Saturday, May 26, 2012

Narita Airport: Getting In and Getting Out!

I apparently haven't taken ANY photos of Narita Airport, in spite of flying through there about a bazillion times.  As no
 blog post is complete without images, I bring you the Official Narita Illustration, courtesy of

Narita is the airport that military spouses (myself included) love to hate.  It's inconveniently located an hour from Tokyo, and for many of us, the drive can take at least two hours.  Toss in Japanese expressways, crazy kanji road signs, the potential for hours' worth of traffic, a whiny kid or two, and it's enough to cause even the most seasoned traveler to stress!

Accessing Narita is tricky.  If you're brave enough (and trust your car enough) to drive, long-term parking can get expensive.  You can take a bus and risk the traffic...but then at least you're not driving.  You can take the Narita Express or the Skyliner- special high-speed trains with direct service to Tokyo's major stations- but these are expensive and you'll probably still have to take local trains to reach your final destination.  Don't even bother to ask about taxis. Their fares from Narita are fixed and range from $200-$350, just to get to Tokyo.  A lot of military wives just book a private shuttle* from the on-base tour office (hooray for no thinking required!), but base policy requires young children to be buckled into applicable child seats.  Who wants to drag a car seat around Hong Kong?

But perhaps you'd rather drag the familiar car seat onto a base shuttle than risk a kid bouncing all over the Narita Express? Or maybe you don't mind traffic, with the ease- and price- of the bus sounds better?  An informed decision can now be yours!  The routes, timetables, and prices for all options can be found (in English) at the Official Narita Access page.

Allow me to now direct your attention to my preferred way to burn through a few bags of money:

What better way to splurge?

To book a private shuttle from base, call your military installation's tour office to inquire about availability and pricing.  Make sure to inquire ahead of time, as shuttle services are popular and can be unavailable for last-minute bookings.


-The Tofu Fox

*Many bases also provide a free airport shuttle that operates under space-a rules.  Please contact them (MWR can probably point you in the right direction if you need a phone number) for specifics.  


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