Getting There & Around – Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

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Here’s the best ways to get to Japan and Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. The next race is on October 5-7, 2018.

We recommend staying in Nagoya, the closest major city to the Suzuka circuit. The 60km distance can be covered by train in around 1 hour. Most intercontinental flights land at Tokyo’s Narita airport (NRT) or Osaka’s Kansai airport (KIX). From Tokyo, there are domestic flights to Nagoya’s airport, Chubu (NGO). Alternatively, you can make your way to Nagoya from both Tokyo or Osaka via high speed train or bus.

FLIGHTS FROM NA

  • Several airlines fly from the United States to Tokyo. Most return airfares from $800-1500 USD.
  • Direct flights from LA to Tokyo or Osaka take around 12 hours. Delta, United Airlines and Japan Airlines serve these routes.
  • From New York, you can fly to Tokyo or Osaka from Newark, JFK or La Guardia. There are no direct flights; travel time is at least 15.5 hours.
  • Vancouver to Tokyo: Air Canada has a 10-hour direct flight to Tokyo from $1100 CAD.

 

FLIGHTS FROM EUROPE

  • Tokyo and Osaka are about an 11 hour direct flight away from most major European hubs
  • From Paris, Air France and ANA fly direct to Tokyo or Osaka from €1,000 return
  • Lufthansa flies direct from Frankfurt to Tokyo and Osaka from €800 return. Alternatively, Qatar offers return flights under €700 with a stop in Doha.
  • BA, Virgin Atlantic and ANA have direct flights from London, but fares are expensive. Alternatively, Turkish Airlines has flights from London with a stop in Istanbul from as low as £500

 

FLIGHTS FROM AUSTRALIA

  • Sydney is the only Australian city offering direct flights to Japan (9.5 hours), otherwise expect a layover somewhere in Asia and a travel time of 14-15 hours
  • Qantas, Virgin and Cathay Pacific have the best connections, including direct flights and short layovers in Singapore or Hong Kong. Return flights from $800-1400 AUD.
  • AirAsia offers some one of the lowest fares from Melbourne or Perth to Tokyo and Osaka. Travel time is around 15 hours with a layover in KL. Prices from $650 AUD return.

GETTING TO NAGOYA

  • Domestic Flights: for as low as US$130, you can take a one-hour domestic flight from Tokyo to Nagoya’s Chubu International Airport. The Tokyo-Nagoya route is offered by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways several times per day. There are no direct flights from Osaka to Nagoya.
  • Trains: Tokyo and Nagoya are connected by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. Travel times are dependent on the type of train you choose; 100 minutes on Nozomi trains, 110 minutes on Hikari trains and 3 hours on Kodama trains. For a single trip, expect to pay from approximately $85 USD. The Japan Rail Pass is valid on the Hikari and Kodama trains.
  • Buses: A one way bus trip from Tokyo to Nagoya takes 5-6 hours and cost around $25 USD with Willer Express.

 

How to get to Suzuka Circuit

The Suzuka circuit is located in Inou, Suzuka City, which is in the Mie Prefecture, about 30 miles (50km) south of Nagoya. It’s an isolated, mainly industrial area where companies like Sharp and Honda have their factories. The best way to get to the track is to take the train. At first glance, it can appear that there is a confusing array of connections and operators for trains. In reality though, if you ask for help in getting to Suzuka Circuit, the ticket staff at the train station should be able to help get you on to the right train. The best train to take from either Nagoya or Osaka to Suzuka is the Kintetsu train to Shiroko station. This is not the nearest station to the circuit (that would be the Suzuka Circuit Inou Station), but you won’t have to make any transfers and there’s English signage at Shiroko station to help you find the shuttle buses to the circuit.

GETTING TO SUZUKA USING KINTETSU RAILWAYS

The Kintetsu Railways trains offer services from both Nagoya and Osaka to Shiroko Station, which is the nearest station on this line to the Suzuka Circuit. From Shiroko, you’ll need to follow the signs to the shuttle buses, which take around 15 minutes to get you to the circuit and costs $9 USD return. The buses run fairly regularly on Grand Prix weekend (Friday-Sunday). You can pay for your ride on these trains using the Kintetsu Rail Pass.

From Nagoya station, the journey to the Shiroko Station will set you back around $14 USD for the limited express train (tokkyu) or $6.60 USD  for the express train (kyuko). A one-way trip on these trains takes 40-50 minutes and there are regular services on Grand Prix weekend. The five-day pass for around $40 is the best option if you are traveling to Suzuka for the whole weekend.

From Osaka-Namba station, there are two hourly limited express train services to the Shiroko Station. One is a direct train between the two stations, while the other will require you to transfer at the Tsu Station. You will need to purchase and reserve your seat at least a day before you plan to travel. This ride takes approximately 100 minutes and cost approximately $50 USD for a return ticket, which you can pay by using the Kintetsu Rail Pass. Note: We don’t recommend taking the slower express train service from the Osaka-Namba station. A one-way ticket is just US$14.50, but but you will need to endure a 2.5-hour train ride with two transfers along the way.

Richard's travel experience at the Japanese Grand Prix

I used the Kintetsu rail pass for travelers to get to the circuit from Nagoya. This is valid for unlimited rides over 5 days around Nagoya and other cities, and costs around $40 USD. You can buy this from the special Kintetsu ticket area at Nagoya station, and there are English speaking tourist guides there to help you. The trip from Nagoya to Suzuka takes about 45 mins. You get off at Shiroko train station, then follow the signs outside the station to the circuit shuttle bus. Buy the return daily ticket (cost approx. $9 USD) to save you queuing at the end of the day. The shuttle takes around 15 minutes to get to the track. Read Richard’s trip report.

NAGOYA TO SUZUKA WITH JAPAN RAILWAYS & ISE TETSUDO

This is the less preferred option as the connections are more complicated and you have a longer walk of around 30 minutes from the train station to the circuit. A single journey between Nagoya Station and Suzuka Circuit Inou Station takes around 60-90 minutes and costs around US$9. There are several services which can get you to the Suzuka Circuit station, some of which will require a transfer (if in doubt, ask!) There are also regular express trains on Grand Prix weekend tagged as “Suzuka Grand Prix” which run non-stop between Nagoya Station and Suzuka Circuit Inou Station. Travel time is shorter (under an hour), but the price is higher at approximately US$20 each way. You need to reserve your seat on these trains at least a day in advance to be sure of a seat.

Note: You can use the Japan Rail Pass but it will only partially cover the cost of your train ride as some of the trip is on another operator’s line. This means you need to pay the remaining fare i.e. US$2.50 one way for the normal service trains or US$5 one way for the limited express trains.

Taking public transport in Japan

Japan has one of the most well connected public transport networks in the world, with trains being the most preferred option in most cities.  A great app to download is Hitachi’s Hyperdia, which will help you find the best routes to take while you navigate around town. In smaller towns, local buses are the way to go. More information on getting around in Nagoya or Osaka.

JAPANESE TAXIS

Taxis in Japan are easily available,  safe and relatively inexpensive with fares starting from US$6. Taxis are also one of the few options available after midnight when trains and buses have stopped running. While taxi fares are metered, most taxi drivers give you an estimated fare; if the meter runs over the estimate, the taxi driver will stop the meter and refuses any extra fare. Always have the address of your destination written in Japanese so that your taxi driver will be able to take you to where you want to go without any miscommunication.

HIRING A CAR IN JAPAN

Foreigners are generally advised against hiring cars in Japan. Even if you are used to driving on the left like the Japanese, there is a good chance you will get lost! When there are road signs, they are in Japanese kanji script. There’s also traffic congestion and tolls to deal with. If you are determined to hire a car and explore more of the region around Suzuka, don’t forget you will need to possess a valid international driving permit, as well as your license.

Been to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka? Leave a comment below with your tips on getting to the circuit!

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March 20, 2018

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March 3, 2018

Budget Planner – 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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February 23, 2018

Travel Basics – Japanese Grand Prix

What you need to know before organizing your trip to the Japanese Grand Prix. The next race at Suzuka takes place on October 5-7, 2018.

December 22, 2017

Getting There & Around – Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

Here’s the best ways to get to Japan and the Suzuka circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix.

November 24, 2017

Accommodation – 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

The best places to stay in Nagoya and Osaka for fans on all budgets attending the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (10)

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  1. awizul says:

    Hi Andy, noted on the self-drive advice. Somehow me & 3 of my multi-national F1 fans is planning to go this way (We’ll share the experience with you for sure). Do you know any info on the parking rates in Suzuka and does it always jam during race weekend & how bad it is?

    Thanks!

  2. Richard says:

    Hello Andrew , I was looking for the info of the Kintetsu rail pass (5 days all access) , i found a page that sells a ticket in $76 all access , this includs the ride to Shrirroko station and the buses to the track. As soon i get more info on how to buy it i will put it here . the ticket does a lot more , i am only focusing on the trips from nagoya to the circuit

    Do you know the best method to buy a kintetsu rail pass internacional?

    Regards Andy

  3. Elly says:

    Hi Andrew, Im going to suzuka by Experience Hero package.
    There is an event on friday evening.
    So is there shuttle bus from the circuit to Shiroko station until late in the night?
    Or should i use taxi?
    And which is better JR or Kintetsu, from Nagoya to Circuit?

  4. PRUTHVI CHOWDARY says:

    Hi , I am a biggest fan of F1 i am travelling to kyoto on a race day morning so if u could help me in car pooling it would be a great or if u r taking a public transport still we can be along .

  5. Mirko Naidofski says:

    I just attended the 2018 race and the rail connections worked extremely well from Nagoya as described above and agree the way to go is thru Shiroko.

    Just for clarity, there are 3 trains that run from Nagoya to Shiroko Station on the Kintetsu line

    1.The Local which stops at all stations and should be avoided like the plague if you are coming from and going to Nagoya(it is clearly marked in English on the train as local).

    This should only be used if you are staying in a regional town along the line but you should use the Express Train (described below) as much as you can.

    2. The Express – This service takes 55 minutes to travel between Nagoya & Shiroko and is the service we used both ways. It is more than adequate but there is no guaranteed seat so you may find yourself standing for the whole trip especially on the return on race day.

    Just beware it looks similar to the local train described above (but does not have the word local on it.

    When looking at the indicator board it is depicted by orange colored writing

    3. The Limited Express – is a service that is about 15 minutes quicker than the express but nearly double in price.

    The upside is you have a guaranteed seat for the trip. I had a family of 5 so multiply that out and it can be a very expensive exercise.

    Like I mentioned previously the Express was more than adequate.

    The connecting bus service is an example of Japanese efficiency in action and worth the price alone just to see it run.

    Just one last point the town of Shiroko has a few hotels and if you a spending a full day at the circuit it might be an option to stay in town but you would need to book early. Consider a family of 5 travel costs from Nagoya roughly 10 000 yen per day

    • Editor says:

      Thanks a lot for telling us about your experience with the trains Mirko! Hope you enjoyed the race

      • Mirko Naidofski says:

        Yes, we sure had a great time and thanks for providing a great forum Richards report above was certainly a great help in planning.

        Just wanted to add a few more points.

        The limited express (no 3) is a yellow & white train while the Express (2) and local (1) are both a reddish brown color.

        Also very very very important is to buy a return ticket for the train from Nagoya. This is not readily apparent when you get to Nagoya station, ask one the information attendants and they will take you to the office and assist you in doing this. This will allow you to bypass the huge line of people buying the tickets from Shiroko back to Nagoya after the race (the line is so huge and slow that the platform was virtually empty when we caught our return trip).

        Also, the connecting bus service I was referring to is from Shiroko to the circuit. If you are staying in Shiroko you still need to pay for this (In 2018 it was 400 yen each way and the same rule applies, buy a return ticket so as to miss the queue at the end of the day. Return = 800 yen).

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