In Japan, all roads, rails, shipping lanes and planes lead to Tokyo.
Tokyo has two large airports: Narita for international flights, and Haneda for (mostly) domestic flights.
Tokyo's main international gateway is Narita Airport (成田空港), located in the town of Narita nearly 70 kilometers northeast of Tokyo and covered in a separate article. A brief summary of options for getting there and away:
Haneda Airport (羽田空港 ), officially known as Tokyo International Airport, in Ota is the busiest airport in all Asia despite a majority of flights being domestic.
Domestic Terminal 1 houses the JAL group including Skymark and Skynet, while Domestic Terminal 2 is home to ANA and affiliate Air Do. In 2010, Haneda opened a brand new International Terminal Building along with a new runway. International flights operate into Haneda from 18 cities, with a number of these flights landing and departing during the late evening hours. Free shuttle buses run every 6 minutes between 05:00 and 24:00, connecting the International terminal with both Domestic terminals.
The easiest and most scenic way from Haneda to the city is the Tokyo Monorail running to Hamamatsucho for ¥470, from where you can connect to almost anywhere in Tokyo on the JR Yamanote line. The monorail has a station at each of Haneda's three terminals. From the International Terminal, trains reach Hamamatsucho in as little as 14 minutes on the nonstop services; the domestic terminals are about 5 minutes farther down the line. JR East maintains a Travel Service Center for foreigners in the International Terminal (open daily 11:00-18:30) where vouchers can be exchanged for the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Rail Pass. The Tokyo Monorail is fully covered with either pass.
JR East sells a special Suica fare package, called "Suica & Monorail", exclusively to foreign visitors. The cost includes a discounted fare on the Tokyo Monorail (one-way or round-trip), ¥1500 to use on rail travel in Tokyo or on purchases at locations that accept the Suica card, and a ¥500 deposit. The "Suica & Monorail" ticket is sold only from the JR East Service Center at the international terminal, and can be purchased using cash or credit card. It can also be recharged with additional funds, but only by paying cash. The one-way ticket is ¥2400, and the round-trip ticket costs ¥2700; the return trip to Haneda must be taken within 10 days.
The other alternative is the private Keikyu (京急) line, which has two train stations at Haneda: one for the International Terminal and one serving both Domestic terminals. Keikyu trains run to Shinagawa (15 min, ¥400) and Yokohama (30-35min via Airport Express [エアポート急行], ¥440-470). Some Keikyu trains from Haneda continue on to the Toei Asakusa Line, providing one-seat rides to Nihonbashi (30-35 min, ¥550-590) and Asakusa (40-45min, ¥600-640).
JR Passes are not valid on Keikyu Trains. If your final destination is somewhere along the Tokaido Shinkansen (i.e. Odawara, Atami, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka) then it will be easier to take the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa to pick up the shinkansen, even if you have a Japan Rail Pass. Using the Tokyo Monorail will require you to take an additional train, the Yamanote Line, to either Tokyo station or Shinagawa.
Limousine Buses connect Haneda Airport with Narita Airport (90 minutes, ¥3,000). Most Airport Rapid Express [エアポート快特] trains on the Keikyu Line also run all the way to Narita Airport's terminals; these services are much cheaper than the bus (105 minutes, ¥1,740), but buses operate more frequently. Note that the "Airport Terminal 2" station that pops up in some route search engines refers to terminal 2 at Narita Airport, not Haneda!
Normal metered taxis to central Tokyo will cost anywhere from ¥4,000 to ¥10,000, plus a 20% surcharge between 22:00 and 05:00. An alternative is Anzen Taxi's fixed fare service for ¥6,000 (¥8,000 at night) to most of central Tokyo, including Shinjuku and Shibuya.
If you arrive on a late flight or need to catch an early flight, beware that there are no trains between 23:59 and 05:00 on either the monorail or the Keikyu line. Some limousine buses do operate after midnight, but such trips incur an additional "night surcharge".
Ibaraki Airport (茨城空港 ) in Omitama, Ibaraki, some 85 km north of Tokyo, is an upstart aimed squarely at low-cost carriers. Skymark currently operates domestic flights to Sapporo, Kobe and Okinawa, and Spring Airlines operates daily service to Shanghai.
The best way to travel between Ibaraki Airport and Tokyo is by bus service, operated by Kantetsu Bus several times a day. The trip takes about 2 1/2 hours and costs ¥500 for air passengers and ¥1000 for non-air passengers. Reservations are required, and free English reservations are available online. The fare is payable when boarding the bus.
Even if you intend to use a Japan Rail Pass, there are no exchange offices in the immediate vicinity. It will be best to take the bus to Tokyo Station and visit the exchange office there.
Chōfu Airfield (調布飛行場 Chōfu hikōjō) serves only some turboprop flights to the Izu Islands south of Tokyo. The nearest railway station is Nishi-Chōfu on the Keiō Line, a 15-minute walk away. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Chofu or Mitaka stations.
Tokyo is the nerve centre of railways in Japan, highspeed Shinkansen services arrives at Tokyo Station (東京駅 Tōkyō-eki) which is located in the Chiyoda ward. For all trains on the northern route, you can get off at Ueno, while trains on the western route calls at Shinagawa. Most non-Shinkansen services usually stops at Shibuya and Shinjuku stations as well. Ueno and Ikebukuro stations connect you to the northern suburbs and neighboring prefectures.
On the western route there are departures every 10–15 minutes from Kyoto and Osaka with two types of shinkansen trains, Nozomi is the fastest cutting the journey time down to 2:20 hours while the slightly slower Hikari trains adds an extra twenty minutes.
Although Japan is dominated by fast shinkansen trains there are still a few sleeper trains left. Sunrise Izumo (サンライズ出雲) runs daily to Tokyo from Izumo while Sunrise Seto (サンライズ瀬戸) connects with Takamatsu, the largest city on the Shikoku island. From nearby Ueno station, the luxurious Cassiopeia (カシオペア) overnight train offers an direct route from the northern city of Sapporo three times a week. Fares starts at ¥27,000 with a journey time of 16½ hours. For those on a smaller budget, the Hokutosei (北斗星) leavs daily from Ueno and has a more reasonable price of just over ¥9,000.
While you can drive into the city, it's really not recommended as the city can be congested, signs may be confusing and parking fees are astronomical.
Hitchhiking into Tokyo is pretty easy, but hitchhiking out is considerably more difficult. It's definitely possible for determined cheapskates though, see Hitchhiking in Japan for a detailed list of tested escape routes from the city.
Highway bus services link Tokyo to other cities, resort areas and the surrounding prefectures. There are JR and private bus companies. Bus service may be cheaper, but the train is probably more convenient. If you have a JR pass, then you should generally stick with the trains.
Long-distance buses use a number of terminals scattered throughout the city, but the main JR depot is at Tokyo Station's Yaesu-minamiguchi (八重洲南口) exit, while Keio and some other private companies use the Shinjuku Highway Bus Terminal (新宿高速バスターミナル), opposite Yodobashi Camera near the West Exit. JR Bus also uses the Shinjuku Station JR Highway Bus Terminal (新宿駅JR高速バスターミナル), which is actually located closer to Yoyogi station on the Yamanote Line than it is to Shinjuku station.
One of the great ports of the world, Tokyo also has domestic ferry services to other points in Japan. However, none of the regular international ferries to Japan call at Tokyo.
The main long-distance ferry terminal is Ariake Ferry Terminal, located on an artificial island adjacent to Odaiba in Tokyo Bay. The nearest station is Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon on the Yurikamome line, but it's still a bit of a hike. You can also take a direct bus from Shin-Kiba station on the Metro Yurakucho line. The main services from this terminal are:
Ferries to the Izu and Ogasawara Islands leave from Takeshiba Terminal (竹芝客船ターミナル), adjacent to Takeshiba station on the Yurikamome line. Cruise liners tend to use the Harumi Terminal (晴海客船ターミナル), best accessible on bus 都05 (To-05) from Tokyo station Marunouchi South Exit or 東12(Tou-12) from Tokyo station Yaesu exit. International ferries and cargo ferries that also take passengers can leave from other terminals too, enquire with your shipping company.
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