After disembarking in Tokyo, it took us more than an hour to clear immigration, collect our luggage, and proceed to the train station to catch the Narita Express. I should note here that the JR Pass (Japan Travel Pass) is valid for travel on the Narita Express (NEX). However since our rail journeys to Kyoto were at the end of our trip, I had to buy the tickets on the Narita Express to ensure pass validity for the longer more expensive journeys toward the end of the trip.
FYI: If you want to use the credit card to buy tickets, please use the counters or have a credit card with a PIN number.
The tickets on the NEX to Tokyo Station cost approximately 30 USD/person, which is expensive but still a third of the price you would pay for a taxi (yes I did that before).
The train is everything you would expect a Japanese train to be: sparkling clean, quiet, timely, and efficient. I found the seats fairly spacious and comfortable for the hour long ride over.
The NEX trains have free Wifi and instructions on how to connect can be found on on the seat backs.The luggage rack even featured locks, which should be a feature in some other countries. They actually don’t really need those in Japan.
The ride from Narita to Tokyo Station is just under an hour and my face was absolutely glued to the window. You really get a taste of what the countryside in Japan looks like: lots and lots of rice fields.
We arrived into Tokyo Station on time as is usual for Japanese trains. They often even apologize for being a minute late. Tokyo Station is one of the main train stations in the city and serves as one of the major hubs for the JR lines heading out of the city. The architecture and atmosphere of the the station at rush hour is something to behold. Call me crazy, but I would absolutely love to spend a day just inside the station (haha I did that).
Our hotel was just a few blocks away from Tokyo Station so we just decided to walk over and dodge the expensive taxi ride.
The day itself was fairly gloomy, but there’s nothing like walking the streets of Tokyo.
It goes without saying that you should avoid taxi rides to/from Narita Airport at all costs because the Narita Express is a timely, comfortable, affordable, and relaxing way to get to Central Tokyo. It isn’t the no frills way of getting there though. That probably is the bus, which costs a third of the price and takes more than double the time depending on where you are going. There is also the regular train option of course which comes in at a third of the price as well, but riding those trains during rush hour can be an experience (thanks to reader Patrick for reminding of them). So look at what time you are arriving, how tired you are, and weigh your options!
Japan Trip Report Index:
Narita Express (Narita – Tokyo Station)
Focal Point: Tokyo in the Rain