Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (previously known as New Tokyo International Airport) is one of the main gateways through which visitors pass into Japan. Though it is one of two airports serving the Greater Tokyo Area (the other being Haneda Airport), it handles most of the international arrivals and is considered the second-busiest passenger airport in the country (as of October 2014) with more than 30 million passengers annually. The home base of national carrier Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and other Japanese airlines, Narita Airport is located about 60 kilometres outside of Tokyo and sports 2 terminal buildings.
With a distance of 60 kilometres between airport and city, taking a taxi into Tokyo is not advisable unless you have a bottomless budget. But fret not - despite the intimidating distance, Narita Airport is well-connected with the city of Tokyo and there’s no reason your commute shouldn’t be comfortable and affordable with the many trains and buses available from the airport.
The most popular option, the JR Narita Express train, takes you from Narita Airport direct to Tokyo Station (the main rail terminal and busiest train station in Tokyo) in only an hour, at around 3000 yen. For tourists with the Japan Rail Pass, rejoice in the knowledge that your Narita Express ride is covered. But those on a shoestring budget may want to consider the JR Sobu Line as an alternative as it is available at a cheaper rate, though it takes slightly longer to reach Tokyo (around 85 minutes). If, for some reason, you have a thing against trains, rest assured that numerous buses also ply this 60-kilometre route between airport and city. Limousine and shuttle bus journeys take about an hour and a half, at relatively affordable rates as well.
As in any country, the capital city is usually not one to miss and Japan is no exception. This bustling and quirky little city boasts clean, well-organized streets and perhaps the most polite population in the world. If in Tokyo, don’t miss a visit to Tsukiji central wholesale market, the largest fish market in the world and one of the busiest. Head over there in the wee hours of the morning (around 5am or so) if you’re jet lagged for an amazing sight to behold - fishing boats coming in with the day’s catch, fresh from the waters around Japan, as well as imported produce from all around the world arriving in all types of transportation. Witness huge amounts of fish and eggs being handled and filleted, watch the live tuna auctions (which are a lot more exciting than they sound) and have a sushi breakfast made with fresh fish on the spot.
Other must-sees in Tokyo include the Meiji Shrine - an idyllic and historically significant Shinto shrine dedicated to Japan’s 19th century emperor -, the beautiful Shinjuku Gardens (known as Shinjuku Gyeon in Japanese), the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s busiest shopping district Shibuya, and of course the happening Roppongi district, known for its hopping nightclubs.
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