Saturday, June 6, 2009

Suica & the Narita Express Train Fare Discount

Here's a great tip that we can thank Bob for discovering in March when coming back from a work trip to South Korea. When he landed at Narita Airport in Tokyo (NRT) he had a few hours to wait until the Narita Shuttle (a shuttle bus to/from the airport to the Yokosuka Naval Base) was scheduled to leave. He decided to take the train instead of waiting, and when he got to the station (in the basement of the airport) he saw a sign advertising a special for foreigners to Japan.

This is a big FYI for anyone stationed at Yokosuka, Atsugi, Zama, etc. We can use it since we hold our U.S. passports, and so can anyone visiting us from home. We can sign up our family members for the Narita Shuttle at PSD, but since it's space available and they're at the lowest priority, having a back-up plan for transportation is a must.

It's called the Suica & N'EX package, and for ¥3500 (about $35 depending on the yen rate) lets you save ¥1610 (about $16.10 depending on the yen rate). This is cheaper and will come in very handy if you plan on taking the trains in and around Tokyo.

It consists of:
-a one way trip from Narita Airport to Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, etc by Narita Express
-a Suica card worth ¥2000 (¥500 refundable deposit plus ¥1500 worth of train fares)

Suica is a prepaid card that we use instead of having to buy a ticket at every train station, and there are machines at every station where we can recharge the card when the balance gets low. Until this offer Narita Express ticket (N'EX) cost ¥3110 for a one-way trip from the airport to the Tokyo area. I've heard that the money on the card doesn't expire for 10 years, so you can keep your card and use it if you visit again, or give it to someone. I use my Suica card to pay at convenience stores and at vending machines too, so it comes in handy for more than just the train. The one I have is green and gray with the penguin on it, but I've since started using/recharging the one Bob got...the one I'm holding in the picture above. It's a special edition card and is much prettier than the one I had!

The Suica & NEX package is only available at Narita Airport and only for travelers who hold a non-Japanese passport; the Narita Express train leaves once per hour. All the info, including price charts, FAQs and more can be found at this website.


Terri said...

That's cool, Katie!
I'll let Bill know. There are some guys from the ship that are headed that way and they HATE waiting for the shuttle.

Anonymous said...

This is what we used, and it was amazing. We even exchanged it on our way out of the country and got our deposit back. Best ever!


Anonymous said...

I will be traveling there soon and heard about the trains but didn't know the details. Thanks for putting this information out there!


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Katie said...

We can't talk about ship movement due to OPSEC (Operational Security).