Is it advisable to travel on the train with a suitcase during morning rush hour?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Tokyo in October and Tokyo Cheapo has been a great resource! I read Greg Lane’s very helpful article on the different ways to get from Narita to the city. Our flight arrives a bit past 6AM on a weekday so I’m guessing we’ll be leaving the airport at around 7AM (giving us enough time to get through customs, get our bags, pick up our pocket wifi and wolf down some snacks). We’ll be staying at a hotel in Korakuen, near Tokyo Dome and the most convenient (though rather expensive) option seems to be to take the limousine bus and get off at Tokyo Dome Hotel (just a few minutes’ walk from our hotel). Of course we are considering other (ahem, cheaper) options. The Tokyo Shuttle and Access Narita seem like good options but they involve a train ride from either Tokyo Station or Ginza Station (it seems the Marunouchi line is what we’ll have to take) but at least there won’t be any transfers. My concern is, would it be crazy to take the train at that time if we have one or two suitcases? Or will we actually miss the morning rush?

You’ll most likely arrive in central Tokyo right in the middle of the rush hour 8am - 9am. Some train lines are worse than others, but could be quite a struggle getting on a train with two suitcases. The Maranouchi line isn’t that bad apparently, so it’s possible you’ll not find it too tricky, especially if you travel from Tokyo Station to Korakuen, as that’s the opposite direction to the commuters.

I think it depends, too, on suitcase size. Obviously if they’re carry-on size you’ll have less trouble than if they’re checked-bag size.

We did Osaka to Kyoto on a JR during rush hour with a checked-bag size suitcase and that was pretty bad, but the smaller ones seem pretty common.

Thanks for your help!

As others have said, it could be a bit of a squeeze, but you’ll definitely be able to do it. A lot of people get on and off the Marunouchi Line at Ginza (see below). If you were talking about Ginza Line between AkasakaMitsuke and Shinbashi (especially on a rainy morning), I would think twice about it, but the Marunouchi Line isn’t so bad. One thing to think about, however, is where to get off (if you take the Shuttle or Access Narita). The bus will stop at Tokyo Station first, but it’s a loooooong walk from the bus stop to the Marunouchi Line (basically you have to go from the Yaesu side to Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station), so it might be wiser to stay another 5 minutes on the bus to go to Ginza (even though you’re going in the ‘wrong’ direction). Then you just have to take the lift down into the station and the Marunouchi Line is very close by. That’s what I would do!

Thanks! Getting off at Ginza and then taking the train to Kourakuen sounds like a good option. The nice thing is, for trips into the city, neither the Limousine bus nor Access Narita bus requires reservations. So we can just decide which one to take when we arrive. We’ll be taking the red eye flight out of Manila so if we’re zombies when we land, we’ll fork out the extra dough and splurge on the Limousine bus. But if we’re functioning fairly well, we’ll probably go with the cheaper option. Going back home, our JR nationwide pass will still be valid so we’ll be taking Narita Express after traveling from Osaka back to Tokyo (thankfully our flight is in the evening so I think we’ll have enough time).

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