).
The N’EX also services Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa and Yokohama Stations. Tickets can be purchased online up to one month in advance however there really is no need to book ahead of time. Tickets are available using the ticket machines or service windows at the airport terminals. Foreign language-speaking staff – including English, Chinese and Korean – are usually on-hand to assist.
A one-way journey costs JPY3070 per adult or JPY4640 per adult for a Green Car reservation*. Departing every 30 to 60 minutes, there are numerous services throughout the day. The earliest train from Narita departs at 07:45 with the final service departing at 21:45. For the daily schedule, see our ‘Narita Express (N’EX) Timetable’ page.
*Green Cars have fewer seats, more legroom, etc. They are often described as the equivalent of business or first-class on an airline. While they are very comfortable, a standard Ordinary Car is also enjoyable and will suit the needs of most visitor for the short journey to and from the airport.
Also making stops at Narita Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, the Keisei Skyliner takes between 40 to 55 minutes to travel – depending on which service and terminal you are using- from the airport to Keisei Ueno Station – nearby Ueno Station . Before reaching Ueno, the Skyliner also stops at Nippori Station – 40 minutes from the airport.
Both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 have a Skyliner & Keisei Information Center, open daily from 07:00 until 21:00. Foreign language-speaking staff – including English, Chinese and Korean – are usually on-hand to assist. Tickets are available using the ticket machines or service windows at the airport terminals. Tickets can also be purchased from machines in Terminal 3.
All seats on the Skyliner are reserved and cost JPY2520 per adult and JPY1270 per child to reach Keisei Ueno Station. Services through the day typically depart every 30 to 40 minutes. The earliest train from Narita departs at 07:26 with the latest service leaving at 23:20. For daily train schedules, see our ‘Keisei Skyliner Timetable’ page.
Please note, Narita Airport is also serviced by local train lines however we recommend using either the NEX or Skyliner, especially if your intention is heading onto Nagano and Central Japan. These services are notably faster and connect quickly and conveniently to the Hokuriku Shinkansen – discussed below.
ACTIVATING/EXCHANGING A JAPAN RAIL (JR) PASS
Holders of any Japan Rail pass will need to exchange/activate that pass before using it. You do so by exchanging the order/proof of purchase you received online. This can be done a numerous JR Pass Exchange Offices found at any major train station or airport including Narita Airport. You can do so at:
Terminal 1: JR East Travel Service Center: 08:15 to 19:00; Ticket Office: 06:30 to 08:15 & 19:00 to 21:45; or Travel Center: 08:00 to 20:00.
Terminal 2/3: JR East Travel Service Center: 08:15 to 20:00 or Ticket Office: 06:30 to 08:15 & 19:00 to 21:45.
Tokyo Station is another popular place to exchange/obtain your pass at either of these offices:
JR East Travel Service Center (Marunouchi North Exit): 07:30 to 20:00 or JR Central Ticket Office (Yaesu North Exit): 07:30 to 20:00.
Travelers headed from Ueno Station can do so at: Information Center (Central Ticket Gate): 09:00 to 19:00.
Make sure you allow adequate time to exchange and activate your pass if you are intending to use it on the same day or do so a day or two before you plan to start using it (you can always nominate a later activation date).
Once you have your activated pass you are free to ride however you can’t insert your pass into the ticket gates. Simply walk through the side booth (permanently attended by station staff) and show your pass. You will be waved through and you can make your way to the platform.
AIRPORT LIMOUSINE BUS TO/FROM NARITA AIRPORT
Operating from all three terminals at Narita Airport to numerous points in Tokyo, the Airport Limousine Bus is a good option for travelers who want to be dropped directly at their hotel. Tickets can be booked in advance – a minimum of 2-days prior to your intended travel – with the option of doing so online, by phone, at a ticket machine and – for visitors heading to the airport – through your hotel.
Travel times vary depending on where you are staying – but expect a journey of around 2 hours – with stops at these participating hotels. A one-way ticket costs between JPY2800 to JPY3200 depending on where you are staying.
Buses are large coaches with two seats either side the central aisle. Overhead storage is above with passengers asked to store their larger luggage underneath the bus. Buses include free WiFi and an onboard toilet. A central office monitors traffic and communicates with drivers in an effort to ensure any troublesome delays.
Tickets can be purchased online a minimum of 2-days in advance, by phone, through a participating hotel or at ticket machines at the airport. To purchase online, you can do so through the official website by providing your details and making payment by credit card. You will then be sent an email confirmation which you use on the day to board the bus. You can also choose to make payment on the day. If you do you will receive a QR code by email, which you use on the day to make payment at a ticket machine or window. You will then be issued with your ticket to board the bus. Alternatively, ticket machines are available at the airport. Simply choose your preferred bus service, make payment, and your tickets will be issued.
ACCOMMODATION IN & AROUND NARITA AIRPORT
Visitors flying in and out of Narita Airport have a choice to hotels in and around the airport. While there are only a small number of hotels inside the airport itself, the broader Narita area has multiple hotels within easy reach of the airport with some offering shuttle services to and from the terminals. Most hotels are mid-sized to large business hotels catering to arrivals and departures from the airport, with the standard facilities and comforts you’d expect of any business hotel in Japan. For hotel bookings in and around the airport, see our ‘Narita Airport Area’ hotel page.
GETTING TO NAGANO FROM NARITA AIRPORT
When traveling to Nagano including its ski resorts, from Narita Airport, you have the option of: 1. Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station; 2. an express bus to some ski resorts – winter only; and 3. a private charter from/to Narita Airport. We hope the following information is of assistance in arranging your transport to Nagano and Central Japan:
1 / Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station
The Hokuriku Shinkansen Line runs from the southern terminus of Tokyo Station to the northern terminus of Kanazawa Station.
The following stations are on the line including Ueno Station and Nagano Station:
*Please note, while not all stops are included on each shinkansen service, every service stops at Nagano Station.
To reach Nagano from Narita, head to Tokyo Station using the NEX or Ueno Station using the Skyliner and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. For the train schedule, please refer to our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Timetable’ page. Visitors heading to these popular ski resorts should head to the following stations: 1. Nagano Station: Shiga Kogen, Hakuba and Myoko Kogen and 2. Iiyama Station: Nozoawa Onsen and Madarao
2 / Express Buses to Ski Resorts – winter only
In winter, some ski resorts such as Hakuba operate direct shuttle buses to and from Narita Airport. From Narita, pickup is available at Terminals 1,2 and3 with drop-off available at Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba Station and the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal.
A one-way journey costs: JPY9800 per adult (12+), JPY7800 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge. While the bus is a convenient way to reach Hakuba directly from the airport, it is only available once per day and only during winter. For full details, please refer to Alpico’s timetables and fares page.
3 / Private Charter from/to Narita Airport
For visitors arriving at Narita Airport but wanting to head to a location other than central Tokyo, arranging private transport from the airport can be a convenient and economical option, especially when traveling as a group or family.
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we can arrange private transport from the airport directly to your preferred destination in Central Japan including any of the region’s fantastic ski resorts.
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your interests and schedule. A great option for families and groups of friends wanting to travel together in comfort, we can arrange transport for individuals, couple, families and groups of up to 44 passengers per vehicle.
Vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety. As a registered travel agent, we can package your transport with accommodation, tours, restaurants and more! We take the hassle out of arranging your travel to Nagano and Central Japan, so you can relax, sit back and discover everything the region has to offer!
For tips and suggestions of what’s on offer just outside of Tokyo, see our ’30 Things To Do Near Tokyo: Best Day-Trips & Overnight Getaways’ page.
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.
Got a question about arranging a charter from Narita? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!