After arriving at Narita Airport in Japan, my first order of business was figuring out how to get to Tokyo, which is ninety minutes away. Figuring out where to go and how to get there can be a little confusing at first, so I’m going to break it all down for you! Come along with me as I show you how to get into the city as I enjoy a stellar onigiri and Japanese hand roll on the Narita Express!
After I grabbed my suitcase, I met up with Tony, a friendly contact from the Narita Airport meet & greet service who was hired to meet me and exited the customs area and went out to Arrivals. There, you just follow the sign for trains, which will lead you to the Narita Express. This train is the quickest and cheapest way for arriving passengers to travel from the airport to Tokyo.
I took the escalator down from Arrivals, where you’ll find an open area with ticket vending machines and a ticket office. The machines can be complicated to use if you don’t speak Japanese, so I suggest going to the ticket office to speak with someone who can help you get the ticket you need.
After buying my ticket, which was roughly $27, I wanted to buy some onigiri, or rice balls with various fillings that are wrapped in seaweed, so Tony led me to the airport’s 7-Eleven. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven and FamilyMart are huge in Japan, and according to Tony, the 7-Eleven had a wider selection than the nearby FamilyMart.
At the 7-Eleven, I bought two onigiri—salmon and spicy cod roe—as well as a rolled sushi containing egg, cucumber, pickle, mushrooms, and lotus root; and a small Asahi beer. One thing I recommend when coming to a new country is immediately going to an ATM to take out some of your money. They have the best exchange rate; currency exchanges will rip you off. I try to pull out the money I’d need in my first week, which was roughly 30,000 Yen, or $271.
I said goodbye to Tony, continued through the ticket gate to the platform, and hopped in car 9. After finding a makeshift way to secure my luggage, I took my seat to eat. I was so hungry and couldn’t wait to have my first taste of Japanese food in Japan!
The cod roe onigiri tasted like a spicy tuna roll with a lot of rice. The only difference was that the rice didn’t have vinegar in it. The rice was sticky and dense and the seaweed added a nice crunch and held it all together.
The rolled sushi was like a big hand roll and had a little bit of heat to it. It was like next-level sushi and was a really delicious way to spend a dollar!
Finally, I went with the salmon onigiri, which was like smoked salmon mixed with a lot of sticky rice. It was some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, and it was from 7-Eleven!
Next, I went with the Asahi beer. You’re allowed to have open containers of beer on trains in Japan. It was nice and dry and not very strong, which I liked.
The journey to Tokyo takes between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on how far into the city your stop is. My stop, Shinjuku, is further in. A one-way ticket is $27 and a round trip ticket costs $36 and is valid for 14 days. The Japan Rail pass is also available for 7, 14, or 21 days and begins with your Narita Express trip. The Narita Express, or N’EX, has free WiFi, which is convenient if you don’t have a local service plan yet. The 90-minute ride was super comfortable!
After arriving at Shinjuku, I got my first impression of Japan. It looked super clean and organized, despite the huge number of people. Instead of catching an Uber to the Hyatt Regency like I originally planned, I decided to walk the 8 blocks and explore Tokyo a bit! There were so many illuminated signs that it felt like daytime even though it was dark out! From there, I made it to the skyscraper district and eventually, my hotel!
I was so excited to be in Japan for the first time! After arriving at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo, I checked into my room, which was huge! It had a king-size bed, a TV, a nice work station, remote-controlled blinds, and a beautiful, clean bathroom.
I can’t wait to show you more of this amazing country!
If you liked riding the Narita Express from Narita Airport to Tokyo with me, please give this video a thumbs up and leave me a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of my upcoming travel/food adventures!