questions & answers: general japan travel

travel from narita airport

Travel from Narita Airport

Hi

Just wishing to ask a quick question in regards to getting up to Sendai from the Tokyo (Narita) airport.

I have my JR rail pass for 21 days, and I will be using this from the 31st Dec till the 20th January.

But I still need to get up to Sendai from Narita airport on the 22nd December as I am staying with a friend.

Just wanting to know my options and costs for train travel and curious if there is a bus service that you can take from the Narita airport all the way through to Sendai? And or a train service?

I am looking also for ease of travel as my Japanese will be limited and it may be difficult buying two tickets etc to get up to Sendai.

I also arrive late afternoon (5.30pm) and it seems that buses for long distances need to be booked prior to 4pm on that day.

I don't mind the long trip on a bus, but if you could provide some idea of bus and train travel costs, and the locations to purchase tickets (either at narita airport and or Tokyo station) that would be appreciated.

Also if you don't mind, what is the cost of a ticket from narita aiport to Tokyo Station?

Thanks so much

Shaun

Shanky
Shanky

Hi Shaun,

Here are some answers for you:

Options to Sendai are:

  • Rail: ¥13,300 by JR from Narita (http://goo.gl/OL8Q8) - 3h 20m
  • Bus: According to the Narita airport website, there is a bus operated by Miyagi Kotsu to Sendai - but to be honest, this is not setup for non-japanese speakers. An alternative that can be booked in advance is: take the JR to Tokyo, a transfer to shinjuku and then Highway bus to Sendai. You can book this bus online and they have a night bus service also that will get you into Sendai the next day.

The cost of a ticket from Narita to Tokyo on the Narita Express is ¥2,940. You can look up more train times online here.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

Hi Mari

Thanks for your advice.

I think it seems to be a lot more easier and efficient time wise if I take the shinkansen.

I could alternatively get to Tokyo station from narita for around $40 aus and then take a bus from tokyo station for about $80 but it would be a long bus ride, over 6 hours.

I think I will go with the train to save the hassle.

As I am travelling the 22nd of Dec, am I able to purchase a ticket prior to travelling over to Japan as per the website so as to reserve a seat? Or do I need to purchase one at a counter at the airport? Just wishing to make sure that I can actually gain a seat that night as I am sure the trains become very busy.

Also, as I will be travelling with some luggage, just your standard 1 metre high box type of luggage, is there a compartment to store my luggage or will i need to keep this by my side. Would this then be a nuisance to other passengers?

Also is a reserved seat best or an unreserved seat best for a long journey (i.e. Tokyo to Sendai).

Thanks for your assistance Mari.

Shaun

Shanky
Shanky

Hi Shaun,

I think I'd take the train too - the bus option is cheaper, but about double the journey time of the train, and a little more complex.

As I am travelling the 22nd of Dec, am I able to purchase a ticket prior to travelling over to Japan as per the website so as to reserve a seat? Or do I need to purchase one at a counter at the airport? Just wishing to make sure that I can actually gain a seat that night as I am sure the trains become very busy.

Although it is possible to reserve a seat in advance at the JR-East shinkansen reservation page selecting the option for 'No JRP traveller', to use this service you must collect your reserved seat ticket at least by 9pm on the day before travel or it will be cancelled. I think this means the service is not suitable for you as you will arrive to Japan on your day of travel.

Although you won't be able to reserve a seat using the online service, I don't think you will have much trouble getting a seat on the day. The main December festival in Japan is New Years Eve/Day. Christmas is a relatively recent import, and doesn't imply the same family get together that it does outside Japan. That said, if your flight is a very late arrival, I recommend you call the english speaking JR-East infoline to see if they can help you further.

Also, as I will be travelling with some luggage, just your standard 1 metre high box type of luggage, is there a compartment to store my luggage or will i need to keep this by my side. Would this then be a nuisance to other passengers?

Large luggage can be left in an area behind the last seat in each carriage in the direction of travel and is totally acceptable. If the luggage is small enough there is also an overhead shelf running along each side of the carriage.

Also is a reserved seat best or an unreserved seat best for a long journey (i.e. Tokyo to Sendai).

I like travelling with a reserved seat if I'm travelling with friends as it guarantees that we sit together, especially at rush hour times. However if I'm travelling alone on a standard ticket I often ask how busy the train is at the JR ticket counter and base my decision off that. I've noticed that often the unreserved seating cars have less people than reserved cars, so they can often be a good slightly cheaper choice if the train is not busy.

Hope this helps!

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mari
Expert_button_2

This has been a great help.

Thankyou very much.

Shaun

Shanky
Shanky

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