If you’re arriving in Japan at Narita International Airport and heading to Kyoto or Osaka, transferring from the Narita Express to the Shinkansen bullet train at Shinagawa Station is easy and quick. In fact, it’s quicker than doing it at Tokyo Station because of Shinagawa’s layout. This article will show you how to do it.
Narita Express trains from Narita Airport arrive on Shinagawa Station’s Track 15, which is usually used by the Yokosuka Line. The good thing about Track 15 is that it’s on the eastern end of the station and it’s the closest platform to the Shinkansen tracks.
There are two routes to get to the Shinkansen from Track 15 – the North Transfer Gate and the South Transfer Gate. Depending on what Narita Express train car you’re in, you’ll find yourself on the Track 15 platform at either the north or south end, or in the middle. Simply look for the Shinkansen train icon and follow the arrows to the nearest escalator or elevator.
The north and south transfer gates are upstairs and right next to Track 15, so there’s no difference in terms of distance. However, if you have reserved seats and you know what car you’ll be in on your Shinkansen journey, you can choose the appropriate transfer gate to save yourself some unnecessary walking on the bullet train platform, especially if you’re hauling heavy luggage. If you’re traveling in cars 1 to 5, you should use the South Transfer Gate. For cars 6 and above, use the North Transfer Gate.
Once upstairs from Track 15, turn left and you’ll see a large sign reading “Shinkansen and JR line tickets” just before a ticket counter and vending machines. Buy tickets here if you need them. Press the “English” button on the machines for the English menu. Note that if you’re using a credit card to pay, the machines may ask for a PIN code.
The ticket gates can be found to the left of the ticket counter and vending machines. If you’re using a Japan Rail Pass, show the pass to the attendants in the booth on the right side of the ticket gates.
Once inside the gates, you’ll see an overhead electronic timetable showing the next Shinkansen departures. The text alternates between Japanese and English. Bullet trains bound for Nagoya, Kyoto and Shin-Osaka depart from tracks 23 and 24, which are on the right and downstairs from the gate level.
Note that if you’re using a Japan Rail Pass, you cannot use the fastest class of Shinkansen, the Nozomi. Check for the departure times for the Hikari trains, which make more stops than the Nozomi but not as many as the Kodama services.
Inside and outside the Shinkansen gates, you’ll find various shops and waiting rooms. The north concourse has a Starbucks both inside and outside the Shinkansen gates, as well as a mini convenience store. The south concourse has a larger waiting area, located just outside the Shinkansen gates.
Article by Tim Hornyak. All rights reserved.