Snowmaggaden: 4 Hour transit from Narita to Tokyo Station
(Before writing this post, I thought I had a rough transit into Tokyo. However, some comments from Twitter would suggest that I was in one of the first trains to get into Tokyo Sunday. I took the 5:40pm train. I heard some people were stuck at Narita since 6am but didn’t think that was because of the snow. This post was intended to highlight about how the snow causes a giant mess at Narita Airport and not to complain about my long transit.)
About 25cm (~8in) of snow fell in Tokyo between Saturday and Sunday morning. This was the first time in over 20 years. It hasn’t snowed more than 4 inches since 16 years ago so this was a big deal. This ended up shutting down some if not most of the train lines into Tokyo. The line for the railway station wraps around the entire arrivals area.
From some of the encounters I had at the airport, it would suggest that the Narita Express, train lines in/out of Narita and buses were shut down Sunday. There were a few taxis that were willing to drive to Tokyo but they were far and few in between. At around 4:30pm the Narita Express started to run and the Kensei line at around 4:45pm. Around 5pm, I saw a handful of buses running but the Airport Limousine was not running.
The line for the ticket machine wraps around the basement of the train station. The line for Narita Express and Rail pass was a bit shorter.
I couldn’t get into the station until about 5:10 and got my ticket around 5:25 for the 5:40 Narita Express. The local train coming into the station filled the station. I believe that they were running as many trains as they can towards Narita so they ended up using both tracks, even though this track usually is for Narita Express. This platform wasn’t designed for the number of people in a normal local train but rather for the limited passengers on a Narita Express. You can see it by the crowds in the below picture.
Even though I had a ticket with a seat number, I went into the wrong car and then promptly got stuck. I quickly saw that people couldn’t get on to the Narita Express because it was so full so I stayed put.
The train was packed all the way to Tokyo Station, which was the next stop. It was standing room only, which was an abnormal occurrence on the Narita Express. I managed to sit on a railing and prop myself up on some luggage for part of the trip. I also took a short nap along the way as I didn’t get much sleep on my flight.
The train stopped at various times throughout the trip up and eventually I realized we were stuck behind a local train. After the Chiba station, we had our own track. It took us about 90 minutes to get to Chiba but only about 30 minutes from there to Tokyo.
Almost the entire train emptied once we got to Tokyo Station.