Getting to Tokyo is easier than you might suspect. A flight
from LAX to NRT takes less time than a trip to Paris and if you happen to find a bargain on Singapore Airlines it's the only
way to fly (even in coach). Now you just have to find the bargain!
The following websites sell
consolidated tickets for flights worldwide. You should check them all when looking up a flight because you could find
the best bargain on one site to Tokyo and feel satisfied that you can always go back to that same amazing site for a low price
but the next time you go, another site will probably have the best price. A good price from LAX to NRT would be $800-$1,000
(after fees + taxes), and that's probably what you'll find. Anything under $700 is a ridiculous deal and you should
take it right away before it disappears into thin air. Anything over $1,100 is just average and you can probably find
better if you keep looking.
Narita Airport (NRT) is in a suburb of Tokyo called Chiba.
It takes about an hour to get into town from the airport. There are a couple of ways to get into Tokyo from Narita.
Keisei Narita Sky Access ¥2400 ($24) As of July 17, 2010
- The Keisei Narita Sky Access arrives every 20-40 minutes (see train schedule below) to take passengers to Nippori
Station traveling as fast as 160kmh (99mph) arriving in Tokyo in record breaking time of 36
minutes, from there you can transfer to the JR Yamanote line and connect to Tokyo Station or Shinjuku station. Tickets
can be purchased at the airport, the train station is located a floor below Terminal 1 or Terminal 2, just follow the signs.
The Narita Express arrives every 30 minutes to take passengers to Tokyo Station in 56 minutes,
some trains will continue on to Shinjuku to arrive 10 minutes later. Tickets can be purchased at the airport, the train
station is located a floor below Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 just follow the signs.
Note: If you're taking
a train, please check out "Luggage Delivery" under Practical Tips.
By Taxi ¥20,000 ($200) Taxi's are expensive in Tokyo. From Narita, a taxi ride costs around ¥20,000 ($200) and the ride can last 1-2 hours.
The starting rate is ¥710 ($7.10) and this will take you 2 km (about 1 1/4 mile). The meter then quickly mounts up. At night
time be prepared for steeper charges. Between 11pm and 5 am the rate goes up by 20 per cent.
By Limobus ¥3,000 ($30) Don't
let the name fool you, a limobus is just a bus. Anyway, buses arrive every 15-20 minutes to take passengers to Shinjuku
Station in an hour and a half with good traffic. Tickets can be purchased through reservations by phone only 011-81-3-3665-7232
(hours are 9a - 6pm Tokyo time = 5p - 2a PST).
Tokyo has an excellent public transportation system, clean and efficient trains arrive every 2 minutes
to whisk you to your intended destination. Most attractions have a train station just a few steps away, it's usually a
shorter walk from the train station to your destination than your typical good parking spot in L.A. Also train
stations are extremely convenient, most have kiosks, vending machines and even malls inside carrying anything you
might have forgotten at home.
Please note that trains in Tokyo will STOP at midnight and start back up again at 5am, there is no exception.
Here's a short video with some basic information about Tokyo Trains / Subways.
There are three major train companies that operate in Tokyo: Japan Railways East, Tokyo
Metro and Toei Subway. JREast operates trains around the city and far into the outskirts. Tokyo Metro &
Toei Subway operate an underground subway system in the inner city that covers a more detailed area. Together they
cover the majority of Tokyo but as a commuter you're charged more if you change lines. In order to eliminate the
guess work with exact transportation costs we recommend getting an all-day ticket. Your choice of ticket will
depend on where you want to travel the most.
Tokyo Free Kippu - ¥1580 ($15.80)
The Tokyo Free Kippu covers JR lines, Tokyo Metro lines and Toei Subway
lines within the parameters of the map below. You'll notice that it covers Nakano station (see accommodations)
and pretty much everywhere else you'd like to visit in Tokyo. This will not cover trips out to Yokohama, Kamakura or
Odawara Castle and it will not cover the monorail to Odaiba but $16 a day for unlimited trips around Tokyo is a
Kippu means "ticket". If you're at the station and want to request this ticket
you would say "Tokyo Free Kippu o kudasai" (as in "Tokyo Foo-ree Key-pooh oh koo-da-sigh") If you want more
tickets (for multiple days) you should order them at the same time. You can hold up your fingers for how many you
want and then remember to say "Arigato" (Thanks) :-)
Please note that this ticket won't be a bargain every day, there will be days when you might
just take a quick trip out and back and you've spent $16 for $10 worth of travel. In spite of that, the reason we chose
this ticket is the sheer convenience of it. It not only saves you the trouble of buying individual tickets, but your
fare won't double because you switched lines and you'll be able to show your pass to an attendant in an uncrowded aisle
and because he opens a gate for you, you'll never have one of those embarrassing moments where you get stuck in the turnstyle
(inconveniencing everyone behind you) because your pre-paid card doesn't have enough yen, or your ticket is invalid for some
reason or your luggage/purse/umbrella got stuck.
Tokunai Pass - ¥730 ($7.80)
The Tokunai Pass only covers JR lines within the parameters
of the map below. It covers Nakano station (see accommodations) and many other sites in Tokyo. That said,
it pretty much limits you to two train lines; the JR Chuo 中央 line
(literally middle line but we can call it the central line) that runs across the middle of Tokyo and the JR Yamanote
山手 line (literally towards the mountain but
we can call it the circle line) that runs in a big circle around the outside of Tokyo. While you can get to most
destinations within Tokyo using these two lines they're the busiest trains in Tokyo and are therefore usually crowded.
Additionally, if you do find that you'd like to go to Ginza, Tokyo Tower, Azabu Juuban or Roppongi you'll have to pay out
As with the Tokyo Free Kippu, this will not cover
trips out to Yokohama, Kamakura or Odawara Castle and it will not cover the monorail to Odaiba but $8 a day is a good price.
means "ticket". If you're at the station and want to request this ticket you would say "Tokunai Kippu o kudasai"
(as in "Toh-koo-nigh Key-pooh oh koo-da-sigh") If you want more tickets (for multiple days) you should
order them at the same time. You can hold up your fingers for how many you want and then remember to say "Arigato" (Thanks)
Suica Card is a pre-paid card for use across JR Trains, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines.
The card costs ¥500 ($5) and then can hold up to ¥20,000 ($200). This doesn't offer you any kind
of discount, just the convenience of not having to buy individual tickets. You'll still get charged extra
for switching from one line (e.g. JR) to another (e.g. Tokyo Metro). If you don't live in Tokyo, it might be difficult
to tell how much you're spending and refilling the card at automatic machines might be tricky if you don't know japanese.
N'EX + Suica - There is a discount package if you combine Narita Express with the Suica card it
costs ¥3500 ($35) for a Narita Express ride
+ a ¥1500 Suica card. So it might be worth
it since it's the price of your Narita Express ride ($29.40) + a Suica card ($5), then (for $0.60)
you get $15 on your Suica card (which can be used for purchases at stores in train stations as well as for the transportation).
This could be a good bargain for your first day in Tokyo, then maybe buy your Tokyo Free Kippu's for the rest of your stay.
You can find more information by clicking the link at the beginning of this paragraph.
Planning to Travel all over Japan?
Japan Rail Pass ¥28,300
Trips around Japan
If you're going to stay in Tokyo, but plan to take several trips out of the city, the Japan Rail Pass is a true bargain.
You can only buy it outside of Japan for use with your tourist visa while in Japan. To make this pass worth
its price we would recommend travelling to three or more of the following cities: Tokyo, Nikko, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and
Hiroshima. You'll save a ridiculous amount of money, your japanese friends would be jealous.
Note: On your first trip to Japan, it's probably best to stay in one city. The culture fluctuates wildly from one
region to another and unless you have a month or longer to travel you won't really get a chance to absorb the culture before
moving onto your next area. Japan has a unique way of keeping the outsiders out, and if you're always in a different
town then you're perpetually an outsider, you won't get to see as much and you probably won't appreciate it as much either.
Below is the map of area included in your Japan Rail Pass.
Please see the prices below, the conversion
rate is about 100 yen to a 1 dollar so ¥37,800YEN = $378.00
The "Green" pricing is for a reserved first class seat and "Ordinary" is for a non-reserved seat. Ordinary
is a perfectly nice seat for long distance travel (better than a coach seat on a typical american domestic flight).
The First Class travel isn't much more expensive but your only benefit is a slightly bigger reserved seat in a designated
car, it isn't the dramatic difference you'll find between a Coach and a First Class seat on a flight.
Trip outside Tokyo
you're going to stay in Tokyo, but plan to take a single trip out of the city (say to Kyoto or Okinawa) then you're
in luck. Japanese domestic airlines are now competing for your foreign dollar. You can travel round trip
anywhere in Japan for as low as ¥10,000 ($100).
Below are some links to help you:
*JR East Tickets - The 3-day flexible pass for ¥10,000
($100) is an amazing bargain if they still have it when you go. You can take two quick excursions out of Tokyo, say
to Nikko and Odawara Castle for less than the price of one of those trips.