Before leaving for Tokyo I looked up information for how to get to Tokyo from the airport. Looking at the complex train and subway maps made me dizzy, “Oh no!”, I thought, "I’m going to be a lost meatball in this big bowl of colourful spaghetti for sure.”
After almost an hour of managing and separating all these spaghetti of train and subway line, my dizziness got better. I started by separating the spaghetti lines out one by one. Start at Narita International Airport, there are 5 colours of those spaghetti lines:
- JR Narita Express or N'EX (Red)
- JR Sobu Line (orange)
- Keisei Skyliner (dark blue)
- Keisei Limited Express (light blue) and
- Keisei/Keikyu Narita-Haneda Limited Express (purple).
Each one has different destinations and fares.
My destination was Comfort Tama Plaza, Tama-Plaza Station. From Narita I needed to go to Shibuya station and change train there. It turned out the most convenient choice for me was JR Narita Express or N'EX (Red).
The JR Narita Express or N'EX (Red) has two destinations. One is Yokohama Station and the other is Omiya Station. Don’t forget to check before you drag your suitcase onto the train, because when the trains get to Tokyo Station, it will split and go separate ways. If your destination is Shibuya, you will need to take the train no. 7-10.
When you arrive at Narita Airport and clear immigration, just look for the JR East Travel Service Center, which will be easy to find whether at both terminals. At JR East Travel Service Center you can get all kind of information, buy train tickets and the Suica card.
As of June 2014, JR are running a N'EX Direct Ticket campaign: a one way ticket from Narita Airport to Tokyo and the suburbs will cost you 1,500 yen, down from the normal rate of 3,020 yen. Don’t forget to check their website for the latest campaigns or special offers. And do keep in mind that the special rate, 1,500 yen, is only for inbound from Narita. When you return home you will have to pay a normal rate. And one more thing, the special rate ticket is only for normal car, so don’t get on the Green Car which is first class.
After you purchase your ticket, the platform is not hard to find. On the train there will be a big monitors telling all kind of information such as next station, destination, and weather forecast, in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. They also have food and beverage for sale and some nice clean bathrooms. I had a break before preparing to meet up with the chaos of Shibuya Station.
From Narita to Tokyo Station, it takes approximately 55 minutes and Shibuya Station approximately 80 minutes.
Whatever the colour of the spaghetti lines you choose, have fun on your trip.