Narita Airport to Tokyo – How would you start YOUR Amazing Race?

I was all excited to see that the first leg of my favorite reality TV show, the Amazing Race on CBS, was set in Japan! The theme of this season’s competition is that all of the pairs that are racing are either dating or blind-dating.

The first 90 minute episode, which just concluded, saw teams fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo’s Narita Airport. Interestingly they used Taiwan as a connecting city. I have my reasons for why they planned this to be the case, but this article is not about that!

If you landed in Tokyo’s Narita airport, how would YOU start your Amazing Race in the land of the rising sun?

I have written an article on my blog that explains options for traveling from airports in Japan, which I hope you will look at. But in the meantime, here’s a brief summary of what was featured on The Amazing Race:

Teams pretty much went in one of three ways: Taxi, Skyliner (train), or Narita Express (train). At first I thought to myself, TAXI?! If you are starting your Amazing Race on a budget, the Taxi is the LAST thing that you want to take from Narita. Considering Narita’s large distance away from Tokyo, you would be better off saving money by taking public transport into Tokyo, using the train or bus, then if needed take a Taxi to your final destination. Taxis in Japan are pricey already, but they will be far less expensive to use when you get into the city compared to picking one up at the airport. In addition, Taxis MAY be subject to delays when traveling on the highway… I forgot how each team fared on the way from the airport, so if you want to check, just go to CBS and look at Season 26, Episode 1 of the Amazing Race on demand 🙂

In a nutshell, here is a speed and price comparison for the main travel methods going into Tokyo Station, one of the main transit hubs in the city. By the way… you can get more of Japan by tuning in to the Amazing Race on Friday (February 27) when the teams will visit Nagano!

JR Narita Express, One Hour, 3,020 yen each way

Keisei Skyliner, One Hour (Change at Nippori Station), 2,470 yen for Skyliner + 160 yen JR Yamanote Line = 2,630 yen

Local JR Commuter Train, 90 minutes, 1,320 yen each way

Local Keisei Commuter Train, 90-120 minutes depending on route, ~1,200-1,500 yen depending on route

Airport Limousine Bus, 1 hour 45 minutes depending on traffic, 3,100 yen each way

Discount Bus to Tokyo Station (Keisei/Be-Transse/JR Bus), 70 minutes depending on traffic, 1,000 yen each way

Flat-fare taxi from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station 19,000 yen

Hailed taxi from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station ~20,000-30,000 yen and up depending on the meter and traffic conditions

4 thoughts on “Narita Airport to Tokyo – How would you start YOUR Amazing Race?

  1. Julina

    Hi, In regards to the N’ex roundtrip, does it mean 2 way ticket (eg Narita – Tokyo & Tokyo to Narita). I am a bit confused coz my hotel is located near Maihama and if I travel via N’ex, I will need to to transfer to JR Keiyo to reach my destination. Would you mind suggesting the best option to get to my destination. Greatly appreciate help in advance.

    1. Hello Julina! Thank you for reading my blog 🙂
      Yes if you use the N’Ex round trip you will have to change to the Keiyo Line at Tokyo Station.
      There is a long walk to the Keiyo at Tokyo though, so if you want to avoid it there is another option which is cheaper and takes a little more time but trains are slightly less frequent:
      Keisei Sky Access Limited Express (not Skyliner) from Narita Airport to Higashi-Matsudo Station, 940 yen
      JR Musashino Line from Higashi-Matsudo to Maihama, 310 yen
      You just have to make sure the Musashino Train runs into Tokyo.. Many of those trains share lines with the Keiyo Line.
      Total cost is 1,250 yen and you can either purchase 2 separate tickets or just get a SUICA or PASMO to cover the whole trip.

  2. eunjoo

    Hi, I have a question about subway fares. We will be in Japan for 7 nights, 4 nights in Tokyo and 3 nights in Kyoto. I did purchase JR Pass for 7 days, planning to use them starting the 2nd day until we leave from Narita on the 8th day. Therefore, when we arrive, we are planning to use Skyliner to get to Nippori then to Suidobashi where the hotel is located. Question is, I noticed that there is a discount combination Skyliner/subway ticket for 3500 yen (for 3 day use). So basically 1300 yen for all subway fares for 3 days, considering Skyliner costs 2200 yen on-line. So is it worthwhile to buy this combo pass? And do you know if there is any such discount subway ticket without Skyliner portion included? We will also have JR pass, so we can be on JR trains for free around Tokyo, I think…
    Thank you for your help and you have a great blog!

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading and sorry for the delay!
      The subway combo ticket or day ticket only makes sense if you know that you are going to take a lot of subway trips in a certain amount of time. It’s up to you… If you figure, for example, that you might take at least 12 trips on the subway in 3 days according to your figures, then it would probably be justified.
      In case you are interested a one day open ticket for Tokyo Metro only is 600 yen, and for both the Metro and TOEI subway it is 1000 yen.
      As you said, when your JR Pass starts you will be able to freely use all JR commuter trains in Tokyo such as the Yamanote line or the Sobu line that runs to/from Suidobashi.
      Hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions. I’ll be away for a few days so if I can’t reply while I’m away I’ll be sure to do so upon my return.

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