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International Railroad Discussion > Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo


Date: 07/02/19 06:11
Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

I've got about a 12 hour layover between flights and want to venture into downtown Tokyo.  I see on the Seat 61 site that there are dedicated trains linking the airport to the city.  My goal is to ride one route inbound (via Abiko) and another route outbound (Via Chiba), or vice-versa.  I imagine the Narita Express and Keisei Skyliner run via Abiko.  Is this the case?   

Any suggestions or recommendations are welcomed.  Any suggestions on what would be the best train station to focus on in Tokyo?  Is there a good food court at one of them?  Interesting sites within close walking distance?    



Date: 07/02/19 14:49
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: Hiroshi

Narita Express (NEX) is operated by JR East (ex-JNR). The train is calling at Narita Terminal 2, Tokyo and beyond.  It runs on Narita line as well as Sobu mainline, but it does not stop at Chiba station.
To get to Chiba station, take Rapid train from Narita Airport,  It will make a stop at Chiba station.
 
Skyliner is operated by Keisei. The fastest one does not stop any stations between Narita Airport and Nippori then to Keisei’s Ueno station.  At Nippori you can transfer to JR East trains.
 
To get to Abiko, Take JR East Rapid to Narita then transfer Narita line train to Abiko,
Alternatively, Take Keisei train from Narita Airport to Keisei Narita then walk to JR Narita station (7 minutes)
(No sure if you want to go to Abiko, or not. But, it that is the case:)

You may consider one hour + to come out from the gate to Narita railway stations.
Also, another two hours to get back to the gate from the Narita station. All depends on the situation.
 
One suggestion is
Narita Airport to Tokyo station by JR East, Narita Express
From Keisei Ueno station to Narita Airport by Keisei Skyliner.
Alternatively, Use Skyliner to get to Ueno and from Tokyo to Narita Airport by Narita Express.

Hope this helps



CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've got about a 12 hour layover between flights
> and want to venture into downtown Tokyo.  I see
> on the Seat 61 site that there are dedicated
> trains linking the airport to the city.  My goal
> is to ride one route inbound (via Abiko) and
> another route outbound (Via Chiba), or
> vice-versa.  I imagine the Narita Express and
> Keisei Skyliner run via Abiko.  Is this the
> case?   
>
> Any suggestions or recommendations are welcomed. 
> Any suggestions on what would be the best train
> station to focus on in Tokyo?  Is there a good
> food court at one of them?  Interesting sites
> within close walking distance?    



Date: 07/02/19 18:05
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Thanks Hiroshi!  Yes, your information was very helpful!  My travel plans do not need me to detrain at Abiko.  I'm mainly just trying to set up an itinerary where I would take one particular route one direction and a different route on my return trip.  It is helpful knowing that the Narita Express uses both the Narita Line and the Sobu Line.  Does the Skyliner operated by Keisei also operate on both the Narita Line and the Sobu Line? 

Is there any way to know ahead of time which routes the trains will take?  

If I wanted to ride the Kelyo Line, it looks like I would have to ride to Soga and then transfer.  Is there a direct train from Soga to Narita Airport?  

Also, I will be traveling with my wife and teenage daughter.  I assume paying day fares would still be cheaper than buying a seven day Japan Rail Pass.  Or would the Japan Rail Pass be the way to go?    



 



Date: 07/02/19 18:15
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

One last thing, Hiroshi.  My wife has a friend who lives in Yokohama who is planning on taking a train to Tokyo to meet up with us for a short time.  What would you suggest would be the best station to set up our meeting point?  



Date: 07/02/19 20:47
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: cchan006

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>  It is helpful knowing that the
> Narita Express uses both the Narita Line and the
> Sobu Line.  Does the Skyliner operated by Keisei
> also operate on both the Narita Line and the Sobu
> Line? 

The Skyliner uses the Sky Access line, which is Keisei's own line totally separate from JR East, once the line leaves the immediate area near the airport. So the Skyliner uses neither the Narita or the Sobu Line. FYI, Keisei trains use 1435mm gauge, while JR East trains use 1067mm.
 
> Is there any way to know ahead of time which
> routes the trains will take?  

All JR East trains out of Narita Airport (Narita Express, the Rapids) take you toward Tokyo, so they all use Narita, then the Sobu Lines as described by Hiroshi. You shouldn't hear any announcements on the routing.

For Keisei trains, there are two possible routings. The faster Sky Access line as mentioned, and the Keisei Main Line, which is the original and older line. To prevent confusion, Keisei Line platforms within the airport are physically separated (with barriers) between the Sky Access Line trains vs. Main Line trains, and there should be announcements and signs to remind you which way you are going. Both Lines merge at Takasago, which is in the eastern part of Tokyo.

So you can do a two route roundtrip within the Keisei system, if you desire. I've done this before.

> If I wanted to ride the Kelyo Line, it looks like
> I would have to ride to Soga and then transfer. 
> Is there a direct train from Soga to Narita
> Airport?  

At Chiba, JR East's Sotobo Line connects to Soga, going SSE. Unfortunately, there is no connector to allow westbound Narita Line train to go south on the Sotobo Line from Chiba to Soga, so you have to transfer at Chiba (as mentioned by Hiroshi).

Double unfortunately, eastbound Keiyo Line can't go north on the Sotobo Line and vice versa, so you have to make another transfer at Soga, if you want to head west toward Tokyo. So that's the long answer to your question on whether there's a direct train between Soga and Narita Airport (nope).

In other words, you have to do a zigzag transfer via Chiba and Soga, if you are heading west from Narita and want to head west on the Keiyo Line toward Tokyo (and Disneyland, which is visible from the Keiyo Line near Maihama).

I believe there have been charter trips that would do the zigzag, but they are not regularly scheduled.

> Also, I will be traveling with my wife and teenage
> daughter.  I assume paying day fares would still
> be cheaper than buying a seven day Japan Rail
> Pass.  Or would the Japan Rail Pass be the way to
> go?    

Go with the day fares, as you shouldn't have to spend anywhere close to the cost of any of the passes valid from Narita Airport (3 day Tokyo Area Pass, 5 day JR East Pass, 7 day JR Rail Pass, etc). The ticketing system will alert the attendant if you take too long to enter and exit the same station, so plan on exiting a station at least once somewhere along your trip. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/19 20:56 by cchan006.



Date: 07/02/19 21:06
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: rrcaboose

During a 1991 stopover in Tokyo had time to visit Japanese RR Museum. Very interesting. Maybe it is still there. If so would suggest checking it out.

rrcaboose



Date: 07/02/19 21:32
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: cchan006

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any suggestions or recommendations are welcomed. 
> Any suggestions on what would be the best train
> station to focus on in Tokyo?  Is there a good
> food court at one of them?  Interesting sites
> within close walking distance?

Every major station in Japan (not just Tokyo) has a food court in or near the station. Tokyo Station has an underground mall, where you can look for more than half a dozen styles of ramen noodles in "Tokyo Ramen Street."  That's in addition to another dozen or so restaurants serving other types of cuisines.

If there's no food court in the station building, then there should be several available (per station) underground or in the upper floors of department stores physically connected to the station. You will be boggled by the choices available. When I am not doing food tourism where I target specific restaurants, I almost never have to plan for a meal, because this is how I find places to eat, and majority of them are good quality due to fierce competition.

Don't forget the realistic plastic food displays at almost all restaurant entrances. I usually look at those to determine where and what to eat.



Date: 07/03/19 07:41
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: Hiroshi

Thank you cchan006-san.
To wrap it up, what we have here are the following route:
1. Using JR East
1) Direct train from Narita Airport to Tokyo via Chiba (Narita line and Sobu main line)
 a) Narita Express (NEX) Ltd. Express service (regular fare + Ltd Express Fee of 3,020 yen person)
 b) Sobu line Rapid service (regular fare of 1,320 yen per person)
2) Connection trains (Regular fare of 1,320 yen per person as long as stay inside platform, no extra charges even you made a detour)
 a) From Narita Airport to Tokyo via Narita, Abiko, and Ueno
 b) From Narita Airport to Tokyo via Chiba, Soga
2. Using Keisei Railways (a private rail service)
 a) via Sky Access Line (operated by Keisei and Hokuso railways this is the short cut line, extra charge needed)
     i) Skyliner (regular fare + Express fee 2,470 yen per person) from Narita Airport to Ueno
     ii) "SkyAccess Tokkyu" service (regular fare of 1,380 yen per person,  Most popular service used by many travelers) from Narita-Airport to Ueno
     iii) Airport Kaisoku to Haneda Airport from Narita Airport via Takasago, Asakusa, Shimbashi, Shinagawa (regular fare)
 b) via Keisei Mainline (Good Ole route of Keisei railway)
     i) "Kaitoku," or "Tokkyu" from Narita Airport to Ueno (Regular fair of 1,030 yen per person)
3. Bus services to Tokyo station.

Note: JR East provides the direct train service to Yokohama area. Either NEX or Sobu line Rapid is the option.

Try "Route Search - Japan Transit Planner" site to see options, then select the  train you want to ride (time table and fare provided).

Hope this helps.

Hiroshi

cchan006 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >  It is helpful knowing that the
> > Narita Express uses both the Narita Line and
> the
> > Sobu Line.  Does the Skyliner operated by
> Keisei
> > also operate on both the Narita Line and the
> Sobu
> > Line? 
>
> The Skyliner uses the Sky Access line, which is
> Keisei's own line totally separate from JR East,
> once the line leaves the immediate area near the
> airport. So the Skyliner uses neither the Narita
> or the Sobu Line. FYI, Keisei trains use 1435mm
> gauge, while JR East trains use 1067mm.
>  
> > Is there any way to know ahead of time which
> > routes the trains will take?  
>
> All JR East trains out of Narita Airport (Narita
> Express, the Rapids) take you toward Tokyo, so
> they all use Narita, then the Sobu Lines as
> described by Hiroshi. You shouldn't hear any
> announcements on the routing.
>
> For Keisei trains, there are two possible
> routings. The faster Sky Access line as mentioned,
> and the Keisei Main Line, which is the original
> and older line. To prevent confusion, Keisei Line
> platforms within the airport are physically
> separated (with barriers) between the Sky Access
> Line trains vs. Main Line trains, and there should
> be announcements and signs to remind you which way
> you are going. Both Lines merge at Takasago, which
> is in the eastern part of Tokyo.
>
> So you can do a two route roundtrip within the
> Keisei system, if you desire. I've done this
> before.
>
> > If I wanted to ride the Kelyo Line, it looks
> like
> > I would have to ride to Soga and then
> transfer. 
> > Is there a direct train from Soga to Narita
> > Airport?  
>
> At Chiba, JR East's Sotobo Line connects to Soga,
> going SSE. Unfortunately, there is no connector to
> allow westbound Narita Line train to go south on
> the Sotobo Line from Chiba to Soga, so you have to
> transfer at Chiba (as mentioned by Hiroshi).
>
> Double unfortunately, eastbound Keiyo Line can't
> go north on the Sotobo Line and vice versa, so you
> have to make another transfer at Soga, if you want
> to head west toward Tokyo. So that's the long
> answer to your question on whether there's a
> direct train between Soga and Narita Airport
> (nope).
>
> In other words, you have to do a zigzag transfer
> via Chiba and Soga, if you are heading west from
> Narita and want to head west on the Keiyo Line
> toward Tokyo (and Disneyland, which is visible
> from the Keiyo Line near Maihama).
>
> I believe there have been charter trips that would
> do the zigzag, but they are not regularly
> scheduled.
>
> > Also, I will be traveling with my wife and
> teenage
> > daughter.  I assume paying day fares would
> still
> > be cheaper than buying a seven day Japan Rail
> > Pass.  Or would the Japan Rail Pass be the way
> to
> > go?    
>
> Go with the day fares, as you shouldn't have to
> spend anywhere close to the cost of any of the
> passes valid from Narita Airport (3 day Tokyo Area
> Pass, 5 day JR East Pass, 7 day JR Rail Pass,
> etc). The ticketing system will alert the
> attendant if you take too long to enter and exit
> the same station, so plan on exiting a station at
> least once somewhere along your trip. 



Date: 07/03/19 08:18
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

Thanks to everyone for the very informative responses.  It looks like I'll have quite a few routing options available that will yield new, non-duplicated mileage!

"No scene seen twice."    



Date: 07/03/19 11:20
Re: Questions About Rail Service From Narita Airport to Tokyo
Author: cchan006

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks to everyone for the very informative
> responses.  It looks like I'll have quite a few
> routing options available that will yield new,
> non-duplicated mileage!
>
> "No scene seen twice."

I forgot to mention some of the "major" stations within Tokyo: Tokyo, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, and Ueno. Tokyo residents tend to flock to Shinjuku and Ikebukuro for food and entertainment, so that's where I'd go if you want to eat like the locals. Shibuya (just south of Shinjuku) is also a destination.

Chiba is also considered a major station, so if you want to do a food court search there, you should do fine. I've only used Chiba Station for transfers, and have not explored that station yet, so this advice is based on research, not firsthand experience.

You can add Tokyo's subway systems in your routing options, if you want to make the trip even more elaborate. Keisei Line has through trains into Toei Asakusa Line. Joban Line (from Abiko toward Tokyo) has through trains into Tokyo Metro's Chiyoda Line. Sobu Line has through trains into Tokyo Metro's Tozai Line.

Making a transfer from Toei Asakusa Line to Tokyo Metro's Tozai Line at Nihonbashi Station is something I've done many times in the past, when I wanted to reach Tokyo Station on a budget without paying the limited express charges from Narita Airport. Tozai Line's Otemachi Station platform is a walking distance from Tokyo Station, with an underground connector, a "local knowledge" I used to chase a Yamanote Line train in my past report.



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