The Keisei Skyliner is a high speed limited express service operated by Keisei Electric Railway that runs from Keisei Ueno Station to Narita Airport. Running at a top speed of 160 km per hour the Skyliner provides a speedy and comfortable service between the city and the airport.
The journey time from Ueno to Narita is 41 minutes, and from Nippori to Narita it is just 36 minutes, which makes this the fastest rail service available between central Tokyo and the airport.
The Skyliner was designed by the celebrated fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto and its distinctive blue and white exterior is meant to represent the speed of the wind. Inside every carriage there is a large storage space for passengers’ luggage. The seating is also spacious and each seat is reclinable and fitted with its own power outlet. Security cameras are fitted throughout the train.
The first Keisei Skyliner train departs from Ueno station at 5:58 and arrives at Narita Airport at 6:42. The last Keisei Skyliner train departs from Ueno station at 18:20 and arrives at Narita Airport at 19:06.
From Narita Airport the fist train departs at 7:26 and arrives at Keisei Ueno station at 8:27. The last train from Narita Airport departs at 22:30 and arrives at Keisei Ueno station at 23:14.
Throughout the day Keisei Skyliner trains operate every 20 to 40 minutes.
Keisei Skyliner Route Map
Between Keisei Ueno and Keisei Takasago the Skyliner runs along the Keisei Main Line and then switches to the Narita Sky Access Line for the rest of the route. The Skyliner has just four stops:
Keisei Ueno > Nippori > Narita Airport Terminal 2·3 > Narita Airport Terminal 1
To find out which terminal you need for your flight check Narita Airport’s Airline Information page. Information on each stop is given below with estimated train times given from Keisei Ueno Station.
Keisei Ueno Station
Ueno is best known for Ueno Zoo, Ueno Park and the large number of museums that are inside the park. The Ueno area is also a busy commercial district with malls, department stores, and plenty of bargain stores along the Ameya-Yokocho shopping street. There is also a large shopping mall with plenty of dining options within the JR Ueno Station building.
Skyliner passengers traveling from Narita Airport can transfer to a number of rail services here for easy access to all parts of the city and there also several regional services.
JR Ueno Station is a 4 minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station. Here passengers can transfer to the Yamanote Line which connects most of the major areas of Tokyo in a loop. Other JR lines here are the Keihin-Tohoku, Utsunomiya, Takasaki, Joban, and Ueno-Tokyo lines.
Regional bullet train services here are the Tohoku Shinkansen, Yamagata Shinkansen, Akita Shinkansen, Joetsu Shinkansen, Hokkaido Shinkansen, and Hokuriku Shinkansen.
Tokyo Metro’s subway station is also just a 4 minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station and here you can access the Ginza Line for Asakusa, Ginza and Shibuya, and the Hibiya Line for Ginza, Roppongi, Nakameguro and Kita-Senju.
Attractions around Nippori Station are the traditional shopping street of Yanaka Ginza, Yanaka cemetery which is known for the beauty of its spring cherry blossoms, Tennoji Temple which was first established in 1274, and the view from “Yuyake Dandan” which literally means “Sunset Stairs”.
Transfers can be made here to JR East’s Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, and Joban Line, the Keisei Main Line, and the Nippori-Toneri Liner. Skyliner passengers coming from Narita Airport will usually transfer to the Yamanote Line here.
Train time: 5 minutes
Narita Airport Terminal 2·3
Exit here for Terminals 2 and 3. The station itself is located at Terminal 2 but shuttle buses to Terminal 3 take just 5 minutes. This station is jointly run by Keisei Electric Railway and JR East. Keisei Electric Railway run services on the Keisei Main Line and Narita Sky Access Line, and JR East run services on the Narita Line for destinations in Tokyo and Chiba. Passengers can also board the the Narita Express here which is JR East’s alternative high speed service between Narita and central Tokyo.
Train time: 41 minutes
Narita Airport Terminal 1
Exit here for Terminal 1. This station is jointly operated by Keisei Electric Railway and JR East. Passengers can access services on the Keisei Electric Railway’s Keisei Main Line and Narita Sky Access Line, or JR East’s Narita Line and the Narita Express.
Train time: 44 minutes
All seats on the Skyliner must be reserved, so that passengers are assured a seat. Tickets for the Skyliner can be bought at the ticket counters of any of the stations on its route. Tickets cost 2,470 yen for adults and 1,240 yen for children. This includes the journey fare and the Skyliner limited express surcharge. IC cards such as PASMO or SUICA can also be used to buy tickets in which case there is a small discount and the ticket will cost 2,465 yen for adults or 1,237 yen for children. Major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, JCB, UnionPay, and American Express can all be used to purchase tickets.
The price of a Skyliner ticket will be discounted if your buy it online, at certain designated travel agents, or on board certain low cost airline carriers. Adults can save 270 yen for a 2,200 yen ticket and children can save 140 yen for a 1,100 yen ticket. To find out more please visit the official Keisei Electric Railway website. Other discount options are the Keisei Skyliner & Tokyo Subway Ticket which includes unlimited rides on both Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro Subway, and the Keisei Skyliner and Teito Taxi Ticket which includes a taxi service from the station to your hotel.
Alternative Services from Ueno to Narita Airport
The Access Express is an alternative service that runs from Keisei Ueno Station to Narita Airport via the Narita Sky Access Line. Because there is no limited express surcharge for this train it costs just 1,240 yen for adults or 620 yen for children. Clearly this is much cheaper than the fare for the Skyliner. However, the Access Express can take between 60 to 75 minutes to cover the distance between Ueno and Narita Airport. Access Express trains are also not as frequent from Keisei Ueno Station. Regular services on the Keisei Main Line are also available and are even cheaper at 1,030 yen for adults or 520 yen for children. However, as there are a variety of services on this route you should check how many stops the train you take will make along the way. The fastest possible travel time using a regular Keisei service would be 70 minutes.
Because Keisei Electric Railway is a private railway company, the Skyliner is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you wish to use the Japan Rail Pass to travel between Ueno and Narita Airport you should take the Yamanote Line from JR Ueno Station to Tokyo Station and there transfer to the Narita Express. The travel time for that journey would be 70 minutes for a full fare of 2,820 yen.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.