A Guide To Using Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT)

Navigating Tokyo’s international airport Narita International Airport (NRT) is easy if you come prepared and plan ahead. By having your plane ticket, identification, and passport ready at all times, you make things easier for yourself. The more prepared you are when you enter the airport, the easier you traverse Japan’s second busiest airport.

The Three busiest airports in Japan by flights:

Haneda Airport 456,126 Annual flights (cargo and passengers)
Narita International Airport 258,940 Annual flights (cargo and passengers)
Kansai International Airport (Osaka) 189,176 Annual flights (cargo and passengers)

Narita airport has a total of three terminals. Terminals one and two have access to rail networks and terminal three serves discount airlines. Shuttle services are offered at no charge via bus between each.

There are plenty of inexpensive, quick ways to travel to and from Tokyo and the surrounding areas, and the multi-lingual employees make it easy to find your way thru the airport.

You should arrive at the Narita International Airport two and a half hours earlier than your flight to confirm check-in and get through airport security. Within that time frame, there are plenty of things to do. 

If you plan on staying in a hotel or Ryokan close to the airport (NRT) check out the extensive list of accommodations near the airport in the link below:

Hotels or Ryokan Near Narita Airport via Tripadvisor

How do I get to or from Narita International Airport? 

Several different buses will be covered by your Japan Rail Pass run to the Narita International Airport each day. These include the JR Narita Express, JR Sobu Line, discount busses, and more. You can also take taxis or personal rental vehicles to the airport. If it’s your first time driving in Japan there are many differences than in many western countries

Car Rental Services At Narita Airport

Modes of Transport from/to Narita:

  • Keisei Skyliner Train
  • N’ex Express Train
  • Taxi Service
  • Bus services (multiple companies)
  • JR Sobu (Rapid Train Service)
  • Keisei Limited Express Train
  • Keisei/Keikyu connect Narita to Haneda airports

Keisei Skyliner Quickest Way To Central Tokyo From NRT

Ticket prices are 2500 yen, (Around $25 USD) 40 minutes to central Tokyo
The train itself departs every 20-40 minutes

The Keisei Skyliner, which connects the airport to Ueno Station, is the quickest way into central Tokyo. It is a relaxing train for passengers traveling to and from Narita. All seats on board are reserved and tickets must be purchased in advance for around 22-2300 Yen (about $22.00 USD).

Keisei Skyliner Official Website

Keisei Skyliner arriving at Narita Airport

N’EX Train To And From Narita Airport

The N’EX train ticket is 3100 yen, takes 60 minutes to arrive in central Tokyo
Departures from the airport are every 30-60 minutes

The Narita Express, commonly known as N’EX, is the most practical Tokyo transit from and to Narita International Airport, which serves the most of international flights to Japan. This limited express train service is quick, dependable, and on time, and you can use your Japan Rail Pass at no cost.

The Narita Express train arrives and departs from Narita terminals one, two, and three. This train will exit the airport and arrive in Tokyo followed by Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and finally Omiya. To see full route stops, times, and procedures check out the official N’EX Website below.

N’EX Official Site

International passengers arriving at Tokyo’s Narita Airport can purchase The N’EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket, it is a reduced ticket. It offers up to a 50 percent discount on a round trip by the Narita Express train (NEX) from the airport to Tokyo, Yokohama, or Saitama, and return time is limited to a two-week period.

Taxi Usage To/From Narita Airport

Considering Narita is so far distant (41 miles by road) from Tokyo, taking a taxi into the city is somewhat expensive. Depending on the destination and traffic, a normal taxi will cost approximately Y21,000 (around $200 USD)  and take between 60 and 90 minutes.

Narita Taxi Services Official Website

Bus Service From Narita To Tokyo And Beyond

Fare prices for bus service to Tokyo are about 1300-3300 yen ($13 to $33 USD) Bus travel time will vary based on traffic conditions, estimated times are 60-90 minutes to central Tokyo.

Willer, a shuttle bus provider that operates at Narita Airport.  this bus connects Narita Airport and Tokyo, commutes to Osaki Station (near Shinagawa). On the convenient JR Yamanote rail line, Osaki Station is roughly 5 to 8 minutes from Shibuya and 15 minutes from the Shinjuku area via the rail line.

Willer Bus Service Official Site

In addition to the Willer company, there are additional bus services that operate between Narita and Tokyo.

Narita Airport Official Site For Bus Services

JR Sobu Line (Rapid Service train)

About 1100 yen, 75 minute travel time to central Tokyo
Departures approximately every 20 minutes

The Keisei Limited Express, commuting from the airport this is the most affordable alternative, is the lowest price method to go from the Narita airport to into central Tokyo.

JR Sobu Line

JR Rail Official Website for the JR Sobu Line

It’s a regular commuter train that stops at numerous stations along the route from  NRT and Tokyo, and it can get packed with people during rush hour. It is not feasible to make a reservation for a seat and standing with luggage during these times might happen.

Keisei/Keikyu Narita to Haneda Limited Express Train

Aproximately 1300 yen, 60 minutes travel time to central Tokyo
Departures every 40 minutes NRT To HND (makes multiple stops along route)

The Narita Sky Access Line, Asakusa Subway Line, and Keikyu Airport Line all have trains branded “Access Express” or “Airport Kaitoku” that run directly from Narita Airport to Haneda Airport.

They make numerous stops in central Tokyo along the route, including Asakusa, Ginza, and Shinagawa. Seats may or may not be available depending on the time of day, and during peak hours it may be standing room only.

Keisei Rail Official Website For the HND Limited Express Train

express train bound for Keisei Narita station at Keikyu Haneda Airport Station

Location of the Narita International Airport

Narita International Airport (NRT) is one of the two international airports in Tokyo, Japan. Specifically, Narita International Airport is located in Narita. Narita is a city located in the Chiba prefecture of Japan. 

Cost of traveling to Narita International Airport

Prices can range significantly, anywhere from 1100 to 30000 yen (about $11 to $300 USD). These are estimates made from central Tokyo. As you can see, based on your budget and the time you have, it can be wiser to consider some cheaper options over others.

However, cheaper options can take up to 2 hours, with several stops in between.

Suggested arrival time at Narita International Airport

According to Narita International Airport’s website, you should arrive at the airport at least two and a half hours before your flight. Timeliness is critical for the check-in process, given most flights may close check-in one hour before departure. 

Lobby at the Narita Airport Terminal 1

What do I need to use Narita International Airport? 

Before setting off to the airport, you need to gather everything you need. You must store these documents in a place that is accessible at all times. 

Common things you will need while visiting Narita International Airport include: 

  • A valid passport 
  • A valid form of identification
  • A plane ticket (pre-booked or purchased on site)
  • Any safety mandated items (masks, gloves, other PPE)
  • Pet documentation (if applicable)

Keeping your documents on hand is important as you travel. Never store your passport or ID in your transporting baggage. Doing this risks the chance of losing your identification.

United States Passport Holder Official Website to Report A Lost or Stolen Passport

Losing identification is dangerous when traveling across international borders. Most airports’ international travel into countries requires proof or declaration of legal status when entering the country. 

Japan Customs Official website

If you plan on bringing pets while you are traveling internationally, bring all their documents too. Have these available at all times. You will need them immediately upon arrival in your destination country.

Pet Quarantine Official Website

Post-Covid procedures 

Covid safety measures include enforcing the mandatory wearing of safety masks. To maintain the public’s health, Narita International Airport has instilled significant safety measures such as wearing masks at all times while inside the airport.

It is also recommended to bring personal sanitary wet wipes and hand sanitizer as an additional sanitation method.

Where do I go first at Narita International Airport?

When arriving at the Narita International Airport for departure, the first place you should go is to the check-in desk. The check-in clerk will greet you, check your luggage, and print any new tickets required for travel. International travelers can be greeted with a translator, if necessary. 

Narita Check-In Desk Areas

Arriving at Narita International Airport

When you arrive at Narita International Airport, you must first check-in at immigration services. Immigration Services (or Customs) is a service in which new residents, tourists, and visitors must undergo multi-lingual support services.

Proceeding through Immigration Services is mandatory for anyone flying from anywhere outside of Japan. Immigration Services will examine foreign travelers’ bags for harmful pathogens. They also examine people for signs of illness and administer vitals examinations. In Immigration Services, you have the opportunity to apply for a Visa.

Applying for a visa through Japans Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Immigration Services is also your opportunity to apply for pet citizenship. If your pet does not meet its citizenship requirements (usually medical documentation), it will begin its quarantine period immediately.

Are there translators at Narita International Airport?

Many people who work at NIA are bilingual and multi-lingual. If you only speak one language, do not worry. Reach out to an airport employee. If they do not speak your native language, they will point you toward a native speaker who works with Immigration Services. 

In addition to translators, there are many multi-lingual signs located across the airport. All flight boards are multi-lingual. General directional signs are universal (arrows, bathrooms, etc.).

Is there food at Narita International Airport? 

There is plenty of food at Narita International Airport. The many restaurants make grabbing a bite to eat a great choice for passing the time. In addition to the many restaurants, there are also several stores to buy last-minute souvenirs from Tokyo.

Narita Airport has over 60 restaurants to meet the needs of tourists passing thru.

Listing of Naritas Restaurants Official Site

One of Naritas many eateries

Visiting Narita International Airport is an exciting experience when you go prepared and informed. Translators and multi-lingual signs make navigating through this international airport easy. Having your things ready can make getting through customs, security, and boarding your plane quickly with little to no problems.

Narita Airport at Sunset

Still, you should arrive at least two hours early to confirm your arrival and account for potential flight time adjustments.

When visiting the airport, consider passing the time by stopping by one of the many restaurants. There are excellent restaurants within the airport. If you cannot find any, use the multi-lingual signs or consult a bilingual employee for directions at the information desk.

Narita Airport Official Site (NRT)

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.