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Narita International Airport is 70kms to the east of central Tokyo and is the principal arrival point for travellers arriving from overseas. Airlines fly here from cities throughout Asia, Europe and North America. Narita has three passenger terminals. Terminal III is a dedicated low-cost airline facility which opened in 2015 and houses a huge food court offering discount meals.
All three terminals have a good choice of outlets for food, shopping and duty-free as well as service facilities like banks, ATMs, post offices, car hire and mobile telephone rental. Getting from Narita to hotels in central Tokyo comes with several options. Taxi is the fastest but definitely not the cheapest. Skyliner trains to Ueno are quick and cheaper than taxis. Local buses and trains also serve Narita.
Tokyo’s second airport, Haneda, is in the district of Ota and about 15kms from the centre. It is a hub for airlines serving domestic airports in Japan but does have an international terminal. National carriers flying from global cities like Beijing, London, Paris, New York and Los Angles utilise this terminal.
Haneda has the full range of passenger conveniences that 21st century travellers now expect as standard. Duty-free outlets are located airside in the international terminal. There are also plenty of shops, eateries, ATMs and service amenities in addition to wireless internet and public-use internet enabled computers.
Haneda is well connected to Tokyo’s urban transport system. The international terminal has a station on the Keikyu Metro Line and also one on the Tokyo Monorail Line. The latter provides a pleasant means of reaching Hamamatsucho Station which is an interchange for JR Yamanote trains. Travelling between Narita and Haneda is easier and faster when using shuttle buses. These take just over one hour. The same journey by train takes twice as long.
Ibaraki Airport is 80kms from Tokyo and is served by budget carriers with flights from Seoul, Kobe and Shanghai. Shuttle buses are really the only transport option for arriving passengers as taxis would be way too expensive for this journey. Ariake is a ferry port adjoining Tokyo Bay’s Odaiba Island. Ferries from Kitakyushu and Hokkaido dock here.
Tokyo Station is the hub of Japan Railway services on the main Honshu Island. High-speed Shinkansen trains terminate here. Shinkansen services link Tokyo to cities including Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai and Fukushima. The station is centrally located between Ginza and the Imperial Palace complex. It is a stop for Marunouchi Metro trains.
Tokyo’s urban train network covers almost every location. In areas that it doesn’t reach, there are buses. The rail system is safe, but a little difficult to get around on as several different companies operate lines. The JR Yamanote Line runs in a circle around central Tokyo and links all the major transport hubs.
Most signs displayed at stations on the network are in Japanese and English script. Trains typical start running at 05:00 and continue until 01:00 the next morning. Taxis are fairly easy to find, but are really only an economical choice for families or groups of three or four travelling together.