Narita

Narita (成田市) is a city in Chiba prefecture, Japan, some 70 kilometers to the northeast of Tokyo.

Omote-sandō, leading to Narita Shinsho-ji

Understand

The vast majority of Narita's visitors come there for one reason only: Narita Airport, Tokyo's international gateway. But there are a few attractions in the vicinity if you have a short layover and don't want to waste 2-3 hours of it on the long hike to Tokyo. Firstly, Narita town itself is very charming with lots of quaint winding old streets lined with old wooden shops. The pace of life here is dramatically different to that of nearby Tokyo and is very relaxed. Naritasan is one of the most-visited temples in Japan. Its major annual festivals, with parades and traditional performances, give you a glimpse into a historical Japan. The city is a major congregation point for airline staff too so you can take it that most of the foreigners in town are Air Crew. This means there's a bit more to Narita's nightlife than may seem at first in this sleepy town.

Get in

By plane

The main airport for Narita is, of course, Narita Airport. The easiest way into Narita city from the airport is to take the Keisei Line service which leaves every 20 minutes. The fare is ¥250 and the ride takes about ten minutes. Local buses are available for use from the train station. Do not take train services from the airport labeled "Access route", as they do not go to Narita City.

A direct taxi ride from the airport to Narita city costs approximately ¥3500; it will be cheaper if you go into town by train, and then take a taxi from there.

Local buses also run directly from the airport to some of the city's main attractions.

Main article: Tokyo Narita Airport

By train

The easiest way to travel between Tokyo and Narita City is via the private Keisei Line. Commuter trains depart from Keisei Ueno and Nippori stations every 20 minutes or so during most of the day, reaching Keisei Narita station in about 60 minutes at a cost of ¥810. Note that trains designated as Sky Access or Access Route are meant to more directly serve Narita Airport, and should not be used to go to Narita City.

A reserved-seat train, the City Liner, makes one round-trip per day between Ueno and Keisei Narita. Morning Liner and Evening Liner trains operate in peak direction during the morning and evening, respectively. All of these reserved-seat trains require an extra surcharge of ¥920 and ¥400 respectively. Morning Liner and Evening Liner tickets can only be purchased on the same day of travel at specific vending machines.

If you are travelling from Tokyo to Narita City via the JR Line, the hourly Airport Narita commuter train will take you from Tokyo Station to JR Narita station via the Sobu Line in 75 minutes at a cost of ¥1110. An alternate route is to take the Joban Line rapid service from Ueno via Abiko. Either trip is free with a Japan Rail Pass.

Narita is also served by peak-hour Narita Express trains that travel between Narita Airport and Tokyo, with four services stopping at Narita in the morning on the way to Tokyo, and four trains stopping in the evening coming from Tokyo. If you wish to travel from Narita to Tokyo in the morning, the Narita Express is a convenient option, not to mention it is also free with a Japan Rail Pass (but you will need to make a seat reservation in advance). Some of these trains stop at Shinagawa - a convenient transfer point for the Shinkansen to Nagoya, Kyoto and points further west - while others run to Shinjuku and Yokohama.

The peak-only Ayame also operates between Tokyo Station and Narita on the JR line, with all non-reserved seating.

Get around

Once you have arrived in the center of town, local buses are available for use. Some destinations, on the other hand (like the temple) are easily reached by walking.

Buses operated by Narita Kuko Kotsu are mainly useful for accessing the Aviation Museum and industrial areas around the airport. Fares for this line range from ¥150 to ¥420 depending on distance.

Take your passport with you for re-entry to the airport.

See

Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple

Buy

If you are going into Narita, make sure to get some Japanese yen (¥) as most places will not take foreign currency. The 7-Eleven outside of the west gate of JR Narita station takes foreign cards 24 hours a day (except Mastercard, Maestro and Cirrus), and there is also a post office with ATM a few blocks down the street from the am/pm store. For those with UnionPay or Discover cards, the Mitsubishi-UFJ ATMs located on the second floor of terminal 2 or the departure area of terminal 1 of the airport will probably be more convenient (please note that you MUST push the "English" button to start; the machine will NOT recognize any non-Japanese cards in Japanese language mode). Also allow a bit of time for exchanging back leftover currency on departure as this is not something you can do at an ATM! There IS a Mizuho Bank dedicated cash exchange machine in the airport, however, it only exchanges in "money packs" and rates are unfavorable.

Besides the AEON mall, there are souvenir stores on the road leading to the temple, as well as a reasonably interesting "100 yen" store -- which actually sells items for ¥108 including consumption tax -- along the way.

Eat

Fishing on tarmac

Narita has no coastline, but officially it's still Japan's eighth-busiest fish port due to the vast quantities of frozen tuna and other premium sushi fish imported by air.

Many shops on the main street sell unagi (うなぎ) broiled eel in a sweet sauce. It can be expensive for a standard plate (unaju (うな重), layered on rice, is ¥1500) but it is quite tasty. Look for the guys cleaning and chopping the eels right by the street-side.

Another great option is takoyaki (たこ焼き), or fried octopus balls. These are popular on the go treats, going for ¥360 for ten small takoyaki. Order zenbu (全部) to get all the toppings. There is a stand right by the Keisei line station main exit (left as you are leaving). Look for the little cartoon octopus pulling a cart of fried balls.

Don't forget to get a hot and sweet dorayaki (どら焼き), or sweet red bean pancake from a little shop across the main street.

Drink

Sleep

Narita has a large number of hotels in the vicinity and they are often cheaper than hotels in central Tokyo thus it may be worthwhile staying out at the airport on your first/last night. If you want to get a cheap rate, however, do book in advance as rates and availability for walk up customers are highly variable.

Budget

Mid-range

Go next

If you have more than 8 hours to spare, you should seriously consider making the effort to visit Tokyo itself, although with limited time it really is best if you plan where you will go in advance of arriving at the airport.

Routes through Narita

Keisei Ueno Tsudanuma ←Sakura  W  E  END
Higashi Matsudo Kamagaya  W  E  END
END  W  E  Shibayama-Chiyoda
Tokyo Chiba  W  E  Sawara-katori Itako
Tsukuba  N  S  END


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 27, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.