A Guide to Transferring Between Tokyo Haneda and Narita Airports

A Guide to Transferring Between Tokyo Haneda and Narita Airports

Whether you are about to visit Sapporo, Okinawa, or some other Japanese city other than Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya, and you are arriving from outside Asia, chances are you will have to transfer at one of the two major Tokyo airports – Haneda and Narita.

Depending on what your destination is or where you are arriving from, you might even need to transfer between the two airports.

This article looks at what options you have for traveling between Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita airports, and how much each of them costs and takes.

Before jumping into the details, though, I’ll mention that the most convenient way to get between Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports is by a frequent direct bus which costs 3,100 yen (about 30 dollars).

And, below is a table summarizing the three ways to get directly between the two airports:

Method Cost Time Frequency
Bus 3,100 yen 1 – 1.5 hours Approx. every 15 – 20 minutes
Train 1,800 yen 1.5 – 2 hours Approx. every 40 minutes
Taxi 30,000 yen 1 – 1.5 hours On demand

 

The Two Major Tokyo Airports: Haneda and Narita

Tokyo Haneda airport is located in Ota Ward of Tokyo, about 20 kilometers from Tokyo and Shibuya stations. While between 1978 when Narita was opened and 2010 when Haneda’s new international terminal was built it served largely as a domestic airport, nowadays there are flights out of Haneda to many international destinations all over the world as well.

Tokyo Narita airport, in contrast, is located about 70 kilometers from Tokyo station. And, in fact, it is located outside of Tokyo itself, in Chiba prefecture. Besides the international flights by carriers from all over the world and a limited domestic network of the Japanese full-fare carriers, the airport has also developed into a low-cost airline hub offering both domestic and international flights.

Tokyo Narita Airport

For you as someone transferring between the two airport, however, the main thing to know about is which terminal your flight will arrive in at the first airport and which terminal it will depart from at the other one.

While you should be able to get that information from your itinerary, here’s a quick overview of the two airport’s terminals.

Tokyo Haneda Airport Terminals

Haneda airport has the following three passenger terminals:

  • Terminal 1 (Domestic): Used by all domestic flights operated by the Japan Airlines group and Skymark Airlines. Also used for some Starflyer flights.
  • Terminal 2 (Domestic): Used by all domestic flights operated by the All Nippon Airways group, Air Do, and Solaseed Air. Also used for some Starflyer flights.
  • International Terminal: Used by all international flights.

In case you get off at the wrong terminal, there’s no need to worry as there are two shuttle buses – one connecting the two domestic terminals and another one connecting all three terminals. There is also a walkway connecting the two domestic terminals.

On a side note, within the next couple of years, there are plans to create an international section of Terminal 2 at which point the current International Terminal will become Terminal 3.

Tokyo Narita Airport Terminals

Narita airport has the following three passenger terminals:

  • Terminal 1: Used by all Star Alliance member airlines except Air India which uses Terminal 2, most Sky Team member airlines except China Airlines which uses Terminal 2, as well as by some other airlines including Uzbekistan Airlines and MIAT Mongolian Airlines.
  • Terminal 2: Used by all OneWord airlines, as well as the two airlines mentioned above, and some other airlines including AirAsia X, Scoot, Qatar Airways and Emirates among others.
  • Terminal 3: Used by low cost carriers including Jetstar, Vanilla Air, Spring Japan, and Jeju Air.

Tokyo Haneda Airport

All three of the terminals are used for both domestic and international flights, and they are interconnected with a free shuttle bus. It is also possible to walk between Terminals 2 and 3 in about five or so minutes.

 

Traveling Between Tokyo Haneda and Narita Airports

While there are basically unlimited number of ways to get between the two airports using a combination of buses, trains, and taxis, below are the three direct ways to do so.

#1: Direct Bus Between Haneda and Narita Airports

By far the easiest and most convenient way to transfer between Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports, just as mentioned in the beginning of this article, is using the direct bus service operated by Limousine Bus.

The comfortable buses operate around three to four times per hour during the day (check the timetable) and tickets cost 3,100 yen (about 30 dollars) for adults and 1,550 yen (about 15 dollars) for children. The drive takes anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half depending on traffic.

You can buy tickets for the bus inside both airport’s terminals, and you do not need an advance reservation. Besides the fact that you don’t have to transfer along the way, the advantage of taking the bus is the fact that you can catch it at (and disembark at) any of the airport terminals.

#2: Direct Train Between Haneda and Narita Airports

The second easiest and a cheaper way to get between the two Tokyo airports is by using a direct train connection operated by Keisei and Keikyu companies. Unlike the bus, the direct train operates roughly every 40 minutes, and it costs 1,800 yen one-way (about 18 dollars).

Depending on the exact train you get on, it takes anywhere between an hour and a half and two hours. As such, it’s a fair bit slower than the bus, but it still offers the convenience of a direct connection for almost half the price.

You can search for a the train schedules on Hyperdia. Make sure to check the number of transfers as there are also some itineraries where you have to change trains along the way.

#3: Taxi

The third way to get from Haneda airport to Narita airport or vice-versa without having to transfer is by taking a taxi. However, because of the high cost, and the relatively high convenience of the other two options, you will likely end up using this option only in an emergency (or if you need to be on a private call, and so on).

The taxi ride from Haneda to Narita airport costs around 30,000 yen (300 dollars), and just like the bus ride, can take anywhere between an hour and an hour and a half.

 

Time Needed to Transfer Between Haneda and Narita Airports

As you can see above, even if everything goes smooth, getting between Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports takes at least an hour. More realistically, however, accounting for any potential delays and congestions, you should calculate with at least two hours of transfer time between the two airports.

On top of that, you will need to account for the time it might take you to get off the aircraft of your inbound flight, clear immigration, and pick up your bags, as well as for time to check-in before your connecting flight. In total, I would account for at least three hours to do that.

With that, even though JAL’s minimum connecting time (MCT) between the two airports is 3.5 hours, I suggest you leave at least 5 hours between your flight’s arrival at one Tokyo airport and departure from another. Especially so if you plan to check a bag in.

 

Summary

To sum it all up, in case you are in a hurry and your budget allows it, I suggest taking the bus. If you want to save some money, and have some extra time on your hands, then taking the train is a perfectly comfortable way to get between the two airports as well. Especially so given that they are both at the end of the train line and so you will be able to almost certainly get a seat.

Method Cost Time Frequency
Bus 3,100 yen 1 – 1.5 hours Approx. every 15 – 20 minutes
Train 1,800 yen 1.5 – 2 hours Approx. every 40 minutes
Taxi 30,000 yen 1 – 1.5 hours On demand

Three tips before you get on the road...

For your convenience: Price comparison sites

When searching for flights and accommodation, use comparison sites that will summarize prices from a variety of sources including the airline sites and online travel agencies for you. I recommend HotelsCombined for comparing hotel prices and Momondo for comparing flight prices.

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If you generally fly in economy class and don’t have an airline status, I recommend considering a Priority Pass Prestige membership which will give you unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges at more than 500 airports all over the world.

For your peace of mind: Travel insurance

Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage - whether through your credit card or through insurance policy purchased separately. This will help save your trip when you get sick or things stolen on the road, in other words, when things go wrong. In case you didn't get your travel insurance yet, I recommend getting a free quote from World Nomads.

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