Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting to/from the airport cheap - "Airport Limousine"

The "Airport Limousine" is the fancy name given to the busses that service both Haneda (羽田) and Narita(成田) Airports. They are pretty convenient in the sense that there are busses at worst every hour and they take people to hotels in popular areas of Tokyo like Shinjuku(新宿) as well as various train stations like Kichijouji(吉祥寺) which is what was the most important thing to me. Haneda is far away from Kichijouji - it takes about an hour or so on the normal subway/JR trains but it is like walking distance compared to Narita. Narita Express, which is supposed to be an "Express" train as its name suggests, takes about an hour and a half. The Express is unfortunately not available quite as frequently as the bus however, and it costs slightly more (about 200 yen more - 3200円 vs 3000円). In fact, in order to take the train on the way to the airport, I had to take it at 6 in the morning which was OK since I had an early flight but if I wanted to take it on the way back I would have had to wait for a few hours at the airport.
The bus trip from Narita to Kichijouji is non-stop and it takes about two hours. It is a nice bus and everything but still, it's a bus. The ride is nowhere as smooth as the Narita Express. When the alternative is wasting a few hours waiting or taking the slow train and wasting an hour as well as lugging around a huge suitcase I think the bus wins. For anyone staying at a hotel the bus is hard to beat too - it will drop you right in the front of the hotel.

Tickets are available from travel agencies (apparently) or more easily from the airport. They do pickups too but from some locations they require a reservation. They even have an English website with schedules an information at (come on, you can't beat a website with a section named "For your useful information" :)).

1 comment:

Betty said...

Wow, the price of the limo bus hasn't changed at all since I took it to Shinagawa hotel back 4 years ago! I also took it to Disney hotel last year but I didn't pay so didn't know the price. :P The people working the limo bus are so helpful and organized/efficient. I like watching the whole "ritual" of how the driver pulls the bus up, the lady with the clipboard bows deeply in greeting, the driver nods his head from inside the car, and the baggage guys rush to move the lugguage in/out. It's so nice and efficient that while they have 1 baggage guy assigned to each bus stop, the guys from the adjacent bus stops would rush together to help (if their bus isn't here) and then quickly disband back to their station.

Oh, and come on, the limo buses aren't uncomfortable. They are like high-end tour buses, pretty easy for me to sleep in, or may be it's because I'm short.:P