Tokyo is a big city and one of the biggest concerns of visitors to Japan is how to get around Tokyo. But you need not be daunted.
Tokyo has one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world, and it’s really not that hard to figure out once you have a few pointers. You will always find people willing to help you out if you get stuck.
Most visitors to Tokyo choose to explore the city by a combination of Tokyo Metro and taxi as the easiest way to get around Tokyo. Here we give you tips for both, and also advice about how to get to and from the airport in Tokyo.
If you are sightseeing in Tokyo, the easiest way to get around the city is by Tokyo Metro. It is cheap and efficient but is also renowned as being one of the biggest and most complex in the World. Read on for all our tips for using the Tokyo Metro.
How to use the Tokyo metro:
- Download the Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourist app. (available for iOS & Android) to help plan your journey.
- You can buy pre-paid IC card (eg. Suica and Pasmo) for use on trains, subways and buses in most Japanese cities. This saves you having to buy individual tickets every time you take a journey. They can also be used in vending machines and certain shops and restaurants.
- These IC cards can be bought in subway stations at ticket machines and counters, and you will find recharging machines in stations. Return your cards to the ticket counter to claim back your 500 yen deposit and any unused credit before you leave the country (there is a 220 yen charge for returning your unused credit).
- 1-, 2- and 3- day passes are also available.
- Under 6s travel for free. Ages 6-11 travel half price.
- Avoid rush hour from 8am-10am and 5-7pm on public transport.
Top Tip! Not all metro stations have elevators. Use this link to check:
Taking a Tokyo Taxi
There are loads of taxis in Tokyo and you should never have to wait more than a few minutes to get one. Here are some tips for getting around Tokyo by taxi:
- Tokyo taxis can be hailed on the street. You can tell if a Tokyo taxi is available by the red light in the front of the car, and the light on top of the car will be off. If it is showing a green light and the light on top of the car is illuminated, then the taxi is occupied.
- Not many taxi drivers in Tokyo speak good English, so it is always a good idea to have the address you wish to go to written down in Japanese. Ask your Tokyo hotel concierge to help you, if you have one, and keep a hotel card in your wallet.
- Taxis in Tokyo accept cash and credit cards, and some also accept the Suica and Pasmo cards mentioned above.
- Taxis are metred and tipping is not encouraged.
Getting from Tokyo Airport to the city:
There are several options to get into Tokyo from Narita. The two fastest options are the JR Narita Express and the Keisei Skyliner. Both trains run every 30 minutes and arrive in Tokyo Station in less than an hour. Tickets for both can be bought in the airport.
The Airport Limousine bus runs from Narita Airport directly to several major hotels in Tokyo. Check on the website: http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/ to see if your hotel is listed as a destination. A cheaper options is the Keisei Express Bus, which goes to Tokyo Station.
The cheapest way to get to Tokyo from Haneda Aiport is by monorail to Hamamatsucho station, and then take the subway from here. There are three levels of train on the monorail: Local, rapid and express. Trains leave every 3-5 minutes and can take as little as 20 minutes.
The Airport Limousine bus runs from Haneda Airport directly to Tokyo Station. A taxi could set you back more than 10,000 yen but may be your only option if you arrive late at night.
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