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Travelling in September to Tokyo (Chiyoda) from Narita Airport, and I am taking either the shuttle, JR, Skyliner, or Limousine. I know I have to take the subway at some point. The question is: with a large bag, and at 2 - 3 PM, on a Wednesday, is it wise to ride in the subway?

Which of the options above makes more sense, and is more convenient for luggage travellers?

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    I don't think 2-3pm counts as rush hour? It's a while since I was in Tokyo but I don't remember it starting to get crazy until after 4pm. Surely no self-respecting honourable salaryman would be seen not in the office at 3pm? – user568458 Aug 23 '15 at 0:17
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    I did two backpacks in rushhour there. It's not great, but it's not that different to the London tube, or other metro systems. It's only once in your life, just go for it, and try and be as courteous as you can with a monster bag ;) – Mark Mayo Aug 23 '15 at 2:10
  • I'm surprised nobody mentioned the N'EX, why? – JCCM Aug 26 '15 at 6:23
  • That's jr train right? I eventually ruled it out since it's the same as sky access only more expensive – Ayyash Aug 26 '15 at 6:36
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2-3pm is not rush hour in Tokyo. However, many central subway stations in Tokyo require you to climb flights of stairs to enter, exit or transfer lines, which is not much fun with large bags, and while there's usually a single elevator somewhere, this can add a lengthy detour. If you can tell me exactly where you're going, I can try to recommend a least-bad route.

If you've got large bags and/or are unfamiliar with Tokyo, the Limousine bus direct to your hotel is usually the best option, but availability depends on the destination. I'd suggest two other alternatives:

  1. Take the airport train to the nearest major taxi station, then a taxi to your final destination. (This is what I usually do.) A cab from Tokyo Station to most destinations in Chiyoda should be less than 1000 yen.

  2. Ship your bags directly from the airport to your hotel with Takkyubin. This is particularly useful if you're hardcore and plan to go to the office/customer site before your hotel. Same-day delivery for a full-size suitcase is ~2400 yen and the service is extremely reliable (although at 2 PM you will most likely get it delivered the next morning).

  • Google maps show that the limousine bis takes longer than the train (the sky access express) isn't it so? – Ayyash Aug 23 '15 at 4:55
  • @Ayyash Yes, it is usually slower, and often more expensive too. But it's also the only option that will deliver you and your suitcase straight to the door of your hotel. (Assuming of course that you're staying in one of major hotels that are served directly.) – jpatokal Aug 23 '15 at 4:57
  • Actually no, I'm in chiyoda, small hotel, and the bus nearest drop off is tokyo station, then i have to take the metro, or as you suggested, a taxi, i just was told taxis are awfully expensive, but 1000 isn't much – Ayyash Aug 23 '15 at 5:22
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    @Ayyash You definitely don't want to take a taxi direct from the airport, but short hops within central Tokyo are reasonably priced. – jpatokal Aug 23 '15 at 6:03
  • So i did exactly that, i took the limousine bus to the nearest hotel drop off, ams from there i walked. I did the same to haneda hotel, i just walked in the nearest hotel, and bought a ticket – Ayyash Sep 11 '15 at 4:45
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Seems like the question is already answered, but I think some tips on how to move with bags in a rush hour in Tokyo would be appropriate in this thread.

Rush hours:

  • Morning rush hour starts ~8AM and suddenly ends at ~10AM. It is really like that, at 9:30 all trains are crowded and after 10:00 not anymore.
  • Evening rush hour has two waves. First one is around 6:15 PM and continues till ~10 PM. The second one is around the last train, which is about the midnight.
  • Then, during weekdays streets will be crowded from 12:00PM till 2:00PM, because most office have lunchtime at this period.

Trains:

  • Outside of rush hours trains ground trains are more crowded than underground ones.
  • Toei Subway stations are often less conveniently located within large terminals, so if you can choose use Tokyo Metro instead.
  • If you have large bags, use frontmost or rearmost car, the frontmost or rearmost doors. The place next to driver's cabin is usually somewhat less crowded and you can place bags there. If you get onto a crowded train with large bags in the middle of a car it will be much more troublesome.
  • When going through the toll gates, use those next to the stationmaster's cabin: they are usually larger and allow large bags to be pushed through.
  • Stairs are crowded. All stations have elevators, but at the most unpredictable places. During the rush hour it is the easiest way to get from the platform to the ground level.
  • In Tokyo walk on the left side of the street when it is crowded.
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    Lovely set of local knowledge tips. – Willeke Aug 21 '16 at 8:53

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