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Driving to Narita Airport

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: Driving to Narita Airport
By Pamela Paterson on Wednesday, January 12, 2000 - 8:13 pm:

My parents will be arriving at Narita in February and we are trying to decide the best way to get them to our home. We do have a car, but we are both neophyte drivers, and have never been on the expressway before. We are thinking of driving, but wonder, is it worth it?? What are the toll charges? Where do you park? Going to the airport and picking them up on TCAT or a bus will be very expensive, and since we do have the car, we thought that might be easier, but if not, I would appreciate hearing from you. Also any tips or directions from Minato-ku area (higashi-Azabu) would be most appreciated.

By Cornelia on Monday, January 31, 2000 - 3:48 am:

I read a long article with instructions for driving to Narita in one of last year's issues of _Stars and Stripes_ . I realize that it is too late for the Patersons but if I find it, I'll try to get permission to post it for future would-be drivers to Narita Airport.

By M&J on Tuesday, February 1, 2000 - 1:13 am:

Getting to & from Narita by car is quite easy. It is well signposted (big signs with Narita & a plane). Traffic generally moves at a good pace (you can stick to the left lane to take it slow) depending on the time of day & week. If outbound in the morning allow 60-90 minutes & you should have plenty of time. Allow more time if outbound in the evening. Tolls cost Y700 for the Shuto & about Y1500 (can't remember exactly) for the next expressway (higashi kanto?). From Higashi Azabu get on the expressway that takes you to & over the Rainbow bridge (well signposted) - I can't remember the nearest on-ramp to your area but there are plenty - have a look at one of the bilingual street maps.

I always drive to & from Narita when travelling with the family. It is cheaper and easier than the bus or train for 5 of us, even after including the parking at one of the discount parking places near the airport. We have used Z1 Parking at least 3 times - they offer a discount rate for Amex card members and will wash & clean your car whilst you are away. They will also drive you to the terminal in your car & drop it back to you at the terminal on your arrival back in the country. Better than having to load the family & luggage in a small shuttle bus that some of the other parking companies offer.
Look at the last page of your local Amex bill to see how to get a fax back listing of the parking places available or look them up on the Narita airport home page. I think most only speak Japanese & a booking is required.

If only picking up someone at the airport - there are large parking garages available for short term parking - connected to the terminal 2 buildings. Costs for an hour or 2 is about Y1000.
Terminal 1 has open air parking.

Look at the narita airport home page for further details

By Scott Hancock on Tuesday, February 6, 2001 - 1:53 am:

My .02 on driving to/from Narita for neophyte drivers...

If you really haven't been on the expressway before, I would allow 2x the normal time of 70-90 minutes. Especially on the way there, if you miss one manoeuver, it can cost 30 minutes or more to get straightened out. You wouldn't want to leave your parents wondering at Narita. (Make sure they have your mobile phone number and are clear that they can easily ask at the airport for help with calling you.)

Confirm with the airline which terminal they are arriving at- #1 or #2. They are quite separate. Also, call the airline maybe 2-3 hours before scheduled arrival to make sure they aren't early or late.

Although the information on the remote/cheaper parking is great, for picking up you should use the closer lots as M&J said.

Here's my version of the directions; sign indications are to the best of my memory- NOT EXACT):

1. Get to Tengenjibashi entrance of Expressway. Pay 700yen to get on. After 3-4km is first fork.

2. Stay in right lane (to Ginza, etc.)(as you merge to the next leg, watch the traffic coming from behind on your left; the merge is quick) Stay in that right lane. After about <2km is the next fork.

3.Right lane will take you toward Rainbow Bridge. You will see it off to your left. Get to the leftmost lane to go slower. This will take you over the bridge. Stay in left lane over the bridge. Go past the Daiba exit. Within 1km is the next fork.

4. This lane will take you toward Urayasu & beyond. You stay on this Expressway all the way to Narita. You will be travelling straight for 50km or so, so don't exit onto the one or two other possibilities on your left coming up.

5. Around Makuhari, you will go through a booth to get a ticket.

6. As mentioned, you go 50km or so and get off at the very obvious Narita exit. Stay in the lanes for the Airport (rather than Narita City).

7.Come to toll gate and pay 1,650yen with the ticket.

8. You will now use the information of which terminal to choose which direction to go according to big signs.

9. After a short distance, you come to another gate which is the security check. Have a picture id (Japanese d.l. or gaijin card) ready and just show it to them. They may want to open your trunk if you have one. They will ask "what airline?" and you tell them and say "picking up". (They just want to make sure you're headed to the right gate.)

9A. If you are going to Terminal #1, stay in the right lane and "exit" toward "departures". There is a "P" for parking. You will see the parking lot on your right, but you have to go around to the other side of it to enter it. At the end of the "exit ramp", turn right (no choice); and then at the next light, turn right again, staying to the right. This will take you into the entrance lane for the parking. As you get through the gate, make a hard u-turn to take you back toward the part of the lot closest to the terminal building.

9B. If you are going to Terminal #2, the security gate is quite large; stay to the right basically. As you exit the gate, the right lanes will take you toward the "P" parking entrances. There are north and south buildings of terminal 2. Helps to know this detail too, to shorten your walk. Write down where you've parked! It can be confusing to find your car when you come back.

I think this is a bit more tricky because there aren't signs to "Paterson Home". At least you don't have the anxiety of someone waiting for you.

1A.From Terminal #1
As you exit the pay gate for parking, you have to turn right. Get immediately into the left of the two lanes. At the light, you have to turn right, but the entrance to the Expressway is immediately on your left, so go directly up there. After a few km, get the ticket.

1B. As you exit the parking lot, there will be green signs for the expressway entrance toward Tokyo. After a few km, there is the place to get the ticket.

2. Stay on this road for the 50km or so.

3. As you get closer to Tokyo, there are a bunch of signs for another Expressway that does say "Tokyo XXXX"(off to the left), but you want to stay to the right and go past this.

4. Come to the toll gate and pay the 1,650 again.

5. A few km (5?), pay the 700yen again. (You can amaze your parents [or make them feel guilty] by pointing out how many dollars these tolls are)

6. After this, there are basically two more Expressway interchanges. If you stay to the right, you are in the correct direction. But, be careful about going slowly there as there will be madmen behind you following frighteningly close and flashing their lights. (Don't mind them. Just give them a "sorry" wave as they go by- just like the taxi drivers!)

7. After you pass the 2nd interchange, you will see the signs for Rainbow Bridge- take that - a big ramp up and on the left. It takes you up & over toward the bridge.

8. After the bridge, stay in the left lane the whole way from now on. Upon coming down from the bridge onto the next part of the Expressway, there will be traffic merging from the right. Stay in your left lane. You will soon be taking the left fork in that lane. Again, traffic merging from your right.

9. Still staying in the left lane, you will be taking the fork to the left towrard MEGURO (?). I think it's #2 road, but just stay in the left lane and you'll be ok. (Just don't get off at Shibakoen)

10. This winds around a bit and after 2-3km, you will get off at Tengenjibashi.

Make it home and open the champagne you have put in the refrigerator. You have earned it.

It's a bit daunting, but reading this back, I think you can do it. Remember, you are not in certain parts of the east coast of the U.S. where you have other risks with making the wrong turn. Worst that can happen is it takes a really long time to get home.

Good luck and let us know how it worked out.


By Scott Hancock on Sunday, March 11, 2001 - 6:24 pm:

Pamela Patterson, are you out there? Tried to email you at the address you posted from, but it came back.
Did you make the drive to Narita? Did the directions help? Any corrections?
Scott Hancock

By Scott Hancock on Sunday, March 11, 2001 - 05:26 pm:
Oops. I just noticed I was a year late with the directions. I guess Pamela made the one-way trip to Narita herself since then.
Hope someone will benefit from the directions...

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