I am a frequent traveler to Japan because I am from Japan as you know.
My latest Japan trip is in February 2020, arriving at Narita Airport from Dallas TX.
Japan is one of the high-technology countries in the world, (I hope, ) and all kinds of systems and procedures have been changing that I always get surprised and confused even I am Japanese.
I am thinking about whether my routine after arriving in Japan could help you to find out what to do, especially your trip is the first time to visit Japan.
Today, I am going to tell you things I do to get out of the airport and head to Nagoya, where is my home area by Narita Express and Shinkansen.
- Order the delivery service online before leaving the country
- Drop off the bags
- Buy Narita Express ticket and Shinkansen ticket
- Get on Narita Express
- Transfer Shinkansen at Shinagawa station
- On Shinkansen
Order the delivery service before leaving the airport
When my husband and I travel to Japan, we bring too much staff (included gifts for my parents and friends) in 4 suitcases,2 carry-on roller bags, and backpacks.
We have to take Shinkansen to go back to my parent’s house so that we always use the delivery service to send bags to the stay.
Used to be, senders were required to fill waybills that were very complicated for overseas travelers.
Recently, the new service came out for foreign travelers, which is called “Luggage Free Travel” that is available to order online in your preferred language.
So, I tried a new service this time and it was very easy & saved lots of time.
Drop off bags at the airport
I had ordered the delivery service “Luggage- Free TRAVEL” service online before leaving, so we dropped off our 3 suitcases at the “KURONEKO YAMATO” delivery service center.
we went to “GPA Airport TA-Q-BIN” (floor map number7) located in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor.
I took a screenshot of the QR code provided when I ordered on my phone so that I didn’t need to connect wifi as soon I arrived at the airport.
The delivery staff scanned the QR code, checked out the regulation and destination, then done.
Buy PASMO PASSPORT
I really wanted the cutest transportation card to travel around Japan, so we stopped at “Skyliner & Keisei travel information center” to get “PASMO PASSPORT”.
The card is a prepaid transportation card that you must need in Japan, I mean, it will be very handy if you have one even though you are planning to buy “Japan Rail Pass”.
You can skip buying tickets for public transportations such as subways, buses and also you can use it nationwide.
“PASMO PASSPORT” is one of transportaion cards called “IC card”s in Japan but it is the special version for short-term foreign travelers.
Buy NARITA EXPRESS & Shinkansen TICKET
We prefer taking Narita Express to get to downtown Tokyo than other ways because it is the easiest, fastest and most comfortable especially for the body condition after long flights.
“Narita Express” and “Shinkansen” are operated by the same company group, “Japan Railway” and we can buy both tickets at once at the same ticket office, so that
“Narita Express” is the best for us.
There are ticket vending machines next to the ticket counter but you can ‘t use an international credit card and also it is very confusing to buy a ticket.
Narita Express ticket costs about ¥3,000 but you don’t need to pay for it if you have a “Japan Rail Pass“.
In case you want to know, the cheapest way to get to Tokyo station is “TYO-NRT”, which is an airport shuttle bus connected between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station with ¥1,000.
(The late-night fare is ¥2,000 and requires to buy a ticket at the ticket counter at the airport)
Get on Narita Express
After we passed through the ticket gate, followed the sign said “Narita Express”.
We went down to the platform and were waiting for a train near the mark showed us our car number.
In Japan, trains are always on time and stop at the same position.
So don’t miss the number of the mark.
Not like Shinakansen cars, there is baggage storage with a password lock in each car.
The picture shows inside of the green car (the first class).
The price difference between the green car and the regular car is about ¥1,500, you can get a better seat covered with leather, comes with the footrest, and wider foot space.
However, the seat size is almost the same as the regular car and actually you can get enough foot space even you use a regular car.
In my opinion, there is not much difference between the green car and the regular.
Transfer to Shinkan
We arrived 13 & 14 platform at Shinagawa station for about 70min from Narita airport terminal 2 stations.
Took an elevator or escalators up and follow the sign “TRANSFER TO TOKAIDO & SANYO SHINKANSEN”.
The 13 & 14 platform is close to ticket gates to Shinkansen so that you would not get lost.
When you see the ticket gate, insert all three tickets and take two tickets popped out of the gate.
If you are a “Japan Rail Pass” holder, you have to go to a manned gate to show the pass.
When you transfer to Shinkansen from Narita Express or other JR LINEs, you don’t need to go outside of the ticket gate at Shinagawa station.
You can change Shinkansen directly, and this is why I recommend changing to transfer to Shinkansen at Shinagawa station rather than at Tokyo station.
Here is more details why you should get off Shinagawa station rather than Tokyo station when you going to west.
We were heading to Nagoya, which means we should take Shinkansen toward to Shin-Osaka.
After going down to the platform, you will see the electric bulletin board overhead.
Both sides are platform for Shinkansens toward west such as Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Hiroshina and Hakata.
After finding out which side the shinkansen coming, wait under the overhead-sign along the platform which tells your car number.
On the Shinkansen
As I explain here, you must reserve the seat with luggage space from May 2020
but for now, we could use the space behind the seats in the last row. However, please ask permission from the passenger who is using the seats in the last row if you want to use there.
We put my husband’s belongings on the overhead shelf which has enough size for the carry-on bag.
The green car
The green car is the first-class car of Shinkansen.
The price differs from the distance and type of Shinkansen.
The green car has wider seats with more leg rooms, the footrest, and you can get the thick wet hand wipe that my husband’s favorite part.
I don’t recommend pay extra for the green car of KODAMA shinkansen, because the green car is not luxury compared with HIKARI and NOZOMI.
There is enough space to put my carry-on bag and my travel bag in the leg space.
(but this way is suitable for the tiny person. )
Foods and drinks
The total hour so far was almost 2 hours after arriving in Japan.
Finally, we can relax!!
It doesn’t matter with the green car and the regular car, the food cart often comes during the ride.
There are water, pops, alcohol, snacks, bento box, and sandwiches.
One of my husband’s favorite refreshments at this moment in Japan is “CHU-HAI”.
“CHU-HAI” is a very popular alcoholic drink in Japan, which mixes with “SHOCHU”, the Japanese vodka, citrus flavor, and strong sparkling water.
Generally, a regular vodka is used for canned CHU-HAI though.
My husband always buys it at a kiosk at the Shinagawa station before boarding.
You can choose several citrus flavors and the percentage of alcohol.
Some Shinkansen accepts a credit card payment, but not all shinkansen.
But you can use “IC card”, prepaid transportation card instead.
Arriving in Nagoya
When we heard the announcement (in Japanese & English) that told us Nagoya station was getting close ( I think it was on 10 min before approaching), we started getting ready for getting off because of a very short time to get off at Nagoya station.
This is my routine for heading to my stay from Narita Airport.
Usually, the total hour to get to Nagoya is 3hours and half to 4 hours.
If you are going to go to Kyoto, it’s 30 minutes more, and Osaka is one hour more.
(in case of NOZOMI shinkansen)
If you think it is too long, there is an option to stay at Nagoya as the base on the way.
Nagoya is the hidden gourmet city in Japan and very compact to see around.