Children

Japan is perfectly safe for those traveling with children — it is decidedly family-oriented. Many museums, attractions, and some forms of transportation offer reduced prices for children 6 – 11 years old. Those under six are generally admitted free of charge. Hotels often offer babysitting services, but these can be expensive. Some larger department stores have playgrounds.

The proliferation of Western fast food chains will aid in feeding finicky eaters. We noted that the orange juice at McDonald’s was a terrific bargain. Most restaurants have plastic food displays available. This allows families with children to make determinations about the food before sitting down at a table.

Please note that all U.S. citizens are required to carry a valid passport for identification purposes.

Trains

For comfort and speed, you can’t beat the JR Narita Express, also known as N’EX) leaving from Narita for Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Yokohama. The ride costs approximately ¥2890; if you have a validated JR Rail Pass (validation is done the main lobby of Narita), there is no additional cost to ride N’EX. Seats must be reserved in advance.

There are also JR slower trains into the city, also taking you to Tokyo Station. While we love trains, travelers without a passing fluency in Japanese might find it more comfortable to utilize the bus option, saving the train for their return trip. If you’re the adventurous sort, it wouldn’t hurt to learn the names of the stations preceding your final stop because the crowded trains can get noisy, and you might not hear the station announcements.

If you’re staying in the Ueno area, the private Keisei line runs from Narita to Keisei-Ueno Station.

Once you’ve arrived at the station closest to your hotel, you can walk, take a taxi, or connect to other trains.

If you’re taking the train from another city to Tokyo, chances are you will end up at Tokyo Station. You can connect to other lines from here. If you haven’t already exchanged your voucher for a JR Rail Pass, you can do so at Tokyo Station. A Rail Pass makes traveling by train throughout Tokyo easy and convenient; we would caution that there are  private lines which are not part of the JR system.

Taxis

Taxis are the most expensive method for traveling around the city, especially from the airport to your hotel (approximately ¥20,000), and, because of heavy traffic, not necessarily the quickest. Taxis can also be small, which can cause problems for travelers with large amounts of luggage. The advantage of a taxi is that you will be taken directly to your hotel. After a long flight, this might be worth the large cash outlay.

Taxis from Haneda Airport run closer to ¥6,000.

Buses

There are two options for buses out of Narita. The Airport Limousine Bus (counter in the main lobby). Limousine Buses leave hourly and tend to make stops at all the major hotels. The price is approximately ¥2500 – 3500 (depending on destination). The buses make stops at all the major hotels; if yours is not one of the scheduled stops, a good option is to take the bus to the hotel closest to where you’re staying and then to take a cab the rest of the way.

The Airport Shuttle to the Tokyo City Air Terminal (TCAT) also has a counter in the main lobby of Narita. While this bus departs more often, it doesn’t stop at the major hotels. You will need to utilize other transportation from TCAT to your hotel.

If you choose to arrive via taxi to your hotel, you might consider the bus for your trip back. Your hotel’s concierge can assist in making travel arrangements.