Ueno Station is a major transport hub in Tokyo. As the nearest station to destinations including Ueno Zoo, the Tokyo National Museum, the University of Tokyo and dining and entertainment precincts of Ueno, the station is very exceptionally busy.
For visitors heading to Central Japan, Ueno Station is a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line heading to Nagano and onto Kanazawa, while also connected to Narita Airport by the Keisei Skyliner via nearby Keisei Ueno Station.
The following information is intended for visitors coming through Tokyo Station on enroute to Nagano and Central Japan. It only touches the service of everything we could cover about the station but we hope it assists in making your transfer there, as easy and smooth as possible.
Train Lines Running to/from Ueno Station
Many train lines run to and from Ueno including the following Shinkansen lines:
Commonly referred to as the ‘Bullet Train’ by many international visitors, the shinkansen network fans-out from Tokyo and connects the capital to many regions of Japan including:
Hokuriku: to Kanazawa via Nagano
Joetsu: to Niigata
Tohoku: to Aomori (which connects to the Hokkaido Shinkansen)
Yamagata: to Yamagata
Akita: to Akita
Visitors travelling to and from Nagano will use the Hokuriku Shinkansen.
Hokuriku / Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano Station
Running from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Ueno, the Hokuriku Shinkansen runs to the north-northwest of the capital and stops at stations including:
Two services – the Kagayaki and Hakutaka – operate from Tokyo all the way to Kanazawa:
The Kagayaki is reservation-only and stops at Ueno, Omiya, Nagano and Toyama before terminating at Kanazawa. The journey from Ueno to Kanazawa takes 150 minutes and Ueno to Nagano takes 80 minutes.
The Hakutaka included both reserved and non-reserved carriages and stops at a great number of stations. It takes between 180 to 200 minutes (depending on the stations included in the specific service) to travel from Ueno to Kanazawa and 90 to 95 minutes to travel from Ueno to Nagano.
A third service – Asama – is only available from Ueno to Nagano. It includes both reserved and non-reserved carriages and stops at all stations between Ueno and Nagano, taking between 100 to 110 minutes.
A fourth service – Tsurugi – is also available on the Hokuriku Shinkansen but only between Toyama and Kanazawa and does not service Ueno Station.
Information regarding how to book a ticket can also be found on our ‘How To: Shinkansen Reservations to Nagano’ page.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Pass. For further details, please see below.
Joetsu Shinkansen / Tokyo to Niigata via Echigo-Yuzawa Station
The Joetsu Shinkansen runs from Tokyo to Niigata and services Echigo-Yuzawa, located approximately at the mid-point of the line, and the surrounding ski resorts. The following stations are on the Joetsu line:
*In winter, some shinkansen services continue onto a winter-only stop at Gala-Yuzawa, directly underneath the ski resort of the same name.
Refer to our ‘Joetsu Shinkansen Timetable’ page for daily train schedules to and from Tokyo. There are two services on the line – the Toki and Tanigawa. The Toki (including Max Toki) is the fastest. Stopping at only a limited number of stations it takes around 80 minutes to reach Echigo-Yuzaawa and 130 minutes to reach Niigata.
The Tanigawa (including Max Tanigawa) does not operate all the way to Niigata and mainly runs in the morning and evening to cover peak periods. Stopping all stations between Tokyo and its final destination, the Tanigawa takes around 80 to 90 minutes to reach Echigo-Yuzawa.
All services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass and JR East Pass – see below for details.
Train lines to the airports
Tokyo is serviced by two international airports – Narita and Haneda. Narita is substantially further from the city than Haneda, however a rapid train service makes the journey quick and easy.
From Ueno Station, Narita Airport is accessible using the rapid Keisei Skyliner service from Keisei-Ueno Station (nearby Ueno Station) while Haneda Airport is accessible using the Tokyo Monorail (requiring a transfer at Hamamatsucho Station)
Keisei Skyliner to Narita Airport
The Keisei Skyliner operates to and from Keisei Ueno Station, a short walk from the Central Entrance/Exit of Ueno Station. This rapid service train connects Ueno to Narita Airport with stops at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.
The Keisei Skyliner takes between 40 to 55 minutes to travel from Keisei Ueno Station to the airport (depending on which service and terminal you are using), also stopping at Nippori Station – around 35 minutes – enroute to the airport.
The earliest service departs Keisei Ueno Station at 05:58 and arrives at Narita at 06:42. The latest service departs Keisei Ueno Station at 18:20 and arrives at Narita at 19:06. 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 station and airport terminals.
All seats on the Skyliner are reserved and cost JPY2520 per adult and JPY1270 per child from Keisei-Ueno Station to Narita.
Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport
Servicing Haneda Airport, the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Ueno Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 35 to 40 minutes. Overall, Haneda is the busier of the two airports handles fewer international flights than Narita. Most international services from Haneda arrive and depart at Terminal 3.
The Tokyo Monorail is used by many people going about their daily lives. Designed for general commuters it is not as comfortable or spacious as the Skyliner and navigating your way on and off with luggage at peak hour ca be a little challenging.
Nevertheless, the monorail makes the journey to and from Haneda Airport quick and relatively smooth. From Ueno Station, take the JR Yamanote Line bound for Osaki or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid bound for Ofuna and disembark at Hamamatsucho Station (12-15 min/JPY170). At Hamamatsucho, transfer to the Tokyo Monorail bound for Haneda Airport (20 min/JPY500).
The Tokyo Monorail is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
These are conventional train lines. Advanced bookings are not possible.
Transferring from airport trains to the shinkansen at Ueno Station
This is quite a straightforward process. Once you arrive at Keisei Ueno Station follow the signs to the Main Exit. As you depart the station turn left and walk straight. Ueno Station is directly in front of you, only a couple of minutes walk.
Enter Ueno Station and follow the signs to the shinkansen ticket office and platforms (on your right). It really is quite simple.
Japan Rail (JR) Passes covering Tokyo to Nagano
There is no escaping the fact that travel using the shinkansen is expensive. Given the speed and distances covered by these trains, travelers should think of them much like taking a flight, with tickets accordingly priced. International visitors to Japan have the option of purchasing one of several passes which allow for unlimited use of the Hokuriku along with other services:
Japan Rail (JR) Pass
Covering all 9 shinkansen lines in Japan and many other train services, the JR Pass is a great option for visitors planning to use the shinkansen more than a handful of times and/or travel large distances. Travelers have the option of 7, 14 and 21-day passes covering either Ordinary or Ordinary and Green Cars.
The JR Pass allows for use of any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
Japan Rail (JR) East Pass/ Nagano & Niigata
This pass covers the Hokuriku and Joetsu Shinkansen lines serving Nagano and Niigata, along with other regional services. There is only one option of pass, covering 5 days of use within a 14-day period from its date of activation.
Notably cheaper than the JR Pass, this is a great option for visitors staying within Nagano and Niigata. Much like the JR Pass, it allows for use of any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
Hokuriku Arch Pass
Valid for 7 consecutive days from date of activation, the Hokuriku Arch Pass covers train services from Tokyo – including trains from both Narita and Haneda Airports – to Nagano and Kanazawa and then onto Kyoto, Osaka and Kansai Airport.
For many international visitors, this pass covers the majority of their intended destinations as the they follow the most popular tourist route from Tokyo to Kanazawa and onto Kyoto and Osaka. Notably cheaper than the full JR Pass, the Hokuriku Arch Pass offers fantastic convenience and savings.
Purchasing a JR Pass
Passes can be purchased via the official website or via a JR-affiliated sales office. Once you completed payment, you will receive an exchange order. This is a proof of payment and looks almost like a flight ticket with your personal details, type of Pass, and validity (three months from the date of issue).
It is important to note that the exchange order is not your actual pass and will need to be exchanged for your pass once in Japan. Whatever you do, do not lose the exchange order and prioritise exchanging it for your pass when you arrive.
Activating a JR Pass
Prior to using your pass, you must actually get your hands on it 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 and Haneda Airports.
If you have time to do so before leaving the airport, you can use the pass immediately. Alternatively, passes can be exchanged/activated at Ueno Station at:
JR East Travel Service Center: 08:30 to 19:00 (18:00 on weekends & holidays)
To exchange/activate your pass you will need your exchange order and passport.
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.
Ueno Station Tourist Information
The Tokyo Tourist Information Center is located inside Keisei Ueno Station and open daily from 08:00 to 18:30. Full-time English, Chinese and Korean-speaking staff are on-hand to provide general information including accommodation and transportation and other services.
Accommodation In & Around the Station
Visitors coming through Ueno Station might want to consider staying in or nearby the station. As one of Japan’s major train stations, there are many options surrounding the station including hotels directly accessible from inside the station – a great option to avoid having to carry luggage with you and when using the shinkansen to move to and from Tokyo including Narita Airport. For hotel bookings in and around the station, please refer to the following accommodation listings in the ‘Ueno Station Area’.
Book a Private Charter from/to Tokyo
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