“How do I get out of the airport?” It sounds like a stupid question but it is not. When thinking about how to start this series this question seemed to be the most logical one to answer since it is one of the first ones that gets asked.
The international airports in Japan are in Tokyo (Narita and Haneda Airports), Osaka (Kansai Airport), Nagoya (Chubu CentAir Airport) and Fukuoka (Fukuoka Airport). The most likely port of entry for most will be Narita International Airport.
Regardless of where you actually land, the way you get out is going to be generally the same across the board. Your choices will usually boil down to:
- Getting a ride
- Catch a cab
- Take the train
- Take the bus
Get a ride
If you know someone in Japan who can spot you a ride that’s great. You probably only owe them gas money or dinner. A rather minimal price to pay to skip the inconvenience of hauling luggage on public transportation or the steep costs of taking a taxi.
The catch here is that you have to know someone in Japan who is willing to pick you up.
Catch a cab
Taxis are the other hassle free method of getting out of the airport to your intended destination. As previously mentioned, this is not exactly cheap. But if you have no other choice (or a shit ton of luggage) you might have to just suck up the expense.
To find a cab simply go to the the taxi stand outside of the terminal your flight has landed at. Please refer to the links below for more information about the airport you may be landing at.
- Narita International Airport – http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/access/taxi/
- Haneda International Airport – http://www.haneda-airport.jp/inter/en/access/taxi.html
- Kansai International Airport – http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access/taxi/
- Chubu CentAir International Airport – http://www.centrair.jp/en/to_and_from/access/taxi.html
- Fukuoka International Airport – http://www.fuk-ab.co.jp/english/sp/taxi.html
If you don’t speak any Japanese give the driver the address of your destination if you have it written on a piece of paper or have a business card or show the driver your destination on an app like Google Maps. (if you are able to use data on your phone)
Should you have the linguistic skills to do so, tell the driver your destination as you normally would in your home country.
For more information on taking a taxi here a few places that go into greater detail:
Take the train
This is probably the most common method you will use to get out of the airport. While it may not be the most convenient in regards to carrying luggage around, you will find it to be the more cost effective form of transportation into the city. For locations of the train platforms and where you can buy train tickets in the various international airports please refer to the links below.
- Narita International Airport – http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/access/train/
- Haneda International Airport – http://www.haneda-airport.jp/inter/en/access/train.html
- Kansai International Airport – http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access/train/index.html
- Chubu CentAir International Airport – http://www.centrair.jp/en/to_and_from/access/train.html
- Fukuoka International Airport – http://www.fuk-ab.co.jp/english/sp/subway.html
I have only ever flown into Narita International Airport. The flights I have taken from either Calgary, Vancouver or Los Angeles end up landing there so I can only speak of my experiences in that particular airport.
My only piece of useful advice is if you choose to take the Keisei line out of Terminal 1 or 2. Make sure you buy a ticket for the Skyliner and not the main line. If you take the main line you are in for a long ride into Tokyo rather than the 40ish minute one on the Skyliner. Don’t make the same mistake I did with that.
For information on how to use your Japan Rail Pass to get out of the airport go here – https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/common-questions/using-japan-rail-pass-from-airport
There will be further discusson on taking the train as this series of articles continues. For the purposes of this particular subject, what is said above should be sufficient enough to start with.
Take The Bus
Taking the bus will be a similar experience to taking a cab but without as much pain to your wallet. It is a great alternative to taking the train if you fear that you won’t survive carrying your bags through busy train stations.
To purchase tickets for the airport bus locate the ticket booth and/or vending machines nearest to the terminal you have landed at.
- Narita International Airport – http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/access/bus/
- Haneda International Airport – http://www.haneda-airport.jp/inter/en/access/bus.html
- Kansai International Airport – http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access/bus/index.html
- Chubu CentAir International Airport – http://www.centrair.jp/en/to_and_from/access/bus.html
- Fukuoka International Airport – http://www.nishitetsu.jp/en/access/
Once you have purchased a ticket go to the appropriate bus terminal/gate (most likely written on your ticket or verbally told to you by the ticket agent) and hand it to the staff waiting there. They will take your ticket, tag your luggage and give you a claim slip for them to retrieve your bags when you disembark at your stop.
Then you board the bus and relax until you reach your stop.
The things to be aware of when you are taking the bus are that the trip may take longer than expected if your bus is one that makes many stops to pick up/drop people off. The second thing is unless your hotel or Air BNB is exactly where the bus stops there is a high chance that you will have to walk to get there once you get off the bus.
So it is a good idea that before you purchase a ticket that you take some time to look up where your accommodations are in relation to where the bus stops to save yourself some unnecessary hiking.