How to Get to Tokyo
As Japan’s sprawling capital city Tokyo will feature on almost every itinerary for first-time visitors, and for many, it will be the point of arrival and/or departure to the country. On this page you will find the following information:
In a country where all roads lead to Tokyo, how to get there might seem like a bit of given, especially when arriving at one of its airports. Yet how you get there and how long it takes depends on which part of the city you are looking to reach.
Serviced by multiple shinkansen lines and express train services running to cities and regions throughout the country, Tokyo Station is one of the city’s primary transport hubs. As such, all directions on this page use Tokyo Station as the end point, from where it is easy to transfer to local lines to other destinations in the city.
From some starting points, traveling to Shinjuku Station will be easiest from where its easy to head onto Tokyo Station – taking around 15 minutes using inner city train lines. Where possible, directions below use the train system in recognition that most international visitors will have some type of Japan Rail Pass – see below for details. Let’s start with an obvious but important question:
WHERE IS TOKYO?
Tokyo is located at the approximate mid-point of Japan’s main isand of Honshu, on Tokyo Bay and surrounded by the prefectures of Yokohama, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. As the largest city in not just Japan but the entire world, Greater Tokyo is an immense urban area that including tens of millions of people, numerous districts and a train network including more than nine hundred train stations. Of those, Tokyo Station is the terminus of mutliple Shinkansen / Bullet Train lines while Shinjuku Station, Shinagawa Station, Ueno Station and Omiya Station (in Saitama) also serve to connect travellers to cities and regions outside of the capital. Narita Airport sits around 65KM to the east of Tokyo – serivced by the Narita Express (NEX) and Keisei Skyliner running to central Tokyo – and Haneda Airport only 20KM to the south on Tokyo Station and connected to the central city by Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu Line.
HOW TO GET TO TOKYO
In this section you will find information on how to reach Tokyo from the following starting points:
NARITA AIRPORT – HANEDA AIRPORT – MOUNT FUJI – HAKONE – NAGANO CITY – JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK – NAGANO SKI RESORTS – NAGOYA – CHUBU CENTRAIR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – KYOTO – OSAKA – KANSAI AIRPORT – KARUIZAWA – TOYAMA – TOYAMA AIRPORT – KANAZAWA – KOMATSU AIRPORT – FUKUI – MATSUMOTO – MATSUMOTO AIRPORT – KAMIKOCHI – TATEYAMA-KUROBE ALPINE ROUTE
We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and in recognition that most international visitors will be using the train network to move around Japan, most directions are for using the trains. If there is alternative option i.e. express or local bus, that is notably faster or economical, we also include that information.
FROM NARITA AIRPORT
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. Narita is connected to Tokyo Station by the Narita Express (NEX).
Making stops at Narita Airport Terminal 1 and a joint stop for Terminal 2 & 3, the Narita Express takes approximately 55 minutes to travel from the airport to Tokyo Station (depending on the specific service and which 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.
A one-way journey costs JPY3070 per adult or JPY4640 per adult for a Green Car reservation*. Regular sales on return fares can also provide good savings. 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. The Narita Express is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
*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.
FROM HANEDA AIRPORT
Servicing Haneda Airport, the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 30 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.
Unlike the NEX – which is primarily used by passengers travelling to and from the Narita Airport – the Tokyo Monorail is used by many people going about their daily lives. It is designed for general commuters and not as comfortable or spacious as the NEX. 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 the airport, take the Tokyo Monorail bound for Hamamatsucho Station – 20 min/JPY500 – and then switch to the JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid service bound for Tokyo Station – 5 min/JPY160 – a total journey of around 30 minutes, costing a total of JPY660 one-way.
Alternatively, visitors can also use the Keikyu A Line to reach the airport. To do so, take the Keikyu Airport Line Bound for Shinagawa Station – 20 min/JPY300 – and once there, transfer to thr JR Yamanote or JR Keihin-Tohoku Line bound for Tokyo Station – 10 min/JPY170. These are conventional train lines. Advanced bookings are not possible. Both services are covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
FROM MOUNT FUJI
Reaching Tokyo from Mount Fuji can be a little complicated and is most easily done via Shinjuku Station. The Limited Express Fuji Excursion runs direct from Kawaguchiko Station and Mt Fuji Station – the nearest stations to the mountain – via Otsuki Station. Stops on the line include:
Otsuki / Kamiotsuki / Tanokura / Kasei / Akasaka / Tsurushi / Yamuramachi / Tsurubunkadaigaku-mae / Tokaichiba / Higashikatsura / Mitsutoge / Kotobuki / Yoshiikeonsen-mae / Shimoyoshida / Gekkoji / Mt. Fuji (Fujisan) / Fujikyu-Highland / Kawaguchiko
The service takes around 115 minutes / JPY4130 to make the journey. Once in Shinjuku Station, take the JR Chuo Rapid Service to Tokyo Station – around 15 minutes / JPY200.
There are however only a limited number of these services each day. If the Fuji Excursion is not running at a convenient time, take any service on the Fujikyu Railway Line to Otsuki Station – a journey that takes around 130 to 150 minutes / JPY3730 (depending on the specific service) – and once at Otsuki, switch to the Limited Express Kaiji, Limited Express Azusa other other services onto Tokyo. Services on the Fujikyu Railway are not covered by any JR Pass. Limited Express Kaiji and Limited Express Azusa services are covered by the JR Pass.
When traveling to Tokyo from Hakone, you can do so from either Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station. To reach Tokyo Station, take the Limited Express Odakyu service from Hakone-Yumoto Station to Odawara Station and switch to the Tokaido Shinkansen bound for Tokyo Station – a total travel time of 60 minutes / JPY3800.
Alternatively, visitors can take the Odakyu Railway all the way from Hakone-Yumoto Station to Shinjuku Station. The Limited Express Odakyu Railway takes 85 minutes / JPY2330 to reach Shinjuku. Local services on the same line also run from Hakone-Yumoto to Shinjuku however they take notably longer – 120 minutes / JPY1220 – therefore we recommend always using the limited express services. Please note, other than Nozomi services the Tokaido Shinkansen is covered by the JR Pass. Services on the Odakyu Railway are not covered by any JR Pass.
FROM NAGANO CITY
Nagano City is the largest city in Nagano Prefecture and primary transport hub for that region. The Hokuriku Shinkansen runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano Station and includes the following stations:
Kanazawa / Shin-Takaoka / Toyama / Kurobe-Unazukionsen / Itoigawa / Joetsu-Myoko / Iiyama / Nagano / Ueda / Sakudaira / Karuizawa / Annaka-Haruna / Takasaki / Honjo-Waseda / Kumagaya / Omiya / Ueno / Tokyo
The journey from Nagano to Tokyo takes between 80 to 110 minutes (depending on which train you take) and costs between JPY8000-9000 one-way. The Kagayaki and Hakutaka services are the fastest while the Asama service, is slower, stopping at all station between Nagano and Tokyo. All three services include stops at Nagano and Tokyo.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK
To reach Tokyo from the monkey the Jigokudani Monkey Park is straight-forward but requires you to transfer at Nagano Station. From the park, you have the option of: 1. a direct express bus from the park to Nagano Station or 2. a local bus to Yudanaka Station followed by an express train to Nagano Station.
Starting from the park, the express bus costs JPY1500 each way and takes 55 minutes to reach Nagano Station. In comparison, taking the Nagaden local bus from the park to Yudanaka Station – 15 min / JPY310 – followed by the Nagano Dentetsu Line to Nagano Station – 45 min / JPY1290 = a total journey of around 60 to 70 minutes and costing JPY1600. One at Nagano Station, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. Please note, Nagaden train and bus services are not covered by any JR Pass.
FROM THE NAGANO SKI RESORTS
For information on how to reach Tokyo from Nagano’s most popular ski areas, please refer to our main page for each resort including: SHIGA KOGEN / NOZAWA ONSEN / MADARAO / HAKUBA VALLEY / MYOKO KOGEN*
*Please note, Myoko Kogen is actually located in Niigata Prefecture however given its proximity to resorts in Nagano, and access to Myoko via Nagano Station, it is most easily combined with the other resorts of Nagano.
From Nagoya Station, services on the Tokaido Shinkansen take around 100 minutes to reach Tokyo, and cost JPY10,000-JPY11,000 one-way.
The Tokaido Shinkansen – other than Nozomi services – is covered by the JR Pass.
FROM CHUBU CENTRAIR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (NAGOYA)
To reach Tokyo from Chubu Airport, you must first head to Nagoya Station. To do so, take the Meitetsu Limited Express Line running from the airport to Meitetsu-Nagoya Station – connected to Nagoya Station. We recommend using the μ Sky Limited Express which takes 28 minutes and costs JPY1250 between the airport and Nagoya. This service only includes first-class, reserved seating.
Alternatively, the Meitetsu Limited Express takes 35 minutes and costs JPY890 and has both first-class and ordinary carriages. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket machines or window at Nagoya Station, Meitetsu-Nagoya Station, and the airport. Once in Nagoya, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo Station. The Japan Rail (JR) Pass does not cover this service.
Reaching Tokyo from the former capital of Kyoto is easy. Kyoto Station is another stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line running to Tokyo Station, making the journey easy and comfortable – between 135 to 160-minutes / JPY13000-JPY14,000 (depending on which service you choose). The Tokaido Shinkansen – other than Nozomi services – is covered by the JR Pass.
Traveling from Osaka to Tokyo is just as easy. Shin-Osaka Station is the terminus of the Tokaido Shinknasen Line with services reaching Tokyo Station in 150 to 170-minutes / around JPY14,000 (depending on which service you choose). The Tokaido Shinkansen – other than Nozomi services – is covered by the JR Pass.
FROM KANSAI AIRPORT (OSAKA)
To reach Tokyo from Kansai Airport, it’s most convenient to head to Shin-Osaka Station and from there use the Tokaido Shinkansen onto Tokyo Station. From Kansai Airport, take the Limited Express Haruka service to Shin-Osaka Station. The service includes both reserved and non-reserved seating. From the airport to Shin-Osaka Station takes around 50 minutes and costs JPY2710 for a reserved seat and JPY2380 for a non-reserved seat.
Once at Shin-Osaka Station, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. The Limited Express Haruka is covered by the JR Pass.
Karuizawa is one of Japan’s most popular mountain resort towns. Sitting between Nagano and Tokyo, Karuizawa Station is another station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line making the journey to Tokyo Station quick and easy. Depending on which service you choose, it takes 65 to 80 min / JPY5490. The Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
The coastal city of Toyama is best-known for its seafood and western access point to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route – see below. As another stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, traveling from Toyama Station to Tokyo Station takes 155 to 165 minutes / JPY12,430. The Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
FROM TOYAMA AIRPORT
To reach Tokyo from Toyama Airport, you first need to head into Toyama City and switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The airport shuttle bus runs every 30 to 60 minutes and stops nearby Toyama Station – 25 minutes / JPY410 one-way. Once at Toyama Station, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. The shuttle bus is not covered by any JR Pass.
Kanazawa is one of Japan’s most historic cities and as the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, it’s a direct and comfortable journey from Kanazawa Station to Tokyo Station. Using the Kagayaki, the journey from Kanazawa to Tokyo takes 150 minutes / JPY14,180, or 180 to 200 minutes / JPY13,850 using the Hakutaka. The Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by the JR Pass, JR East Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
FROM KOMATSU AIRPORT (KANAZAWA)
Located 30km to the southwest of Kanazawa, reaching Tokyo from Komatsu Airport requires you to first head to Kanazawa Station. The easiest option is to use the airport shuttle bus to central Kanazawa – 40 minutes /JPY1150 – then onto Kanazawa Station. For further information, please refer to the bus timetable from/to Kanazawa. Alternatively, regular buses run to JR Komatsu Station is the nearest train station – taking only 12 minutes. From Komatsu Station, services on the JR Hokuriku Line take 30 minutes / JPY510 to reach Kanazawa Station. Once at Kanazawa, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. Services on the JR Hokuriku Line are covered by the JR Pass.
From Fukui Station, take the Limited Express Thunderbird to Kanazawa Station – 45 minutes / JPY2540 – and once in Kanazawa, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. Thunderbird services are covered by the JR Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
Most famous for its castle, Matsumoto is one of the most popular cities in Central Japan. The Limited Express Asuza runs from Matsumoto Station to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, making it the easiest way to reach the capital. The service includes stops at:
There are regular services each day taking around 2.5 hours / JPY6620 to reach Shinjuku from Matsumoto. Once at Shinjuku Station, the JR Chuo Rapid Service will get you to Tokyo Station in around 15 minutes / JPY200. The Limited Express Azusa is covered by the JR Pass.
FROM MATSUMOTO AIRPORT
To reach Tokyo from Matsumoto Airport, use the airport shuttle bus to Matsumoto Bus Terminal (adjacent to Matsumoto Station). The bus takes around 30 minutes and costs JPY600. Alternatively, taxis are also available – usually around 25 minutes / JPY4000 – to reach central Matsumoto with rental cars also available. Once at Matsumoto Station, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. The shuttle bus is not covered by any JR Pass.
Traveling from Kamikochi to Tokyo takes time and requires a couple of transfers, but is relatively straight-forward. Take the bus from Kamikochi Bus Terminal to Shin-Shimashima Station and once there, transfer to the Kamikochi Line bound for Matsumoto Station. The total journey takes around 2 hours and costs JPY2500 per adult and JPY1250 per child. For full details, please refer to the following timetable and fares page. Once at Matsumoto Station, follow the directions above to reach Tokyo. Buses services to and from Kamikochi and services on the Kamikochi Line are not covered by any JR Pass.
FROM THE TATEYAMA-KUROBE ALPINE ROUTE
The Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route can be accessed via the Nagano-side via Ogizawa Station, or the Toyama-side via Tateyama Station. For visitors wanting to head directly onto Tokyo from the Alpine Route, descending to the Nagano-side/Ogizawa Station is the most convenient option. From Ogizawa Station, take the bus to Nagano Station – approximately 105 minutes – and once there, follow the directions at the top of the page – ‘From Nagano’ – to reach Tokyo Station. This bus service is not covered by any JR Pass.
JAPAN RAIL PASSES & DISCOUNT TICKETS
International visitors to Japan can purchase a Japan Rail (JR) Pass before arrival, allowing for extensive use of the train system while here. Most visitors opt for the full JR Pass however it is also worth noting that there are range of other options including the JR East Nagano & Niigata Pass and JR Hokuriku Arch Pass which offer great value for money. All three passes cover travel from Nagano to Tokyo with other lines include. For further information, please refer to the specific pass page and be sure to check that it covers the lines you will be using. The above passes are only available to non-residents who will be in Japan on a short-term visa i.e. tourist visa.
For foreign residents of Japan, you can access discounted shinkansen tickets using Japan Rail’s EkiNet website. Our ‘Discount Shinkansen Tickets: How to Buy Online’ page has a step-by-step guide of how to by discounted shinkansen tickets – up to savings of 50% – online!
In addition to discounted tickets, foreign residents can take advantage of the JR East Welcome Pass 2020, allowing for unlimited travel on multiple lines including the Hokuriku Shinkansen for 3-days. It is important to note that this pass and discounted tickets cannot be accessed by non-residents of Japan i.e. visitors on tourist visas.
WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO?
Not just the largest city in Japan but also the largest city in the world, Tokyo is a sprawling giant that must be experienced at least once. Knowing where to stay when visiting Tokyo can make a huge difference when it comes to getting around the city and ultimately, getting the most out of your time there. Our ‘Where To Stay In Tokyo?’ page breakdowns the best areas to stay including accommodation listings.
30 THINGS TO DO NEAR TOKYO: BEST DAY-TRIPS & OVERNIGHT GETAWAYS
While Tokyo has more than enough to keep you entertained for your entire visit, it is also an ideal base from where to escape the city and explore our home region of Central Japan. Boasting the majority of Japan’s tallest mountains, verdant forests, open spaces, ancient temples and a slower way of life, it is everything that Tokyo is not. Our ’30 Things To Do Near Tokyo: Best Day-Trips & Overnight Getaways’ page includes some fantastic tips and suggestions of what’s on offer. We hope that it tempts you to visit!
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters. We can arrange transport including a private vehicle and driver, to transport you to, from and between any destination in Central Japan.
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 schedule. All 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.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2022 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 and Central Japan.
Got a question about visiting Central Japan? Contact us and let’s get planning together!