Truly Tokyo

A Tokyo Travel Guide

Getting Around Tokyo

Tokyo is a huge sprawling city but it's served by one of the world's best public transport systems. Here, I'll give you all the details on getting around Tokyo easily.

JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo

The Takeaway

  • Subways and trains are the best way to get around Tokyo.
  • A prepaid Suica or Pasmo card is the BEST way to pay for transport.
  • You can buy a Suica card online for pickup at the airport.
  • Taxis are excellent but rather expensive.
  • Buses aren't recommended for short-term visitors.
  • See below for full details.

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The Details

  • The best way to understand Tokyo is to think of it as several cities connected by a great public transport system. Each urban node like Shinjuku , Shibuya or Roppongi is like its own city. And if you jump on the subway or train, you can be in a completely different "city" in a few minutes.
  • Most of Tokyo's major urban hubs are located on the JR Yamanote Line, which is sometimes called simply the "Loop Line." The only major exceptions to this are Roppongi and Asakusa. However, these two are just a few subway stops from the Yamamote Line stops of Ebisu and Ueno , respectively. You can ride the JR Yamanote Line with a Japan Rail Pass , but if you just want to explore Tokyo for the first few days after arriving in Japan, it's best to activate your pass on the morning you leave Tokyo and use it for your long-distance train travel (ie, use the pass to pay for expensive intercity travel, not for cheap local travel).
  • A prepaid card like Suica or Pasmo is easily the best way to pay for train and subway travel in Tokyo. See below for full details.

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Tokyo Trains and Subways

  • As mentioned above, trains and subways are the best way to get around Tokyo. For full details, see my Tokyo Trains and Subways page .

Tokyo Buses

  • Tokyo's buses are extensive and efficient, but they're not ideal for tourists. Still, if you do want to give them a try, you'll find all the details on my Tokyo Buses page.

Tokyo Taxis

  • Tokyo's taxis are an excellent way to get around the city, especially outside of rush hour or if you have to go to a place not close to a train or subway station. However, they're not cheap. For full details, see my Tokyo Taxis page .

Prepaid Cards: Pasmo and Suica

  • A prepaid stored value card like Suica or Pasmo is really the best way to pay for trains and subways in Tokyo. You can also use them for purchases at convenience stores and many other places. For full details, see my Prepaid Cards – Pasmo and Suica page . You can buy a Suica card online for pickup at the airport.

Tokyo Airport Transport

  • For information on travel between Haneda and Narita airports and Tokyo, see my Tokyo Airport Transport page .

Tokyo Vacation Checklist

  • For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
  • Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com and Agoda.com - often you can book with no upfront payment and free cancellation
  • Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
  • You can buy shinkansen (bullet train) tickets online from Klook - popular routes include Tokyo to Kyoto , Tokyo to Osaka and Tokyo to Hiroshima
  • You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
  • See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
  • Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals . Check my guides to arriving at Narita Airport and at Haneda Airport .
  • If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with a Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
  • A prepaid Welcome Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
  • World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world

Tokyo District Map

the best way to travel around tokyo

  • Imperial Palace Area
  • Tokyo Station
  • Shimbashi Shiodome Hamamatsucho Shinagawa
  • Akihabara Kanda
  • Roppongi Akasaka
  • Harajuku Aoyama
  • Ebisu Daikanyama Meguro

Disclosure: trulytokyo.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Tokyo: Getting there and around

How to get to tokyo.

By air - Tokyo has two airports: Narita Airport handles the majority of international flights and only a small number of domestic flights. It is located 60 kilometers outside of central Tokyo. The more centrally located Haneda Airport handles a smaller number of international flights and the majority of domestic flights.

By shinkansen - Most shinkansen lines lead to Tokyo. The trip from Osaka / Kyoto takes about three hours. There are also direct trains to/from Kyushu , Kanazawa , Niigata and various destinations in the Tohoku Region and Hokkaido .

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. Be sure to check current yen exchange rates .

Getting around

Tokyo is covered by a dense network of train , subway and bus lines, which are operated by about a dozen different companies. The train lines operated by JR East and the subway lines are most convenient for moving around central Tokyo.

Tokyo's most prominent train line is the JR Yamanote Line , a loop line which connects Tokyo's multiple city centers. The city's 13 subway lines are operated by two companies and run largely inside the Yamanote circle and the areas around Ginza and the area east of the loop line. Most of the many suburban train lines commence at one of the six major stations of the Yamanote Line (Tokyo, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa).

Major JR train lines in central Tokyo

The map shows Tokyo's major railway stations and the five JR lines that are most relevant to people who travel within central Tokyo.

  • Yamanote Line Circle line that connects all major city centers.
  • Keihin-Tohoku Line Runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the eastern half of the circle.
  • Chuo/Sobu Line (Local) Runs across the Yamanote circle (local slow service).
  • Chuo Line (Rapid) Runs across the Yamanote circle (rapid service). Connects Tokyo Station with Shinjuku Station .
  • Saikyo Line Runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the western half of the circle. From Osaki Station, some trains continue running along the Rinkai Line in direction of Odaiba .
  • Shinkansen Tokaido Shinkansen trains stop at Tokyo and Shinagawa , while bullet trains to the north stop at Tokyo and Ueno.

Tokyo's subway network is operated by two entities: Toei with four lines, and Tokyo Metro with nine lines. Together, they densely cover central Tokyo, especially the area inside the Yamanote circle and the areas around Ginza and the area east of the loop line.

Note, that at their terminal stations, the trains of some subway lines continue to operate on the tracks of different companies on suburban train lines. For example, the Chiyoda Subway Line is directly connected with the suburban Odakyu Line at Yoyogi-Uehara, and trains on the Fukutoshin Subway Line continue to run on the tracks of the Tokyu Toyoko Line at Shibuya.

Other railway companies

Besides JR East and the two subway companies, most other railway companies connect Tokyo with the metropolis' outer regions and surrounding prefectures . Their lines typically start at one of the stations of the JR Yamanote Line . Many of the private railway companies also operate department stores usually at their train lines' major stations.

  • Tokyu Railway Serving southwestern Tokyo and Kanagawa .
  • Tobu Railway Serving Saitama and Tochigi , including Nikko .
  • Seibu Railway Serving the Tokyo Tama Region and Saitama .
  • Keio Railway Serving the Tokyo Tama Region.
  • Odakyu Railway Serving Kanagawa , including Hakone .
  • Keisei Railway Serving Chiba , including Narita Airport .
  • Keikyu Railway Serving Kanagawa , including Haneda Airport .
  • Tsukuba Express Connecting Akihabara with Tsukuba City, Ibaraki .

Passes and Tickets

A whole variety of day passes is available for the Tokyo area, however, most of them are overpriced and/or not very practical because they do not cover all of Tokyo's train and subway lines. Consequently, single tickets or prepaid cards usually come cheaper, especially if you plan your city sightseeing in a geographically wise way.

Prepaid IC cards are generally the recommended way to get around Tokyo. Prepaid cards don't give you any discounts over single tickets, but they provide convenience as you can ride virtually any train or bus in Greater Tokyo (and most other major cities in Japan) with just a simple swipe over a card reader. They can also be used to make quick purchases at a large number of shops, restaurants and tourist spots across Japan.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Two types of IC cards are available for purchase in Tokyo: Suica cards at JR stations and Pasmo cards at non-JR stations. Furthermore, eight IC cards from other major cities of Japan can also be used on the trains and buses of Tokyo, including Icoca, Kitaca, Toica, Manaca, Pitapa, Sugoca, Nimoca and Hayakaken.

Only on days when you use trains or subways a lot, can it make sense to consider one of Tokyo's day passes:

  • Tokyo Free Kippu (aka Tokyo Tour Ticket) (1600 yen) Unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo Metro ) and JR trains in the central Tokyo area on one calendar day (i.e. from the first to the last train of the day). It is also valid on buses and streetcars operated by Toei. The pass is overpriced and will unlikely provide any savings over regular tickets or prepaid cards.
  • Tokyo Subway Ticket (24 hours: 800 yen, 48 hours: 1200 yen, 72 hours: 1500 yen) Unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo Metro ). Not valid on JR trains. The pass is sold at Narita Airport , Haneda Airport , ticket offices at some major subway stations, and selected Bic Camera and Yamada Denki electronic stores in central Tokyo to foreign tourists only (passport required). Furthermore, it is sold to both foreign tourists and residents of Japan through selected travel agencies and convenience stores outside of the Kanto Region . It can also be purchased online through Klook .
  • Toei and Tokyo Metro One-Day Economy Pass (900 yen) Unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo Metro ) on one calendar day. The pass pays off only if you use the subways a lot. The pass is not valid on JR trains. Unlike the lower priced Tokyo Subway Ticket (see above), this pass can be purchased at the subway stations in central Tokyo.
  • Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket (600 yen) Unlimited use of the nine Tokyo Metro subway lines, but not the four Toei subway lines and JR trains. The ticket is available through ticket machines at Tokyo Metro stations.
  • Toei One-Day Pass (Toei Marugoto Kippu) (700 yen) Unlimited use of the four Toei subway lines, buses and streetcars on one calendar day. It is not valid on the nine Tokyo Metro subway lines and JR trains. The pass is available at ticket machines and ticket counters at Toei stations.
  • Tokunai Pass (760 yen) Unlimited use of JR trains in the central Tokyo area on one calendar day. The pass is available at the purple vending machines and ticket counters at JR stations.

The Japan Rail Pass and JR Tokyo Wide Pass are valid only on JR trains and the Tokyo Monorail. They cannot be used on subways or any other non-JR trains.

Questions? Ask in our forum .

Links and Resources

Tokyo metro, toei subway, odakyu electric railway, keio electric railway, keisei electric railway, keikyu electric railway, tokyu railway, tobu railway, seibu railway, tsukuba express, toei subways, odakyu railway, keio railway, keikyu railway, keisei railway, hotels around tokyo.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Experiences around Tokyo

the best way to travel around tokyo

Things to do (and not do!) when taking public transport around Tokyo

John Walton

Mar 1, 2020 • 6 min read

the best way to travel around tokyo

Tokyo’s subway and train maps can look utterly impenetrable for the first time traveller or even a repeat visitor. But it’s very well signed in English, and once you understand how the system works it’s no more complicated than any other major world city’s public transportation — and it works a lot better than most.

The Yamonte Line, in Tokyo Japan, on a sunny day. Cars and pedestrians passing by are in view.

Do consider staying on the Yamanote Line during your first visit

The first thing to do is to orient yourself: what most people would think of as central Tokyo is largely within walking distance of the Yamanote Line  — the circular JR line that travels around central Tokyo — operated by JR East, Many if not most of the things that most first-time travellers to Tokyo want to see and do are either found on the Yamanote Line, or at most one easy connection from it. 

Some of the smaller stops on the line have great local character and reasonably priced hotels close by, giving you a real feel for Tokyo. Otsuka is one of my favourites and comes with a bonus tram that trundles through central Tokyo, while Nippori has a lot of decent hotels and is very handy for the Keisei Skyliner fast train to Narita airport.

JR trains to Narita, and the Keikyu trains and Tokyo monorail to Haneda , also connect to the Yamanote. If you want to strike out further afield to Mt Fuji , Hakone or elsewhere in the Kanto region, all the major train termini are on the Yamanote as well. 

Do stick to the trains and subways, and don’t freak out 

Tokyo has a lot of train and subway lines, run by a lot of different companies and it can get confusing. For the most part, if you have a tap-to-pay card — see below — it’s really cheap (just a few hundred yen to go anywhere in central Tokyo) and it doesn’t matter what which company is running the line or whether it’s a subway or a train.

That’s true not least because some of the subway lines actually have commuter trains running through them, sometimes as expresses that don’t stop at every station. 

This can be a little confusing, but the worst that will happen is that you’ll get on a commuter train by mistake, go whizzing past the station you wanted, and have to double back a couple of stops by crossing the platform and waiting for the next train.

For most travellers, unless you’re staying somewhere way out of central Tokyo, you won’t need to use the complicated bus network or most of the commuter trains. 

A map of the Tokyo metro

Do use Google Maps for routefinding

Over the last few years Google Maps has got even better for international tourists, with step-by-step guides that include information about how and where to transfer, with both English and Japanese writing in the app.

It’s pretty handy, and for most travellers it’s the best way to get around. 

Don’t bring luggage, food or beverages

Tokyo’s public transport isn’t designed for luggage, especially suitcases. For your own sanity alone, don’t bring anything larger than a shoulder bag or backpack with you in rush hour, and nothing more than a small cabin bag with you in off-peak times.

Instead, use one of the takkyubin luggage services like Kuroneko Yamato, which will usually set you back only about ¥2000 or so. The exception is the Tokyo Monorail to and from Haneda Airport, so my trick if I have luggage is often to combine that with a taxi to my destination from Hamamatsucho, the monorail terminus in central Tokyo. 

Alternatively, take the airport limo bus, or if there are more than two of you then a taxi can be a good deal too. Ask your hotel.

As a rule, don’t eat on any train that doesn’t have a table that you could use for eating, which mainly means long-distance services. Drinking is fine on the platform, usually next to a vending machine where you can also find recycling bins for your bottle or can. 

A crowd of people are going through the turnstile at Tokyo metro

Don’t miss your last train

Compared with some other world cities, Tokyo’s public transport ends early — the last trains on some routes are before midnight. The information is displayed on platforms, and you can also run a search on Hyperdia, Jorudan or Google Maps, using an arrival time of, say, 0300, to figure out your last connections.

(If you do miss the last train, the first usually start running shortly after 0500, so time for an all-night karaoke session, napping in a manga café, or even heading to a capsule hotel or business hotel.) 

Don’t use your Japan Rail Pass

The Japan Rail Pass is great value for travelling between cities, but you won’t get great value out of using it within Tokyo. It’s also a bit of a faff: you have to show it at the staffed ticket windows rather than using the tap-to-pay gates, so you end up having to swim sideways against the flow of your fellow passengers.

And while there are 1, 2 and 3-day subway passes, I’ve never found these to be a particularly compelling buy compared with the pay-as-you-go Suica rate. 

A sign indicating where a number of Tokyo train platforms are located.

Do use a Suica or Pasmo tap-to-pay IC card

Japan has a nationwide network of tap-to-pay cards that are largely interchangeable between cities, and Tokyo’s JR version is called the Suica, while the private railways offer the Pasmo. It doesn’t matter which you get — they’re basically interchangeable.

An IC card like Pasmo or Suica works across the subway networks, JR trains, the Monorail… and in almost every shop in the city, which stops you from amassing a pocketfull of tiny plastic one and five yen coins. 

You can buy a Suica in most major stations, but note that you need to pay cash for it. There’s a deposit of ¥500, which you get back if you return it on the way back out of the country, minus a ¥220 charge if you have a balance of over that amount left on the card.

Do get a Suica on your phone

Many modern smartphones with NFC functionality let you electronically load a Suica onto their payment wallets. This is a bit complicated, so have a look for guides online on how to do it. A bonus: you can add value to it via credit card on your phone, using Apple Pay or the equivalent.

Do have fun on the trains!

Taking public transportation anywhere can be an amazing window into real life wherever you are. Peoplewatch, stand at the front window of the train and look out with a driver’s eye view, and take a moment to listen to the sounds of Tokyo. It’s worth enjoying.  

You might also enjoy: Top 20 free things to do in Tokyo How to spend a perfect weekend in Tokyo   Tokyo watchlist: films to see before your trip 

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the best way to travel around tokyo

Main content starts here.

Getting Around Tips

the best way to travel around tokyo

The Japan Rail (JR) network of trains covers the whole of the country and JR East is responsible for the network in the east of Japan including Tokyo.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Shinkansen (Bullet Train)

Shinkansen speeding in and out of Tokyo Station is synonymous with fast-paced and modern Tokyo.

the best way to travel around tokyo

The Tokyo Metro and The Toei Transportation —Japan's underground networks of trains—is as comprehensive as its over ground cousin.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Local Railways

Explore some of the lesser known areas of Tokyo and beyond by riding on local railways.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Tips on Taking Public Transport

Tokyo's public transportation system might be gargantuan and labyrinthine, but it is also efficient, punctual, and excellently maintained.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Buses can be a useful transportation alternative to trains if you are staying outside of the immediate city center.

the best way to travel around tokyo

When walking Tokyo's streets, a taxi is never too far away. Keep an eye out for green, yellow and black cabs.

the best way to travel around tokyo

With Tokyo's peerless public transportation system, it is unlikely you will need to rent a car if you are staying central throughout your stay.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Discovering Tokyo by bicycle is a fun way to explore the city offering you a wider range of sights and sounds that might otherwise be missed if you are traveling on other forms of public transport.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Going to Islands

Take a trip to Tokyo’s islands, full of unspoiled nature and local charm and easily accessible from the Kanto region by ship and plane.

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Cruise Ships & Waterbuses

The view of Tokyo at night is extra special when you’re free to choose your angle.

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International Cruises

The Port of Tokyo is your new gateway to Japan. Journey to any region of the country with convenient access to ships, planes, and trains.

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Domestic Air Travel

Book a seat on one of Japan’s low-cost carriers taking you to all corners of the country.

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Traveling to other cities

Explore further afield by taking public transport or driving to some of Japan’s most exciting cities

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The Secret to Getting Around Tokyo

June 8, 2022 by Robert Schrader Leave a Comment

On one hand, it’s not surprising that many travelers feel intimidated by the idea of getting around Tokyo . It’s the world’s biggest city, technically speaking, with a subway map that can look like a plate of tangled soba noodles.

On the other hand, there is a method to the madness of Tokyo’s transport networks. And once you understand it, making your way through the city is easy as can be.

No matter how many times you’ve been to Tokyo, or how confident you currently feel you understand the city’s geography, I hope you’ll continue reading. I’ll break down and demystify Tokyo’s various rail and road networks in a way that even total amateurs will find easy and engaging.

Why Tokyo Intimidates Travelers

Before I dig more specifically into how to get around Tokyo, let’s talk about why Tokyo terrifies travelers. Part of it is the sheer sprawl. Looking down on Tokyo from the Tokyo Skytree, it can seem like a literally endless array of high-rises, mid-rises and anonymous apartment blocks extending in all directions, with only Mt. Fuji towering in the background to unite it all. How could anyone ever make sense of this mess?

And yet Tokyo is anything but a mess. As I explain in my guide to Tokyo’s districts , the city is highly organized, in a way that takes geography, history and even culture into account. When you start with the big picture—Shinjuku and Shibuya in the west; Akihabara and Asakusa in the east—and then dig deeper into each district’s nooks and crannies, Tokyo seems less like one big city and more like many (specifically 23) not-so-big ones.

The Best Ways to Get Around Tokyo

Tokyo underground.

the best way to travel around tokyo

The most popular way to get around Tokyo is using one of its two underground networks: The Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway . For tourists, the most popular lines are the “red” Marunouchi Line (which directly connections Tokyo Station with Nakano , Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations) and the “orange” Ginza Line that links Asakusa and Shibuya.

The JR Lines

the best way to travel around tokyo

Trains operated by the Japan Railways (JR) corporation are an important part of getting around Tokyo—and, if you have a Japan Rail Pass , are totally free to use. The most important JR Line in Tokyo is the circular Yamanote Line , which loops around the city center connecting important destinations like Shinagawa , Shibuya , Shinjuku , Ueno , Akihabara and Tokyo Station . Other important JR Lines include the east-west Chuo and Chuo-Sobu Lines , and the north-south Keihin-Tohoku and Yurakucho Lines .

Private rail lines

the best way to travel around tokyo

You can generally navigate central Tokyo only using the underground and JR Lines, but more peripheral journeys may require the use of a private rail line. The Odakyu Line , for example, connect Shinjuku with spots in western Tokyo like Setagaya and Shimokitazawa . You can ride the Seibu Line from Ikebukuro and the Tobu Line from Asakusa , meanwhile, for day trips to Kawagoe and Nikko , respectively.

Airport rail lines

the best way to travel around tokyo

Before you travel around Tokyo, you need to make your way into the city. From Narita Airport , your options are the Narita Express (which goes to Tokyo and Shinjuku , and is covered by the JR Pass) and the private Keisei Skyline, which terminates in Ueno and must be paid in cash. From Haneda Airport , meanwhile, you can ride the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho and connect to JR Lines there, or take the private Keikyu Kuko Line , which becomes the Asakusa Line of the Toei Subway once it passes Sengakuji .

the best way to travel around tokyo

Although you can’t really use the Shinkansen bullet train to get around Tokyo, there are a couple of scenarios where it makes sense—namely, if you need to travel directly between Ueno , Tokyo and Shinagawa stations, and have a JR Pass. Otherwise, the Shinkansen is merely a means of leaving Tokyo behind. Board the northbound Tohoku -Hokkaido , Joetsu , Yamagata and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains at Tokyo or Ueno stations, and south- and westbound Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen trains from Tokyo or Shinagawa.

Other Ways to Explore Tokyo

Train is the most common way to get around Tokyo, but it’s not the only game in town. Here are some other ways to navigate Japan’s biggest city:

  • Bus: Although I wouldn’t recommend using ordinary city buses to explore Tokyo, “limousine” buses (and other long-distance bus services) can be a good option for reaching Haneda and Narita airports , and destinations in the Fuji Five Lakes region.
  • On foot: It surprises some travelers to learn, but individual neighborhoods of Tokyo (including very busy and seemingly huge ones like Shinjuku, Shibuya and Asakusa) are extremely walkable.
  • Taxi: Whether you use an old-school Tokyo taxi or use apps like Uber, private cars are a very expensive way to get around Tokyo, albeit necessary outside typical train operating hours.
  • Boat: It’s common to see boats docked along rivers and canals in Tokyo, but apart from tourist cruises along the Sumida River, there’s not really a common way for foreigners to navigate the city.
  • Rickshaw: Known in Japanese as a jinrikisha (literally, “human rickshaw”), these traditional vehicles are more of a novelty for exploring historical Asakusa, and not a feasible way to travel between different parts of Tokyo.

Other FAQ About Getting Around Tokyo

Is it hard to get around tokyo.

Getting around Tokyo is easy once you understand the way the city’s organized. Half the battle is knowing main stops along big subway lines, and the function major train lines like the Yamanote Line and Chuo Line serve within the city. Once you’ve done your homework, Tokyo is actually much easier to navigate than most other big cities in the world.

Is Tokyo transport cheap?

Tokyo transport is affordable compared to the relatively cost of living and traveling in Japan. One-way subway rides cost between ¥170-320 ($1.50-2.75), and multi-day passes can be even cheaper. Comparatively, in the Thai capital of Bangkok (where people earn less than 20% what Tokyoites do), one-way rides on the BTS SkyTrain can cost as more than 60 Baht (~$2), depending on the destination.

What time is the last train in Tokyo?

Contrary to popular belief, trains in Tokyo do not run 24 hours, except on certain holidays. As a general rule, you can expect the last Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway and JR Line trains to depart sometime between 12-1 AM, and slightly earlier for other train lines. If you don’t want to be forced into paying for a taxi, try to start making your way home before midnight to avoid getting stuck.

The Bottom Line

Is Tokyo easy to navigate? Sort of. Certainly, getting around Tokyo doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Once you understand the way the city’s subway systems and heavy rail lines snake their way around the city, the seeming labyrinth quickly untangles, at least inside your mind. If you read this guide before you travel, you’ll be confidently navigating Tokyo by the time your trip is over! The best thing about Tokyo? Once you’ve ridden the rails to get where you need to go, individual neighborhoods of Tokyo are surprisingly walkable. Make sure your next trip to Japan (in Tokyo and elsewhere) is one for the record books— commission a custom Japan itinerary today .

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Getting around

Getting around

There are lots of ways to get around the sprawling megapolis that is Tokyo and the Greater Tokyo area. Which is best however, depends on where you’re going, how much you money you want to spend and whether or not you like taking the scenic route. So let’s talk options.

Public transport

Tokyo is a great city for public transport with a strong network of train, subway and bus routes criss-crossing the city. While not as cheap as other countries the system is (almost) always on time, and will get you where you need to go. Don’t know the difference between Bullet trains, local trains and limited express trains? We’ve got you covered, read on.

Fun Fact: With the exception of Toei operated services, all other ‘public’ transport providers in Tokyo are actually privately owned.

Tokaido Shinkansen near Yurakucho

Bullet Trains

The shinkansen is a super-fast, easy way of getting from Tokyo to other parts of Japan. Yes, we’re talking about the world renowned Bullet Train. You can be in Kyoto in under three hours — and even back the same day if you like. If you’re going to be doing a lot of domestic travel, buying a Japan Rail Pass is probably a good idea — have a look at our JR Pass guide to see whether a countrywide or regional pass works best for you. Also see our guides on getting from Tokyo to popular destinations such as Osaka , Hiroshima , Kanazawa and Nagoya .

Trains & subways

To the uninitiated, the train and subway system in Tokyo can seem incredibly complicated. To help get your head around them we’ve put together a handy beginner’s guide to Japan’s rail system.

If you’re in town for more than 24 hours, we recommend buying a Suica/Pasmo IC card . These are credit card size cards that you charge up with credit and use instead of tickets to get on/off public transport. They are usable on all lines and they work all across Japan. This will save you so much hassle as you don’t have to think about which ticket to buy. You can even use them to pay for items from a vending machine and in some shops!

Suica Pasmo Travel IC Card

Some operators have one-day tickets that are a good deal, but read this guide  so you know which ones should be avoided (some are only useable on one subway company, which makes them pretty much useless).

For travel within the city, the bus system can be useful for making those trips that the subway doesn’t handle well — like Roppongi to Shimbashi. Fares are cheap and you can use Pasmo/Suica IC cards to pay. Working out which bus goes where and where you should get off however, is quite a task. We recommend asking a local and telling the driver where you’d like to go. For long distance travel out of Tokyo, highway buses are almost always the cheapest (and least comfortable) option.

Private transport

With such a well developed public transport system it’s not entirely surprising that many people living in Tokyo don’t have their own cars. That being said there are still private transport options around, but they often more expensive than public transport.

Taxis have a flag-fall of ¥ 730 , so even if you catch one for 100 m, this is how much it will cost. Once your trip reaches the ¥ 730 threshold, the figures on the meter will start to spin like the fruit on a one-arm bandit. Generally taxis are only a good deal if there are 4 of you. They can, however, be useful (and your only choice) if you’re stranded after last train or if you have too much luggage that you’d rather not take on public transportation. Read our step-by-step guide on  catching a taxi in Tokyo, including Uber and other ride sharing apps .

the best way to travel around tokyo

Some places or situations really will be easier if you have a car. Your choice in this case is whether to buy or rent. Luckily for you we have handy guides for both, here’s one for buying a car and one for rentals . Oh, and if you’re planning on heading out of town for a road trip, don’t forget about the road tolls .

After spending some time in Tokyo you’ll quickly realise that the bike culture here is strong. From a mother somehow balancing 3 children and herself on a single bike, to a high school student casually holding an umbrella in one hand while cycling through the rain, there’s no shortage of cyclists on the streets. If you want to join them you can once again choose to buy or rent .

No really, not only is this the most cheapo friendly option but it’s actually a great way to see the city. Central Tokyo is quite compact and as you can see from our walking map of the Tokyo subway system it won’t take you too long to walk from one station to another. If you need a little more convincing let 1 of these 6 routes inspire you.

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Tokyo   Travel Guide

the best way to travel around tokyo

Getting Around Tokyo

The best way to get around Tokyo is the subway. This extensive, efficient network will take you anywhere in the city as quickly as possible. The subway also connects to Tokyo's two major airports – Narita International Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND). The bus system is even more pervasive than the subway; however, it's subject to traffic delays and usually confuses travelers who don't know Japanese. The city is too massive to be covered on foot, but you should stroll through the individual neighborhoods to enjoy Tokyo's hustle and bustle. Taking a taxi can get costly, but will be necessary when the subway is closed late at night and early in the morning. And if you don't want to find a cab in the middle of Tokyo's chaos, the city has several ride-hailing apps, such as Uber.

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How to travel in Tokyo: Transportation for getting around in Japan

by Venese | Oct 23, 2020 | Blogs , Japan Travel | 0 comments

How to travel in Tokyo Transportation for getting around in Japan

Tokyo is one of the major cities of the world. With thousands of shops, restaurants, and so many other things to do, you can’t help but want to get out there and explore. But what’s the best way to travel within Tokyo? You can surely expect to walk, but along with that, there are many other ways of getting around.

Tokyo, and Japan in general, is known for having an extremely efficient public transportation system. Trains and buses are run on a strict schedule, and being on time is taken very seriously. It’s so important that the staff will apologize profusely for being even a minute late. 

You might be wondering what other ways you should get around if the public transportation is so good. The list goes on, so let’s learn about how to travel in Tokyo.

Find out more about Japan travel here: Shopping in Japan , the best souvenirs to buy in Japan , nature in Japan , camping in Japan , overnight & day trips from Tokyo , Top museums to visit in Tokyo , Local neighbourhoods in Tokyo and beaches near Tokyo .

Table of Contents

Train in Tokyo

Taking the train is the most common and popular way to get around. JR, which stands for Japan Rails, is the company that operates all of these trains and if you have a JR pass, the fees will be covered. The shinkansen—the famous bullet train—is the fastest way to travel from city to city.

It allows you to travel to many neighboring areas in the Kanto or Kansai region. Shinkansen are the perfect way to do a day, or weekend long trip. 

Subway in Tokyo

Subway trains run within major cities and are the most convenient way to travel within Tokyo. There are many different subway lines in Tokyo, operating a few companies. Keep in mind that although subways all look the same, transiting from one company to another requires you to tap out and tap in through the toll gates. That’s why we highly recommend you get a transportation card, to make this process easier. 

The two used widely around Tokyo are Suica, and Pasmo. Both work, and there isn’t much difference besides the companies that produce each card. If you are buying your first metrocard, go up to the staff usually located at the gates, and let them know you would like to buy one. 

After receiving it, you can now easily put money on your card using any of the ticket machines. Be aware that these machines only take cash.

Bus in Tokyo

Buses run in the areas of Tokyo to fill in the gap where trains don’t run. They are usually slower but a great way to see the city and different neighbourhoods. Overnight buses are a more affordable alternative to bullet trains or planes when travelling city to city.

You can find bus stops outside of metro stations and can use your metrocard to pay for the fare. You can also use coins if you prefer. Japanese buses are structured with buttons all throughout the interior, so riders can easily let the driver know when they need to get off. 

Despite the occasional traffic, buses are usually on time and value punctuality just like the train and metro system.

Taxi in Tokyo

Taxis in Japan are more expensive than other modes of transports but are a good option for hotel or airport pick ups/drop offs, or after the trains have stopped running. Keep in mind that most taxis charge an extra 20% between 10pm to 5am. 

While apps like Uber aren’t as popular in Tokyo, you can use an app called Japan Taxi to call a taxi to where you are. It works similarly to other car ride apps, although is run by an official taxi company. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about sketchy drivers. 

Walking in. Tokyo

There are countless things between stations and major areas, and taking a walk will allow you to see and experience those lesser-known places. If you like to walk, then exploring Tokyo on foot is a great option for you. We have a blog all about walking in Japan that you can check out here.

Tokyo is very hilly and certain parts of the sidewalk can be uneven despite being paved. Be sure to invest in some good walking shoes if you’re planning to come to Tokyo; your feet will thank you later.

While you’re strolling around the area, you may notice how many small parks are located around Tokyo. There are many scenic routes located in specific neighborhoods, such as the river in Nakameguro, or Yoyogi park. You’ll see people walking all around Tokyo and one of the best places to visually experience this is in Japan’s famous Shibuya Crossing.

A huge crosswalk located in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo, Shibuya Crossing is a popular tourist spot to take pictures or videos. You can see the hustle and bustle of Tokyo as people are walking from every direction at the massive intersection. It’s a great feeling to walk within this crowd, and we recommend going at least once during your trip.

Bicycle in Tokyo

Japanese people love using bicycles as a way to cut transportation costs. It is also a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the city. You can find bicycle rentals as well as bike share options all over the city. Check your accommodation as well and see if they offer bicycle rentals.

There are a variety of different bikes that are widely used like the mama-chari (“ Mom bike”), which gets its name from being associated with mothers who bike around doing errands. They often come with a small basket in the front, and maybe even a child seat in the back.

Other people use bikes specifically made for the sport of cycling, and some even have electric bikes that can help when going up a large incline for example. These are all great options, just make sure you register your bike if you buy one! It’s required to Japanese law to have your bike registered even if it’s a secondhand one, and you’ll need to have a light on it as well. Bike laws in Japan are more prominent than other countries since they are so widely used. 

There are rules such as no holding an umbrella while cycling and no wearing headphones. In Japanese shows you may see the romantic scene of a boy cycling while a girl sits on the back holding on, but this too is illegal in Japan as it is considered dangerous. 

Having said that, many of these bike laws aren’t strictly enforced, although we can’t guarantee that you won’t get caught.

Motorcycles/Scooters/Moped

Motorbike in Tokyo

Although it’s much more common for food delivery workers to be using a scooter or small moped to get around, a good amount of people use this method. In Tokyo they might be harder to find, as there really isn’t that much of a need (or space) since the public transportation is so efficient. However if you travel towards the outskirts of Tokyo in the more suburban areas, you’ll occasionally see people riding a motorcycle, scooter, or moped. 

The license is fairly easy to get here in Japan depending on what you’re planning to ride (for example the motorcycle license is harder than an electric scooter), but still less intensive than a car license. 

You can get around the area and easily find parking since the medium is smaller, and could be a convenient option for those planning to stay in Japan long-term.

Driving in Tokyo

If you’re planning on being in Japan for a long time and know that you’ll have to travel long distances, you may want to invest in a car. This is especially true if you’re travelling outside of Tokyo. 

Within Tokyo, however, you might find getting a car would cost you a lot. With parking space, tolls and heavy traffic, it might be better to use public transportation.

There are many “Car Share” services in Japan, especially in Tokyo, where you can rent a car for a duration for as short as an hour, and even 15 minutes. The price is incredibly low as well. You can check out Careco Car Sharing Services for my personal favourite (website in Japanese)!

Travel in Tokyo is easy and efficient. There are so many ways of getting around, and everything is reasonably close to each other. This makes it simple when looking to explore the city. 

We recommend having some sort of navigation app on your phone such as Google Maps. 

This will make it even easier to know how long it will take to get somewhere, how to get there, and what the commute will be like for different forms of transportation.

No matter what means of transportation you decide to use for getting around Tokyo, it’s simple and easy as everything is generally pretty close to each other. Try even checking around your local area and seeing what places are closest to you.

Stay tuned for more information about Japan travel , Japanese culture , moving to Japan , living in Japan , Japanese language and more. 

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17 Unmissable Things to do in Tokyo, Japan

17 Unmissable Things to do in Tokyo, Japan

Discover the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, the capital city of Japan — home to weird and wonderful sights, neon flashing lights, expansive gardens, tavern-filled alleys, and sensory food markets. This exciting city is hard to beat, offering a myriad of unforgettable adventures: peer through glass floors at the top of the city’s tallest skyscraper, wade through water in abstract art museums, devour rainbow-spun candy as you peruse cosplay shops, or enjoy moments of peace at sacred shrines. Experience it all with the top things to do in Tokyo!

Best Things to do in Tokyo

Tokyo is an enormous city, and there’s so much to see that you’ll definitely want to return again. Although busy, it doesn’t have the hectic feel of other Asian capital cities like Bangkok or Beijing.

shibuya crossing tokyo japan

This is mainly because of the unique Japanese culture, which centers around respect and good manners. In fact, it’s one of the safest cities in the world, meaning you can explore at any hour — although after dark is when the city really comes to life, with thousands of neon flashing lights leading the way to music-pumping restaurants and high-rise bars. 

Tip: Tokyo offers a good mix of city and nature activities, particularly as it has so many amazing green spaces. The city is also a great jumping-off point for day trips into nature, where you can really see the ‘authentic Japan’.

restaurant tokyo japan

1. Tokyo Skytree

Discover the tallest tower in the world! Yes, the Tokyo Skytree is not only the tallest structure in Japan but also the tallest tower globally, standing at a mammoth height of 634 meters. You can ascend the building to see breathtaking panoramic views of the city. On a clear day, you can even see Mount Fuji in the distance!

things to do in Tokyo skytree

Begin your trip to the pinnacle via the four different elevators (rocketing to the top at a speed of 50 seconds per section!). The Tembo deck is the first viewpoint you’ll reach at 350 meters with a knee-shaking glass floor, giving you fantastic views of Tokyo from a different perspective. ( Get your tickets here )

tokyo skytree view

At 450 meters, you’ll reach the Tembo Gallery, the Skytree’s highest viewpoint. Here, you’ll find 360-degree panoramic views — an unmissable thing to do in Tokyo!

We recommend visiting just before sunset so you can see the city transition from day to night. After dark is special when bright neon lights illuminate the sidewalks and buildings.

Hotels in Tokyo 😴

HOTEL 1899 TOKYO

Opening Times and Tickets for Tokyo Skytree

It’s best to book your tickets in advance so that you can get them at a slightly cheaper price.

  • Advance tickets for both decks (Tembo Deck and Tembo Gallery) cost 2,700 yen (19 USD)
  • Tembo Deck (the lower viewpoint) costs 1,800 yen (12 USD).
  • Don’t worry if you forget to book tickets in advance; you can buy tickets at a slightly higher price on the same day.
  • Please also keep an eye on the weather, as high winds can lead to closure.
  • Decks are open from 10 AM to 9 PM (last entry 8.20 PM)

Book your tickets for Tokyo Skytree in advance

Budget tip : On a budget? Head for the free observation deck in the metropolitan building at Shinjuku. 

the best way to travel around tokyo

2. Shinjuku Gyoen

Welcome to Shinjuku Gyoen – a tranquil oasis at the heart of bustling Tokyo, once only reserved for royalty. Escape the bright lights and crowds and enter a natural garden of 144 acres full of trees, traditional Japanese gardens, flowers, and unique plants.

things to do in Tokyo shinjuku gyoen

Situated right in the middle of the city, Shinjuku Gyoen is often compared to New York’s Central Park, providing an escape for Tokyo residents throughout different seasons of the year. See 900+ trees burst into color during the cherry blossom season and majestic oranges, yellows, and reds in the fall. 

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fall colored trees japan

Don’t miss the incredible greenhouse, which feels like an indoor jungle, like a small Cloud Forest in Singapore . It’s home to many tropical plants, some of which are rare and close to extinction. 

green house Shinjuku Gyoen tokyo

There are plenty of cafes and tea rooms throughout the park for refreshments. However, Starbucks deserves a special mention as it’s entirely made of windows and has a fantastic view of the park. 

Opening Times and Entry Fee: 500 yen (4 USD). Opening times are 9 AM – 5.30 PM (earlier in the winter season) and closed on Mondays. You can buy tickets on the day at the entrance or buy in advance here .

Shinjuku Gyoen starbucks

3. Teamlab Planets

One of the best things to do in Tokyo is to experience the magic of Teamlab Planets : a sensory museum experience with large-scale art spaces. Move through a series of rooms, each home to a unique experience, from giant glowing orbs and lights to water spaces filled with flowers and mirrors. ( reserve your tickets in advance here )

best things to do tokyo japan teamlab planets

As you move through the abstract art experience, you’ll be accompanied by classical music. This, combined with the 3D visuals, makes for an awe-inspiring yet tranquil experience. 

What to Wear to Teamlab Planets

Each room in Teamlab Planets offers a different sensory experience. The most important things to note are:

  • You walk through the rooms barefoot. In two rooms, you’ll walk through water, one up to your ankles and the other up to your knees. For this reason, we recommend wearing loose trousers that you can roll up above your knees.
  • You can also rent shorts at the start if you prefer. 

17 Unmissable Things to do in Tokyo, Japan

  • We don’t recommend wearing a skirt to Teamlab Planets due to the many floor mirrors (for obvious reasons!). 
  • The rooms can get warm, so leave your sweater in the lockers at the beginning.
  • You can take your phone or camera with you. However, because of the water, do so at your own risk.

teamlab tokyo

Tickets for Teamlab Planets, Tokyo

This is one of the most popular experiences in Tokyo, and tickets get booked quickly, so we recommend booking ahead to avoid disappointment. Additionally, tickets are only released a couple of months in advance. Best is to choose one of the earliest time slots.

The ticket price is 3,800 yen (27 USD), and you can reserve your tickets in advance online .

visit teamlab tokyo

4. Sensō-ji

Sensō-ji is one of the most sacred sites in the world and the most visited temple in Japan! The traditional red temple, home to a stunning 5-story pagoda, is particularly important to the Japanese and Tokyo residents. It is also the location of many important festivals throughout the year. 

best things to do in tokyo japan Sensō-ji

Legend has it that two brothers found a Kannon statue in the river, and when they let it go, it kept returning to them. The area’s chief at the time recognized this phenomenon and wanted to house the statue in his home. He even remodelled it to become a place of worship — which is now Sensō-ji. 

senso-ji temple tokyo

Visiting Sensō-ji

As you enter the main gates, you’re greeted by gigantic red pillars and Japanese lanterns, making for a great photo. There are also many food and souvenir stalls if you want to take something away to commemorate your visit.

google maps phone

Once inside, you’ll see the main temple, which you can enter. However, if you’re not religious, the interior itself is not as attractive as the external grounds, although it is special to see people praying.

Please note that the pagoda interior is fenced off, and you cannot take photos.

gate senso-ji

Entry and Opening Times: Admission is free. The main hall is open from 6.30 AM to 5 PM every day from October to March. In the summer, opening hours are extended to 5.30 PM. 

Tip: The temple is lit up at night from sunset until 11 PM, and the temple grounds are always open, making it a lovely spot to hang out in the evening. Alternatively, the Tokyo Skytree overlooks the site, offering a great view of the illuminated temple.

tokyo Sensō-ji stalls

5. Kōkyo Castle / Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace of Tokyo is an icon of the city — a fortified castle that sits high up on a stone embankment surrounded by a moat. The imperial family live here, giving it extraordinary importance in Japan. 

things to do in Tokyo kokyo castle

Although the palace itself is not open to the public in general, it’s surrounded by a vast park, so there’s plenty to explore. There is the option to apply to join a free guided tour of the palace grounds to learn more about its interesting history (10 AM and 1.30 PM daily). Otherwise, simply wander among the beautiful Japanese gardens, cross the pretty stone bridges, or relax in the grassy park. 

Note: The palace is not open to the public as it’s still the official residence of the imperial family. However, on important days of the year, the public can enter the external sections to wave at important family members who greet visitors from the balcony.

tokyo castle

Chidorigafuchi Park

On the other side of the moat, on the west side, you will find another small park called Chidorigafuchi Park. This relatively undiscovered spot is home to some of the best cherry blossom viewpoints in the city.

Rent a rowboat (open from March to November) and explore the waters surrounding the palace. This is particularly impressive in Spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

things to do in Tokyo imperial palace

6. Shibuya Crossing

Think of Tokyo, and the incredible setting of Shibuya Crossing immediately jumps to mind. This is the busiest crossing in Japan, if not in the world, where surrounding skyscrapers, huge glowing advertisements, and flashing traffic lights bathe pedestrians in a neon glow as they cross the intersection.

best things to do tokyo japan shibuya crossing

Prepare for all your senses to be sparked as you move among the many people, with music coming from all directions (shopping malls, advertisements, and music).

Although this area is one of the busiest in the city, in true Japanese fashion, it’s still exceptionally organized and respectful, with traffic lights and the politeness of Japanese people (you won’t experience any beeping here!). 

Tip: Want to see Shibuya crossing from above? Head for Shibuya Sky (reserve far in advance), an observation deck that costs 2,200 yen (15 USD) to enter. Another option is MAGNET by SHIBUYA109 , a good viewpoint on the top of a shopping mall. Tickets cost 1,500 yen (10 USD), including a drink.

tokyo japan travel guide

7. Shinjuku

Exploring the liveliest neighborhood in the city is one of the top things to do in Tokyo! Shinjuku offers the real Tokyo experience: streets full of neon flashing lights, shiny 3D advertising, such as the iconic 3D cat, and small alleyways filled with tiny bars. 

Also read: Best Things To Do in Osaka, Japan .

things to do in Tokyo shinjuku 3D cat

Head for Kabukicho, the famous entertainment district that never sleeps, where you’ll find the brightest lights in the city and Japan’s renowned karaoke bars. For this reason, we recommend visiting Shinjuku at night, when you’ll be able to make the most of the themed restaurants (like Alice in Wonderland), nightclubs, and quaint drinking holes. 

Tip: If you’re looking for something more upmarket, Shinjuku also has plenty of luxury bars, including the Park Hyatt Hotel . This hotel is famous for its incredible city view, especially at sunset. It was also the setting for some of the scenes in the Hollywood movie ‘Lost in Translation’ with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanson. 

shinjuku tokyo japan

The Godzilla Head

Fans of Godzilla, or just those who want to see something truly out of the ordinary, should look out for the Godzilla head. This life-size scale model of the fictional character looks like he’s attacking a colossal building — just like in the movies!  Here is the exact location .

Tip: Want an incredible view of Shinjuku for free? Take the elevator to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, where the viewing deck is free to visitors. It’s a budget alternative to the Sky Tree, and you can still see Mount Fuji on a clear day!

things to do in Tokyo shinjuku godzilla head

The unique area of Golden Gai in Shinjuku is an absolute must-see in Tokyo! This authentic area comprises narrow streets and many cozy taverns, some hidden away, making exploring fascinating. It’s entertaining to visit at night when it comes to life with locals and tourists. Grab the location from our Japan map or see the location . 

Tip: Golden Gai is the best place to make friends since all the bars are so tiny. Most only fit 10-15 people, so you’ll have to sit very close to each other. Order a soju and simply drink in the typically Japanese atmosphere.

the best way to travel around tokyo

Omoide Yokocho

Explore another vibrant and traditional area in Shinjuku: Omoide Yokocho! The small timeworn buildings are home to various BBQ joints — billowing out smoke — that starkly contrast with the towering nearby skyscrapers.

Did you know? Omoide Yokocho translates as ‘memory lane’ because it gives everyone who visits a nostalgic feeling.

things to do in Tokyo shinjuku omoide yokocho

8. Shimokitazawa

What better way to spend an afternoon than vintage shopping in the trendiest district of Tokyo: Shimokitazawa! This spiderweb of streets is made up of thrift stores, record shops, street art, and plenty of aesthetic cafes — frequented by all the most stylish people of the city, each hunting through the shops to find their vintage treasures. 

things to do in Tokyo shimokitazawa thrift store

In true Japanese style, vintage shopping in Tokyo is exceptionally well organized, with various styles and sizes. However, as thrift shopping has become a ‘culture’ of its own in Japan, its popularity is reflected in the prices. Because of this, it’s not easy to source ‘cheap finds,’ but all the pieces are so beautiful it’s worth the price tag! 

Some of our favorite shops:

  • Little Trip to Heaven
  • New York Joe

Tokyo shimokitazawa streets

9. Trip to Fuji

No trip to Tokyo would be complete without a visit to Mount Fuji , and the good news is that it’s easily accessible on a day trip! The incredible area around Mount Fuji is home to five beautiful lakes, which you can visit for stunning views of the active volcano.

See our travel guide to Best Things to do at Mount Fuji .

trip from tokyo to mt fuji japan

The natural beauty here is exceptional, and in each season, you’ll find something different to look at, whether it’s the reds of the fall forests, the cherry blossom hues in Spring, or the snow-capped peak of the volcano in winter. Mount Fuji is truly our favorite part of Japan! 

See tickets and availability for a tour to Fuji from Tokyo

mt fuji hotel day trip from tokyo

Tip: Mount Fuji is doable on a day trip from Tokyo (a 2.5-hour drive). However, if you have more time, we recommend doing a multi-day trip to enjoy all the fantastic things to do in the Fuji region. There are stunning waterfalls to explore and multiple beautiful shrines that bask in the shadow of the volcano.

We recommend to rent a car in Japan through Rentalcars.com with many rental locations and flexible cancellation. Book your rental car here .

mt fuji japan waterfall

10. See the Snow Monkeys

Seeing snow monkeys in their natural habitat is a bucket list experience and, without a doubt, one of the best things to do on your trip to Tokyo! Just a 3-hour drive away is the city of Nagano, which is a jumping-off point to see these remarkable animals.

More about: Snow Monkeys Park and its Hot Springs

day trip from tokyo to snow monkeys japan

Frolicking in the woodland, discover the cheeky red-faced creatures who come into their element in the winter when the snowy conditions motivate them to kick back and relax in the nearby hot springs.

Tickets for the natural park are 800 yen (6 USD) which you can purchase at the entrance. See opening times and ticket prices here .

the best way to travel around tokyo

There are other onsens (springs) in Yudanaka town that are accessible to humans. You’ll find plenty of them on your trip to this area, so do as the locals do and wear the traditional Yukata robe and Geta sandals as you make your way to the bathhouses. 

Please note that you are prohibited from entering Onsens if you have tattoos, this is due to the long-running stigma of tattoos in Japan.

japanese onsen

Tip: Visiting in winter? The area where the snow monkeys live (Jigokudani Valley) is in the mountains, where you’ll find fantastic snow conditions and some of Japan’s best ski resorts.

Join this day tour to see the snow monkeys, which leaves from Tokyo and includes entrance and return transportation.

japanese slippers

11. Trip to Kamakura

A world away from the bright neon lights of Tokyo, but just 1.5 hours by car, is the charming fishing village of Kamakura. Quite unexpectedly, this Japanese seaside town is a favorite for surfers and city slickers who come here for their beach holidays. 

things to do in Tokyo japan kamakura buddha

Enjoy some downtime here — explore the hiking trails, take in the views of the sea (with Mount Fuji visible inland), and swim during the summer months. The town is also home to some fantastic ancient architecture and beautiful temples and shrines, making it exceptionally peaceful. 

kamakura japan day trip from tokyo

Tip: Started your trip from Tokyo early? Get your breakfast + coffee at the Delifrance bakery at the train station in Kamakura. From here, you can take the bus or the train to other spots in the city.

Get a Japan Rail Pass to use throughout your trip!

old tram kamakura japan

12. See a Sumo Game

Seeing Japan’s national sport take place in real-time is one of the top things to do in Tokyo! The country is famous worldwide for the unusual and ancient sport of Sumo wrestling (Basho), which has been practiced in Japan for thousands of years. During the game, each athlete attempts to push the other out of the circular ring while wearing the traditional loincloth called a mawashi. 

Buy your tickets for a Sumo wrestling tournament here

things to do in Tokyo sumo game

Buy tickets for one of the arenas in Tokyo and watch this epic game unfold! We recommend joining a tour that includes tickets, reserved seating, and a guide who can explain more about the game’s history and how it works.

For something a little different, join a tour to see the morning practice. Watch the wrestlers’ rigorous training routine and snap a photo or two with your favorites!

Join this popular tour to see the Sumo morning practice

sumo game tokyo japan

13. Go Kart through Tokyo

Experience one of the most popular things to do in Tokyo: an exhilarating Go Kart ride through the city ! Ditch the typical tour bus and get behind the wheel of this adrenaline-pumping car, making your way down the fast-paced roads of Tokyo. A guide will lead you and tell you all about the most iconic sights as you go.

things to do in Tokyo go kart

To make this experience even more memorable, you can pick from various fun costumes to brighten the day — and create incredible photos for your trip. 

See availability for a Go Kart tour through Tokyo!

go kart tour tokyo japan

14. Koishikawa Korakuen

Located in the district of Koishikawa, discover the botanical gardens of Koishikawa Korakuen, which is also thought to be the oldest Japanese garden in Tokyo! Traditional Japanese gardens throughout the country are designed with ponds, stones, and bridges to mimic the natural beauty of the landscapes, and Koishikawa Korakuen is no different. 

Opening Times and Entrance Fee: 9 AM – 5 PM. Entrance 300 yen (2 USD)

the best way to travel around tokyo

The maple and cherry trees in this botanical garden burst into different colors according to the season. We visited in the fall when we had a vibrant mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows. The trees also attract some incredible bird species, making the botanical gardens popular for bird watchers. You might even have the chance to spot the graceful Kingfisher.

koishikawa korakuen tokyo japan botanical garden

15. Takeshita Street in Harajuku

At the heart of the Harajuku district, you’ll find the most colorful and busy street in Tokyo! Takeshita Street is weird and wonderful, with various stores selling bright, eccentric clothing — everything from anime costumes to platform heels and velvet bows. It’s overwhelming but brilliant all at the same time, with loud music, strange candy vendors, crepes, and fluorescently colored shopfronts. 

takeshita street harajuku tokyo japan

Although Takeshita Street is the most famous in the area, we recommend crossing the street and wandering around the rest of Harajuku. It’s much more chilled, home to contemporary art galleries, vintage stores, collectible sneakers, and luxury brands — a complete mix!

cute crepe patisserie

16. Meiji Shrine

After the hustle and bustle of Harajuku, visit the neighboring peaceful oasis of Meiji. This stunning Shinto shrine is set in the middle of Tokyo in a tranquil forest of over 100,000 trees. 

The park’s entrance is close to Harajuku station. First, pass through the Torii Gate (traditional gates that mark where the ordinary world ends and the sacred world starts) and then enjoy a relaxing 15-minute stroll through the parkland to reach the Meiji Shrine.

things to do tokyo meiji shrine

Once there, you’ll see people cleaning, performing religious tasks, and praying to the gods. You can also write out your wishes for the gods on the wooden tablets (Ema) placed near the shrine — a beautiful and spiritual moment during your time in Tokyo. 

Note: Because the shrine is sacred, photos are prohibited at the main Meiji Jingu.

tokyo japan meiji shrine

If you want some refreshments, we recommend visiting a small garden inside the park, where you’ll find an old tea house that you can enter for the price of 500 yen (3.50 USD)

Opening Times and Entrance Fee : The shrine is open from sunrise to sunset with no entrance fee. If you wish to visit the museum, tickets cost 1000 yen (7 USD).

One of the best things to do in Tokyo, the Hie shrine is definitely worth a stop on your city trip. If you’ve already visited Kyoto , you’ll notice it looks similar to the famous red shrine of Fushimi Inari Taisha. 

Also read: Things to do in Kyoto, Japan

the best way to travel around tokyo

This sacred spot sits on a hilltop in the city, with a gigantic cherry tree at the entrance, which makes the shrine look extra special in spring. Although the shrine is lovely, the most beautiful element of the whole site is at the back entrance. Here, you’ll find 90 exquisite red torii gates, each painted with Japanese characters, that form a long tunnel.

Opening times: 6 AM to 5 PM. Free entrance.

17. Tsukiji Outer Market

Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Tsukiji Outer Market – Tokyo’s famous fish market! Sprawling over a few blocks, the fish market is enormous, filled with hundreds of stalls, all selling different kinds of seafood, complete with bright signs and price markers. It’s a great spot to see what local life is like as you watch restaurants and locals buying their fish for dinner.

Tip: The busiest streets are Tsukiji Nishi-dōri and Tsukiji Naka-dōri, so head there for the liveliest experience.

the best way to travel around tokyo

We recommend trying some of Japan’s delicacies: fresh, thinly sliced sashimi, oysters, sushi rolls, or BBQ-ed fish. The best way to do so is to join a food tour, as the tour guide will recommend the best stalls to visit and also give you some fun facts about the market.

See availability for a tour of Tsukiji Outer Market

tokyo fish market

Top Tips for Visiting Tsukiji Outer Market 

  • Opening times 9 AM – 2 PM (closed on Sundays and Wednesdays)
  • Arrive before 10 AM (afterwards, it gets crowded)
  • Prepare yourself for the strong fish smell – it’s not for the faint of heart! 
  • Wear closed-toes shoes as the floor is wet. Avoid wearing sandals or high heels.
  • Some stalls don’t accept credit cards, so take cash just in case.

fish market tokyo japan

Best Restaurants & Cafes in Tokyo

Tokyo has to be one of the best places to eat in the world! You can look forward to dining on all the Japanese favorites like Sushi, Ramen, and Soba noodles, whether you purchase from market vendors or dine at high-end fusion restaurants.

matcha cafe japan in bamboo forest

In reality, every kind of food you can imagine is sourceable in Tokyo; you’ll also find plenty of Italian and French restaurants and plentiful bakeries serving freshly baked pastries – most delicious when eaten warm first thing in the morning. Some of our favorites are:

  • Bricolage Bread & Co
  • Sushi Ishii
  • Citron Aoyama
  • Fuglen Asakusa
  • Palermo Akasaka
  • Falafel Brothers
  • & sandwich.
  • Afuri Ramen

best sushi restaurant tokyo japan

Top Tip: It’s no secret that Tokyo is expensive, so if you’d like to have a quick snack or an affordable takeaway lunch, we recommend going to the supermarkets 7-Eleven, Family Mart, or Lawson. You can find delicious Onigiri (a rice ball with fish inside and packed in crunchy seaweed) or even mix a cup of frozen fruits into a smoothie.

Make sure to bring your reusable water bottle with you; you can drink water from the taps in most places in Japan! This is a good way to save money and travel plastic-free .

7-eleven onigiri tokyo japan

Where to Stay in Tokyo

Tokyo is a massive city with neighborhoods to suit every kind of traveler. Even if you choose to stay further out, the fantastic metro system makes it easy to travel between districts. 

We stayed in the neighborhood of Akasaka , which is close to many of the top things to do in Tokyo and has great restaurants and cafes. It also has excellent train connections, yet it is still away from the main crowds.

best hotels tokyo japan

Hotels near Shinjuku station are also a good option (particularly good for nightlife and restaurants). The same is true for the area surrounding Tokyo Station , which provides the most connections to the rest of the city.

  • Hotels near Shinjuku Station
  • Hotels at Tokyo Station
  • Hotels at Akasaka

the best way to travel around tokyo

How Many Days in Tokyo?

There are so many incredible things to do in Tokyo that we recommend spending at least two days exploring. Three to four days would be perfect (this excludes day trips), allowing you to visit all the main sites and leave plenty of time for dining, nightlife, and museums. 

Tokyo is an excellent jumping-off point for day trips in Japan, primarily because of the superfast bullet trains that can take you out of the city in a matter of minutes. 

streets tokyo

How to Visit Tokyo

Tokyo has two international airports that serve the city, Haneda and Narita. Narita is further away (60 KM east of the city), so we recommend flying into Haneda for ease.

From here, it’s just a 30-minute train into the city center, or you can arrange a private transfer if you have a lot of luggage.

Book your airport transfer in advance

tokyo train station

There is a lack of elevators and escalators in Tokyo’s metro stations, making it more challenging to maneuver your suitcase when traveling into the city. Because of this, luggage transfer services are very common. For example, Yamato Transport can arrange to bring your luggage from the airport to your hotel and vice versa.

Tip: It’s best to get an eSim in advance so you’re directly connected when you land in Japan. Buy your sim online here .

metro tokyo japan

Getting Around

Getting around Tokyo is super easy; the organized Japanese public transport system makes traveling a dream! Metros and trains reach every corner of the city, and best of all, they’re super affordable. 

Note: Because the travel network in Tokyo is so organized, you’ll never experience delays; trains and metros depart precisely at the minute specified.

Walking around the city is highly recommended. It’s the best way to take in the vibe of Tokyo, and there’s something out of the ordinary to see on every street corner. When you get tired, you can download a taxi app (Uber and GoTaxi are the best, with GoTaxi being the cheaper option).

trendy japanese family

Is the JR Pass worth it? ( Calculate it here ) The Japan Rail Pass gives you unlimited access to all public transport throughout Japan, so it’s a great option if you plan on taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) several times. It’s also multi-use for other trains, ferries, and buses throughout the country. 

Buy your Japan Rail Pass in advance

jr pass bullet train japan

How Much Does Tokyo Cost?

Like most of Japan, Tokyo upholds its reputation as one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, we were pleasantly surprised that entrance tickets, food and public transport cost much less than anticipated. The higher costs were for accommodation, which is more expensive than anywhere else in the country. Because of this, we recommend booking well in advance to try and score the cheapest deal. 

Tip: Capsule hotels are very popular in Tokyo, offering a budget alternative to the traditional hotel experience. 

Costs of Traveling in Tokyo

Travel on a budget in Tokyo, from $480 − $950 USD weekly per person, mid-range $2100 − $4230 USD, and high-end from $3880 − $6030 USD. However, costs depend on factors like accommodation, transportation, and activities. We did not include flights. Check flight prices here

  • Hotels: $150 − $500 USD Check available hotels
  • Hostels: $20 − $85 USD Check available hostels
  • Transport: $5 − $50 USD Book public transport
  • Car Rental: $35 − $150 USD Book a rental car
  • Food: $30 − $150 USD
  • Activities: $10 − $50 USD See tickets & tours
  • Sim: $1 − $5 USD Get an eSIM or SIM here
  • Travel Insurance: $2 − $6 USD Get Travel Insurance

vintage store tokyo japan

Best Time to Visit Tokyo

With so many things to do in Tokyo, you can visit at any time of the year and be spoilt for choice. However, the most beautiful season is Spring when the cherry blossoms are out, covering the city in pink flowers. Bear in mind that this is also the most popular time to visit, raising prices and demand for accommodation. 

Note: Although many sights in Tokyo can get busy, it’s rarely hectic as a result of the fantastic organization and good manners of the Japanese people.

Fall is an excellent alternative. It’s still busy, but it’s a little less expensive than Spring. You’ll still get to see the maple trees burst into the typical fall colors, which creates a fiery backdrop to Tokyo’s towering skyscrapers and neon lights.

Tip: In both seasons, fall and spring, you’ll need to book ahead for tours, tickets, and accommodations to avoid disappointment.

Shinjuku Gyoen park tokyo japan

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A beginner’s guide to visiting Tokyo: Everything you need to eat, see and do

Samantha Rosen

There's a reason everyone and their mother is going to visit Tokyo these days. It's one of the most incredible destinations on Earth, and I fell head over heels in love with this city on a recent trip.

When you go, you'll understand why.

Now, when I tell you I spent as much time planning my itinerary as I did putting together the TPG beginner's guide , it's not an exaggeration. I spent hours researching, calling, emailing — pretty much everything except sending a carrier pigeon to the other side of the world — to make sure I had the most incredible experience ever. And it paid off. Fortunately, I created this guide so you don't have to do the same before your first trip to Tokyo. Just do me a solid and enjoy every second of the trip, OK?

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

Where to eat in Tokyo

If you know anything about me, you know that my life revolves around where I'm eating. Considering that Tokyo is one of the culinary capitals of the world, you can imagine how excited — and overwhelmed — I was before the trip. I reviewed everything from Instagram to Tabelog (Japan's version of Yelp), and then crosschecked online reviews to make sure these restaurants deserved to make the final cut.

Keep in mind that it can be difficult to make online restaurant reservations in Tokyo. There's no Resy or OpenTable to speak of. So, your best bet is using some type of concierge service from either your hotel or credit card (think: the Amex Platinum Concierge ).

Also, I think there's a misconception that you have to spend a lot of money to visit Tokyo. Yes, you can absolutely splurge on omakase and Wagyu (I'll get to that in a minute), but you can also find inexpensive street food or pop into a no-frills sushi, ramen or udon restaurant that'll make your wallet and stomach very happy. You can do Japan on a budget, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Related: 3 ways to do Tokyo on points

Where to get sushi in Tokyo

First thing's first: I knew I needed to stuff my face with as much sushi as possible, and there was one restaurant I kept seeing pop up again and again: Sushi-Ya.

Sushi-Ya is an eight-seat omakase restaurant in the the Ginza district of Tokyo (right near the Conrad !) and was the most incredible sushi experience I've ever had. I mean, just look at this tuna:

Photo courtesy of author

Chef Ishiyama was warm and welcoming, and explained every piece I was going to eat during the two-hour ordeal. This was a real treat, since many sushi chefs don't speak English; it can be intimidating if you don't speak the language. It was far and away the most expensive meal I had in Japan, but worth every single penny yen.

That wasn't my only sushi journey, though. I was also able to get a reservation at Isana Sushi Bar, a slightly more casual sushi spot I kept seeing pop up during my research. Chef Junichi Onuki was another near-fluent English-speaking chef, and the fish here was high-quality without being too pricey. I ended up chatting with a family from California who was also visiting, and we got into a long conversation about — you guessed it — sushi. Chef Onuki chimed in, as well, and it made for a really memorable start to my trip.

Where to get noodles in Tokyo

Let's talk about ramen for a second. Of course, Tokyo is full to the brim with ramen shops, similar to (but better than) Ippudo locations all over the U.S. But the real treat here is tsukemen . It's a Japanese specialty where the cold noodles are served in a bowl separate from the warm broth. You dip the cold noodles in the broth and then you reach ramen Nirvana. It's all part of the experience. The best tsukemen I had was at Fuunji, followed closely by Rokurinsha on Ramen Street in Tokyo Station. You'll inevitably end up waiting in line for each for about an hour or so, but since it's Japan, everything is efficient and moves quickly.

Oh, and did I mention that you'll order using a vending machine?

I also knew I needed to dive into a bowl of udon, and Shin Udon seemed like the place to go (coincidentally, it was right around the corner from Fuunji). It was a few minutes away from the Park Hyatt in an unassuming little room. They even line people up on another street as to not block the tiny little entrance. If you're staying anywhere in Shinjuku — and even if you're not — add this to your list.

Related: Inside Tokyo's bizarre robot restaurant

The best restaurants in Tokyo

Now, you'll think I've lost my mind for what I'm about to tell you, but believe me when I say I ate the best pizza I've had in my life in Tokyo ; I'm a native New Yorker and have traveled multiple times to various cities around Italy, but the pizza at Seirinkan blew all the other slices out of the water. It was as close to perfect as you can get. I found this place through chef David Chang's "Ugly Delicious" show on Netflix , and he said the same thing: You'll think he's crazy, but it really is the best pizza in the world. If you don't believe me, go see for yourself. If you do believe me, well, bring your stretchy pants. I'd definitely recommend making a reservation, too. I got mine through the concierge at the Conrad hotel , and you can probably use a similar strategy, or call the Amex Platinum concierge.

Photo courtesy of author

If you thought my culinary extravaganza was over, you'd be wrong.

I kept seeing these delicious-looking wagyu beef sandwiches pop up on social media and knew I needed to taste one for myself. I ultimately landed on a shop called Wagyumafia and it did not disappoint. Granted, it was also probably the most expensive sandwich I have ever and will ever order (it cost about $30), but how can you say no to a fried wagyu sandwich? You can't.

You know you're in a good spot when everyone in the restaurant is Japanese. Enter: Tempura Kondo. This restaurant, tucked away on the fifth floor of a building in Ginza, turns out some of the best fried food I've ever had. Just follow the people getting in the elevator and you'll know you're in the right place. Those two Michelin stars aren't for nothing.

Fluffy pancakes are also a must in Japan, and trust me, I had more than my fair share. In Tokyo, I went to Bills Ginza and A Happy Pancake; I inhaled my pancakes in minutes. Of the two, I would choose Bills — the quality of the food was better, and the overall vibe of the restaurant was more relaxed and fun. Safe to say I stayed pretty carbohydrated during my trip.

And if you don't stock up on snacks (hello, matcha Kit Kats!) and a daily chicken katsu sandwich at 7/11 , Lawson or FamilyMart, you're doing it wrong.

Like I said: Tokyo is an eating extravaganza.

Related: 10 things no one tells you about Tokyo

What to see and do in Tokyo

You could spend your entire life in Tokyo and still never run out of things to see and do. It's just that massive. Assuming you're just visiting for a few days, however, and not relocating there, these are the things you should prioritize.

Yes, you keep seeing it on Instagram , but there's a reason: It's called teamLab Borderless, and it's cooler in real life than it is on your phone. I was skeptical about it at first, thinking it was just another "Instagram pop-up," but this interactive light museum and installation can take hours to properly explore. The most popular exhibit (see below) had a pretty long line — about 20 minutes or so — when I was there, but it was absolutely incredible.

Photo courtesy of @ElleFlorio/Unsplash

You should definitely make it a point to visit the famed Tsukiji Market when in Tokyo. While the inner market — the place where the tuna auction took place — moved to Toyosu Market, you can still visit the outer market at Tsukiji to eat all the fish your heart desires without shelling out the big bucks. I had an oyster the size of my face for about $2; a giant octopus skewer; and a tuna, salmon and sea urchin situation that was unlike anything else I've ever eaten. All of this cost me less than $20.

Another favorite locale was Ameyoko Ueno market. Visiting markets while you're traveling is a great way to get a feel for the people and the culture, and at Ameyoko, you'll find cheap shopping, authentic cuisine and approachable residents who can introduce you to Tokyo.

No trip to Tokyo is complete without a quick trip to Shibuya Crossing, the busiest intersection in the world. The surrounding area has great shopping (Tower Records), so you definitely want to take a few minutes to cross the street and feel the heartbeat of the city. I've also heard the Starbucks at the corner has the best aerial views, but I didn't have time to make the trip there.

the best way to travel around tokyo

You'll also want to visit the Harajuku area, the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. Take a walk down colorful Takeshita Street — just be prepared for a sensory overload in the best way possible. If you're a cotton candy fan, stop at Totti Candy Factory.

Steps away from Harajuku, you'll find Meiji Jingu, a beautiful Shinto shrine. It's dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. I'm not a religious person at all, but it was a deeply spiritual experience. I really liked writing down my wishes in an envelope and putting them away in a box. It all felt very "Eat, Pray, Love." The shrine is located in Yoyogi Park, which is a gorgeous, sprawling green park in the middle of Shibuya. I went early before the crowds, and it was the definition of Japanese Zen.

In Asakusa, you'll find Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple and the oldest in Tokyo. Everything I'd ever dreamt about Japan came to life here. Be sure to bathe in some of the smoke from the incense, since it's said to have healing powers.

My favorite shopping was in Shinjuku. I kept seeing the name Komehyo pop up during my research, and decided to make a trip to the store's flagship in this neighborhood . I ended up getting a bag I've had my eye on for years, and it cost me less than half of what it would have cost at home. And thrift stores are a thing in Japan. They resemble actual department stores, and have enough luxury goods to make your head spin — and since it's Japan, everything is in pristine condition.

If you're even remotely a fan of the Grateful Dead, you need to visit Chi Chi's. It's a little off the beaten path in the Setagaya City neighborhood, but is a well-known destination for Deadheads. Chi Chi and Merry, the owners, were so warm and welcoming, and we ended up talking for an hour about music, travel, Japan and food. The best things in life, if you ask me. All the shirts are handmade, and you could easily spend an entire day there browsing and chatting with Chi Chi and Merry. Merry even let me take a picture with her signed copy of John Mayer's "The Search for Everything" album that she got back when Dead & Company went to visit the shop in April.

View this post on Instagram   A post shared by CHI-CHI'S (@chichis_1985) on Jun 21, 2019 at 12:46am PDT

Where to stay in Tokyo

With so many hotels in Tokyo, it can be hard to narrow it all down. Trust me, I know the feeling.

I ended up staying in two hotels during my trip: Both the Conrad and Park Hyatt . While I'm more or less obsessed with the Conrad and can't recommend it highly enough, the Park Hyatt definitely fell below my expectations.

(Photo by Samantha Rosen / The Points Guy)

These are two of the city's most high-end points properties, but I promise there's something for everyone and every budget here.

Take, for example, the wealth of Marriott hotels in the city. There are two Courtyard properties — one in Ginza , the other near Tokyo station — both available from 35,000 points per night. There's also a Westin (rates start at 50,000 points per night) and, one step up from there, a Ritz-Carlton (rates start at 85,000 points per night).

And there are even more properties on the horizon as the capital prepares for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Marriott loyalists can look forward to a forthcoming Edition property; a spring grand opening is expected for the Kimpton Shinjuku for travelers with IHG points; and if you're more interested in earning than redeeming points, Japan's third Four Seasons will appear in time for the games at Tokyo at Otemachi.

You'll want to check out our guide to the best points hotels in Tokyo to find the one that works best for you.

Related: 3 of the best value points hotels in Tokyo

How to get to Tokyo

Naturally, there are a ton of ways to get to Tokyo — it's one of the biggest cities in the world, after all. There are two airports that serve the city: Haneda (HND) and Narita (NRT). Haneda is much closer to the city , but I ended up flying in and out of Narita because of how my flights worked out.

On the way there, I flew in Japan Airlines first class . I'll probably never be over the fact that I can say that and yes, it really was that amazing. I found award availability on Alaska Airlines for 70,000 miles and $18 in taxes and fees.

Coming home, I flew in Air Canada business class with a short layover in Montreal (YUL) — I transferred 75,000 Amex points to Aeroplan , paid about $175 in taxes and fees and voilá! That's how you do it, people.

The details

Getting around.

I'm a big fan of walking, especially in a city I haven't been to before so I can explore every corner.

That said, Tokyo is a massive 845 square miles. You'll inevitably have to take the subway, which is extremely efficient and clean — people wait on lines to get in and out of it. (Take notes, New York City.) I'd definitely recommend getting either a Pasmo or Suica card ahead of time and loading it with money so you don't have to buy individual tickets. Also, you'll need to swipe it (or your individual ticket) as you leave the station, so be sure to keep it accessible.

I loved putting on my headphones and listening to music while Google Maps was on in the background; it told me exactly when I needed to turn, and if I was taking the subway, when the train was leaving and what platform I needed to be at. Efficiency at its finest.

While I felt safe walking around at night, I opted to take a cab home from restaurants that weren't walking distance to my hotel — when traveling alone, I always err on the side of caution. That said, you'll be more than fine taking the subway with a companion, or even by yourself. I just always play it safe.

Uber is available here, although the fleet is fairly small and prices are typically more expensive than taxis. Taking a taxi in Tokyo is an experience — the drivers all wear white gloves, not to mention they open and close the door for you. Beats an Uber any day of the week.

To get to Kyoto, I took the scenic Shinkasen directly from Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station. I'd recommend getting to Tokyo Station early and going to Rokurinsha for ramen; you'll thank me later. The trip took less than three hours, and yes, the bullet train is as fast as you've heard. Added bonus: The ticket cost about $120 each way, and counted toward my Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit .

Related: Second cities: Destinations to add onto a trip to Tokyo

Japanese currency and tipping

In Japan, $1 gets you about 108.55 Japanese yen, so don't panic when you see astronomical numbers while scoping out prices. You'll also want to carry a decent amount of cash on you, since many places don't accept credit cards. Of course, when you do pay with card, you'll want to use one that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees . Just think of what you could be putting that money towards instead (read: food).

The service in Japan was absolutely incredible — I'd even venture to say it's pretty much the ideal location for a solo woman traveler . People (everyone, not just those working in hospitality) go out of their way to help you and make sure you're comfortable. Excellent service and hospitality is so ingrained in the culture that tipping is actually considered rude . Instead, just smile and say thank you.

Bottom line

In case you couldn't tell, I had the absolute best time in Tokyo , and am already itching to go back. There is so much to see and do here that it's difficult to even scratch the surface. But with these tips in mind, you'll begin to understand what the hype is all about — and if my past trip here is any indication, you're going to fall in love with this beautiful city, too.

The Best Ways to Get Around Tokyo: Your Stress-Free Guide for First-Timers

BY Pelago by Singapore Airlines

08 APR 24 . 6 MIN READ . GUIDES

Unlocking Tokyo's Transit: Simplifying How to Get Around the City

Tokyo, Japan’s vibrant capital, is a fascinating blend of the ultra-modern and the traditional. Skyscrapers that reach for the clouds and neon lights that dazzle are set alongside serene temples and picturesque gardens that whisper tales of yesteryear.

From the lively streets of Shibuya, famed for its scramble crossing, to the skyscraper-laden skyline of Shinjuku where the buzz never fades, Tokyo is a place where tradition and modernity dance together in perfect harmony. To dive deep into this bustling metropolis, getting to know the best way to get around Tokyo is important.

The best way to get around Tokyo? It’s a breeze thanks to an excellent transportation network. Whether it’s hopping on a train to zip from one area to another, catching the lightning-fast Shinkansen to visit other cities, or navigating the efficient subway and bus systems to reach those out-of-the-way spots, Tokyo has you covered.

Most locals and visitors alike opt for convenient travel cards like Suica or Pasmo to make moving around the city a piece of cake. While taxis are available, the how-to-get-around Tokyo scene is dominated by public transport, renowned for its punctuality and accessibility. Exploring Tokyo becomes an adventure in itself, as each mode of transport opens up new avenues for discovery. Let our guide show you the ropes, and you’ll be navigating Tokyo like a pro, making the most of everything this vibrant city has to offer.

  • Train Travel in Tokyo
  • Japan Railways (JR)
  • Tokyo Metro: Seamless Connectivity of Tokyo
  • Other Private Train Lines for Easy Commute

Exploring Tokyo by Bus: A Scenic Adventure in the Metropolis

  • Bus Routes: The City’s Threadwork
  • Discovering Hidden Treasures
  • Airport Buses: Flying High on Convenience
  • Night Buses: When Tokyo Comes Alive After Dark
  • Bus Passes: The Golden Keys to the City

1. Train Travel in Tokyo

People walking down a set of stairs in a train station.

The railway system in Japan is so well developed, punctual, extensive and diverse that you can simply assume that wherever you plan to go – there is a train that will take you there. The JR Yamanote Line is a circular route connecting major districts, while other JR and private lines cover the entire city. The Shinkansen, or bullet train, allows for quick travel to other Japanese cities.

2. Japan Railways (JR)

Jr whole japan rail pass (7, 14, or 21 days).

Japan Railways (JR) operates several major train lines in Tokyo, forming the backbone of the city’s transportation system. Each line serves specific areas, connecting major districts and suburban regions. Here’s an overview of some of the major JR lines in Tokyo:

1. JR Yamanote Line

A group of people standing next to a train.

  • Route : A circular line looping around central Tokyo.
  • Stations : Major stations include Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shibuya railway station and Ueno train station.
  • Use : Ideal for navigating central Tokyo, and connecting key business, shopping, and entertainment districts.

2. JR Chuo-Sobu Line (Local)

  • Route : Runs east-west, connecting Chiba Prefecture to the east and Saitama Prefecture to the west.
  • Stations : Stops at key stations like Akihabara, Tokyo and Shinjuku.
  • Use : Useful for travelling between central Tokyo and suburban areas.

3. JR Chuo Line (Rapid)

Local services (Futsu), yellow coloured train, stopping at every station on the JR Chuo line.

  • Route : An extension of the Chuo Line, it connects Tokyo to western Tokyo and beyond.
  • Stations : Includes Tokyo, Shinjuku, Yotsuya and Hachioji.
  • Types : Rapid services (Kaisoku), orange-coloured trains that only stop at the most important stations. Generally, these are Shinjuku, Yotsuya, Ochanomizu, Kanda and Tokyo Station. Local services (Futsu), yellow coloured train, stopping at every station on the JR Chuo line.
  • Use: Offers faster travel between central Tokyo and western suburbs and can also take you from Tokyo to Mount Fuji.

4. JR Keihin-Tohoku Line

  • Route: Runs north-south through central Tokyo along the eastern side.
  • Stations : Connect areas like Ueno, Tokyo, Hamamatsucho and Shinagawa.
  • Use : Links major business districts and is convenient for north-south travel.

5. JR Saikyo Line

People walking in the Shibuya Station.

Route : Runs north-south, parallel to the Yamanote Line but on the western side.

Stations : Connect key stations such as Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Ebisu, and Shinjuku.

Use : Useful for traveling between central Tokyo and suburban areas to the northwest.

6. JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line

  • Route: A north-south line connecting Saitama and Kanagawa Prefectures.
  • Stations : Stops at Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Yokohama.
  • Use: Provides a direct link between Tokyo and Yokohama, passing through major business and entertainment hubs.

These JR lines form a comprehensive network, making it easy to travel within Tokyo and its surrounding areas. They are particularly convenient for accessing popular destinations and their integration with other transportation modes enhances the city’s overall accessibility. You can also find a map of the Tokyo train lines here.

Ready to dive into the wonders of Japan? Meet the JR Whole Japan Rail Pass – your all-access Tokyo transport pass to a train-filled adventure!

You’ve got options: 7, 14, or 21 days of non-stop fun on JR trains, all the way from the Shinkansen to the local chug-chugs. Consider it more than a pass; view it as your travel expertise badge, letting you bounce on and off trains, exploring the whole country hassle-free.

Oh, and here’s a little insider tip for smart travellers – snag your JR Whole Japan Rail Pass online before you even touch down in Japan! Then, once you’re there, swap your voucher for the real deal at JR counters.

3. Tokyo Metro: Seamless Connectivity of Tokyo

Tokyo subway tickets (unlimited rides: 24, 48 or 72 hours....

Prepare for a Tokyo subway adventure! When individuals refer to “subway” lines in Tokyo, they acknowledge both Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway, the prominent player in the underground train network. But here’s an interesting twist: “subway” isn’t exclusive to Tokyo Metro; it’s the catchy term encompassing both Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway.

A woman waiting for her train in Japan.

Let’s explore the exciting details and uncover the highlights:

1. Tokyo Metro: The Ginza Line dons a vibrant orange costume, the Marunouchi Line struts in bold red, and the Tozai Line brings its own unique flavor to the scene. The colorful trains ensure hassle-free travel. What a colorful way to get around Tokyo!

2. Toei Subway: This could be considered the Tokyo Metro’s more relaxed counterpart. Toei Subway runs lines like the Oedo Line and Asakusa Line, and you can spot their stations with a cool circular emblem. Major stops like the Asakusa Train Station, Shinjuku Train Station, and Shibuya Train Station connect multiple lines.

These two systems work together efficiently to transport you around the city seamlessly. In everyday language, “subway” and “Tokyo Metro” are synonymous, ensuring a smooth journey through the city. And speaking of hassle-free, grab yourself a Tokyo Subway Ticket—it’s like your golden ticket to ride all those colorful trains without the fuss.

4. Other Private Train Lines for Easy Commute

Also in Tokyo, several private train lines are operated by different companies, providing additional transportation options alongside the extensive public JR (Japan Railways), Tokyo Metro, and Toei Subway networks. Some notable private train lines in Tokyo include:

  • Keio Corporation

Operates the Keio Line, connecting Shinjuku with western Tokyo and suburban areas.

  • Odakyu Electric Railway

Manages the Odakyu Odawara Line, running from Shinjuku to Odawara, passing through popular destinations like Hakone.

  • Tokyu Corporation

Operates various lines, including the Tokyu Toyoko Line, Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line, and others, covering routes from Shibuya railway station to Yokohama and southwestern Tokyo.

  • Seibu Railway

Manages the Seibu Shinjuku Line and Seibu Ikebukuro Line, providing access to western and northwestern Tokyo.

  • Tobu Railway

Operates lines such as the Tobu Tojo Line, connecting Ikebukuro with northern Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture.

  • Keisei Electric Railway

Connects Tokyo with Narita International Airport through the Keisei Main Line and the Keisei Skyliner express service.

  • Keikyu Corporation

Manages the Keikyu Main Line, connecting Tokyo with Yokohama and the Miura Peninsula, as well as offering direct access to Haneda Airport.

  • Tokyo Monorail

Operates the Tokyo Monorail line, providing a direct connection from Haneda Airport to the city via Hamamatsucho Station.

  • Fujikyuko Line

Mount Fuji is one of the most famous attractions in all of Japan and the best way to get there by train is with the Fujikyuko line. This train line operated by Fujikyu takes passengers to the main Mt Fuji station Kawaguchiko Station on the mountain’s northern side. These private train lines play a crucial role in enhancing connectivity, reaching areas not served by major public lines and offering efficient public transportation in Tokyo for both daily commuters and tourists exploring Tokyo and its surrounding regions.

Tokyo’s city buses are like a secret treasure map for those who want to add a splash of fun to their city navigation. These buses are the urban sherpas, threading through Tokyo’s labyrinth of neighbourhoods, unlocking access to places that might not be on the regular tourist menu and paving the way for truly offbeat travel.

5. Bus Routes: The City's Threadwork

You hop on a Toei Bus or Tokyo Metropolitan Bus, and suddenly, you’re on a magic carpet ride through Shibuya’s trendy streets, Shinjuku’s neon jungle, or Asakusa’s historic charm. These buses aren’t just rides; they’re your ticket to Tokyo’s kaleidoscope of urban adventures.

6. Discovering Hidden Treasures 

What’s the fun of sticking to the main roads? Tokyo’s buses take you on a detour to the city’s best-kept secrets. Imagine stumbling upon quirky markets, serene parks, and time-travelling through historic districts—all from the comfy seat of a city bus. It’s like a scavenger hunt where every stop is a surprise waiting to be unwrapped!

7. Airport Buses: Flying High on Convenience 

Need to catch a flight or just landed? Tokyo’s got you covered with airport buses straight to most districts. Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tokyo Station—wherever you’re headed, these buses make sure your journey starts and ends with a dash of ease and a sprinkle of comfort.

8. Night Buses: When Tokyo Comes Alive After Dark

In those moments when the alternative modes of public transportation in Tokyo take a well-deserved rest, it is the night buses that step up to the plate. Revel in the late-night adventures, delve into the vibrant nightlife and find solace in the knowledge that a convenient bus ride home is just a hop away.

9. Bus Passes: The Golden Keys to the City

Tokyo sky hop-on hop-off bus pass.

To turn your Tokyo bus escapade into a full-blown adventure, grab a bus pass. It’s like a magic wand that grants you unlimited rides and the power to zigzag through the city’s streets without worrying about fares. Your wallet will thank you and your inner explorer can experience the bustle of the city like a local.

Tokyo’s buses aren’t just a means of getting around; they’re your trusty sidekick on this whimsical journey through the beating heart of Japan’s capital. Let the bus bonanza begin.

Explore Tokyo Like a Pro

10. unlock hokuriku's wonders on the shinkansen, jr hokuriku arch pass.

Meet your travel buddy – the JR Hokuriku Arch Pass ! It’s like a golden ticket for 7 days of unlimited rides on JR Hokuriku Shinkansen and limited express trains. Ready to dive into the wonders of Kanazawa, Toyama, and Nagano? This pass is your passport to the scenic Hokuriku region, a dream for explorers eager to uncover cultural gems and soak in the natural beauty of central Japan.

11. Enjoy a Budget-friendly Exploration of Nikko

Nikko pass all area.

The Nikko Pass All Area is your ticket to hassle-free exploration in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Nikko, Japan. With unlimited access to buses, including Tobu and Heritage Sightseeing Buses, it’s the budget-friendly way to uncover treasures like Toshogu Shrine and Lake Chuzenji. Ready for a memorable Nikko adventure?

12. Embark on Hassle-Free Journeys from Narita

Narita airport (nrt) private transfer to tokyo / yokohama....

Skip the travel hassle from Narita Airport to Tokyo . Hop on a private transfer service for a personalised and comfy journey, ensuring you breeze into the heart of Tokyo stress-free. Our pro drivers and a lineup of vehicles are all about making your trip as smooth as possible.

13. Go on a Magical Journey through Osaka and Kyoto

Kansai thru pass 2/3 day e-ticket.

Grab the Kansai Thru Pass 2/3 Day E-Ticket – your personal key to unlimited fun on buses and trains across Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe! It’s like a magic carpet for exploring cultural wonders and attractions. Say hello to hassle-free and wallet-friendly adventures.

14. Time Travel to the Edo Period

Seibu kawagoe pass in ikebukuro tokyo.

If you’re up for a ride from Ikebukuro in Tokyo, the Seibu Kawagoe Pass is your ticket to unlimited adventures on Seibu Railway lines to Kawagoe. You can grab a one-day pass or maybe a Seibu Kawagoe pass. It’s perfect for checking out the charm of Kawagoe’s historic district with its cool Edo-period vibes.

15. Experience a Seamless Journey from Haneda Airport 

Haneda airport (hnd) private transfer to tokyo | transfer....

Jump off your plane and right into the Tokyo vibe with a Haneda Airport (HND) private transfer . It’s your ticket to a smooth ride and hassle-free arrivals and departures. With top-notch drivers and a touch of personal care, your Tokyo adventure starts the moment you land. If you’re looking for alternative ways of travelling to the city centre from the airport, here’s a Haneda Airport to Tokyo guide for you .

16. Take the Tokyo Skyliner

Tokyo skyliner fast speed train to/from narita airport.

Zooming at 160 km/h, the Tokyo Skyliner is your ticket to Narita Airport fun! In just 40 minutes, this high-speed superhero whisks you from the airport to Tokyo with comfy seats, Wi-Fi, and Insta-worthy views. Fast, fabulous and ready for your travel adventure!

17. Cruise in Style from Airports to City Hotspots

Tokyo car rental: narita airport, haneda airport, or tokyo....

Explore Tokyo at your leisure with the flexibility of a Nissan rental ! Enjoy hassle-free pick-up at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, or Tokyo Station, allowing you to hit the road without delay. Cruise through the city in comfort and style, tailoring your Tokyo itinerary to your liking. With a diverse selection of car models available, finding the perfect fit for your group and travel needs is effortless.

18. Marvel at Tokyo's Same-Day Luggage Delight

Same-day luggage delivery service in tokyo (airports and....

Tokyo’s same-day luggage wizards have your back. Skip the baggage hassle – drop off your load, and let the magic unfold. Your stuff zooms from airport to city in a flash, making your travel groove smoother than a cherry blossom breeze!

Ready to Explore the City?

Getting around Tokyo is super easy! Exploring Tokyo’s cool spots – from busy city scenes to peaceful neighbourhoods – hopping around is a piece of cake. Pelago offers experiences to make sure you have the most authentic experiences in Tokyo that are affordable and convenient. With these travel hacks at your disposal, Tokyo unveils a plethora of options and experiences for you to explore.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the most efficient way to get around tokyo.

The most efficient way to get around Tokyo is by using the extensive and well-connected subway and train network.

What is the cheapest way to move around Tokyo?

The cheapest way to move around Tokyo is by utilizing the city’s extensive bus network or by walking for short distances.

What is the best pass for getting around Tokyo?

The best pass for getting around Tokyo is the Japan Rail Pass for visitors traveling longer distances between cities, and the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway One-Day Pass for unlimited travel within the city.

How do foreigners get around in Japan?

Foreigners in Japan typically use public transportation, including trains, subways, and buses, and may also utilize options like taxis and rideshare services for convenience.

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Perfect Tokyo itinerary for firts time visitors

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written by Olga Sitnitsa

updated 15.04.2024

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The Japanese tend to holiday with their every second mapped out beforehand, but it’s hard to do the same in their own capital city – it’s a gigantic place where every neighbourhood can eat up a full day of your time If it's your first time in Tokyo, this itinerary will give you at least a taster of what Tokyo is all about, lassoing together some of its most spellbinding districts and enchanting sights.

How to get around in Tokyo

5 day tokyo itinerary, 7 day tokyo itinerary, tips for your first-time visit to tokyo, where to stay in tokyo, tailor-made travel itineraries for japan, created by local experts.

Small Group Tour: Splendours of Japan

13 days  / from 3535 USD

Small Group Tour: Splendours of Japan

Discover the allure of Japan on our small group tour (max 16 guests). Unveil Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, and Okayama through guided explorations. Immerse in tea ceremonies and relish in the captivating beauty of these iconic destinations. Regular departures ensure an unforgettable journey.

Small Group Tour: Secrets of Japan

14 days  / from 4070 USD

Small Group Tour: Secrets of Japan

Embark on an exceptional small-group tour, available monthly, unveiling Tokyo, Hakone, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, and beyond. Uncover Japan's hidden gems, from serene shrines to bustling cities, and immerse in enchanting forests.

Small Group Tour: Highlights of Japan

10 days  / from 2795 USD

Small Group Tour: Highlights of Japan

Exciting small-group tour with monthly departures. Immerse in Japanese culture, challenge a pro in a sumo suit, wander Arashiyama's bamboo groves in Kyoto, and relish a kaiseki feast with Maiko entertainment - all included in this fascinating small group tour.

Tailor-made trips for   Japan

Tokyo’s public transport system is efficient, clean and safe, with trains and subways the best way of getting around; a lack of signs in English makes the bus system a lot more challenging. For short, cross-town journeys, taxis are handy and, if shared by a group of people, not all that expensive. Sightseeing tours are also worth considering if you are pushed for time or would like a guided commentary.

When visiting for the first time, you simply need to familiarise yourself with the main modes of transport in Tokyo and their features in advance:

  • Subway: Tokyo’s subway is relatively easy to negotiate: the simple colour-coding on trains and maps, as well as clear signposts (many also in English), directional arrows and alpha-numeric station codes, make this by far the most gaijin-friendly form of transport. Tickets are bought at the vending machines beside the electronic ticket gates (ticket sales windows are only found at major stations).
  • Train: Japan Railways East, part of the national rail network, runs the main overland services in and around Tokyo. They all have their own colour coding on maps, with the various JR lines coming in many different shades. It’s fine to transfer between JR lines on the same ticket. Ticket machines are easy to operate if buying single tickets, if you can find your destination on the network maps above.
  • Monorail: Tokyo has a couple of monorail systems. These services operate like the city’s private rail lines – you buy separate tickets for journeys on them or travel using the various stored-value cards, such as Pasmo and Suica.
  • Bus: Buses are a good way of cutting across the few areas of Tokyo not served by a subway or train line, though they’re little used by overseas visitors. Compared to the subway there’s little information in English. The final destination is listed on the front of the bus, along with the route number. You pay on entry, by dropping the flat rate into the fare box by the driver (there’s a machine in the box for changing notes); travel cards are also accepted.
  • Bicycle: You’ll see people cycling all over Tokyo, but despite this, it’s not a terribly bike-friendly city. Most locals cycle on the pavement, there being very few dedicated bike lanes, and Japanese rules of courtesy dictate that even though every bike has a bell, absolutely nobody uses them – even if they’re coming up behind you, at speed, on a narrow path, in the rain.
  • Ferry: The Tokyo Cruise Ship Company runs several ferry services, known as suijō basu (water buses), in and around Tokyo Bay. The ferries’ large picture windows give a completely different view of the city from the one you’ll get on the streets – reason enough for hopping aboard.
  • Taxi: For short hops, taxis are often the best option. After the basic starting rate for the first 1km, the meter racks up, including a time charge when the taxi is moving at less than 10km per hour. Between 11pm and 5am, rates are 25 per cent higher.
  • Sightseeing tours: For a quick overview of Tokyo there are the usual bus tours, ranging from half-day jaunts around the central sights to visits out to Kamakura , Nikkō and Hakone . If the sky’s the limit on your budget, go for a spin in a helicopter instead: Excel Air Service will take you for a fifteen-minute flight

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan cityscape past the Metropolitan Government Building in the day © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan cityscape past the Metropolitan Government Building in the day © Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

How to use the Japan Rail Pass

If you’re planning a lot of train travel around Japan in a short period, the Japan Rail Pass can be a great deal, though you have to buy this outside Japan before you travel; prepare for giant queues if picking it up at the airport, though note that you can also pick it up from any major JR station. JR East offers its own versions of the pass, covering its network in the Tokyo region and northern Japan; these can be purchased in Japan from JR ticket offices.

For an unforgettable first visit to Tokyo, begin your adventure in the verdant expanse of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. As evening falls, watch the lights of Tokyo from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Observatory and then immerse yourself in Shinjuku's vibrant nightlife, filled with energy and colourful lights.

On day two , feel the pulse of Tokyo at the famous Shibuya Crossing, a kaleidoscope of movement and sounds. Wander the quaint streets of Harajuku, where fashion meets fantasy, and end your day among the upscale boutiques of Omotesando.

Day three invites you to travel back in time to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa , Tokyo's oldest temple, before being transported into the future at Akihabara , a dazzling neighbourhood of tech gadgets and anime.

On day four , devote a cultural feast at the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno , home to an astounding array of Japanese art. Later, stroll through the picturesque Ueno Park, a haven of tranquillity and cherry blossoms.

Finish your Tokyo experience on day five at the serene Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the revered emperor and his consort. An afternoon in Odaiba offers a glimpse into the future, with interactive museums and the impressive Gundam statue all set against the backdrop of the picturesque Rainbow Bridge. Book this trip .

Shibuya crossing Tokyo Japan at night

Shibuya crossing, Tokyo at night

If you have a little more time, your first visit to Tokyo can be even more fulfilling. Start your 7-day adventure in the vibrant Shibuya neighbourhood, where you'll explore the iconic Shibuya Crossing and visit the Hachiko statue. Admire panoramic views of the city from the Shibuya Sky, before strolling through local boutiques and sampling Tokyo street food .

On day two , immerse yourself in the creative atmosphere of Harajuku, the epicentre of youth culture and fashion. Stroll along Takeshita Street, sample the famous sweet pancakes and visit the tranquil Meiji Shrine. End the day on architecturally stunning Omotesando Avenue, lined with designer shops.

On day three , head to the historic centre of Asakusa, where you'll explore Sensoji Temple and stroll along Nakamise shopping street. After a traditional lunch, enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sumida River, which will take you to the futuristic Odaiba district for an evening sightseeing tour.

Day four is dedicated to the art and culture of Roppongi . Visit the Mori Museum of Contemporary Art and the upscale Roppongi Hills neighbourhood. As night falls, dive into Roppongi's bustling nightlife or relax in a cosy jazz cafe.

On day five , travel back in time to the charming Yanaka neighbourhood. Visit local temples and Yanaka Cemetery, shop for traditional crafts at Yanaka Ginza, and finish with a sake tasting at a local brewery.

Spend day six at the Odaiba Entertainment Centre, starting with the mesmerising TeamLab Borderless digital art museum. Visit the shopping centres, relax on the beach and enjoy lunch overlooking the illuminated Rainbow Bridge.

End your visit to Tokyo at the tranquil Imperial Palace in Chiyoda, wandering through its lush gardens. Spend the last day exploring the National Museum of Modern Art and the chic Marunouchi district, perfect for last-minute shopping. Book this trip .

Senso-ji Buddhist temple at dusk in Asakusa, Tokyo © FenlioQ/Shutterstock

Senso-ji Buddhist temple at dusk in Asakusa, Tokyo © FenlioQ/Shutterstock

A first trip to Tokyo can be as exciting as it is overwhelming. As a huge metropolis where the ultra-modern and the traditional blend effortlessly, Tokyo offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you want to immerse yourself in its vibrant pop culture, savour world cuisine or immerse yourself in its rich history and culture, knowing a few key tips can greatly enhance your experience.

Despite its reputation as an outrageously expensive city, with a little planning Tokyo is a manageable destination even for those on a fairly modest budget. The key is to do what the majority of Japanese do: eat in simple restaurants, avoid the ritzier bars (or bars entirely; convenience-store alcohol is very cheap) and take advantage of any available discounts. There’s also a surprising amount you can do in Tokyo without spending any money at all .

Though credit and debit cards are far more widely accepted than they were a few years ago, Japan is mostly a cash society. The major overseas cards are now accepted in all convenience stores, and the majority of places in which you’re likely to eat, drink or shop. However, some retailers only accept locally issued cards, and many will only take cash . Conversely, others will accept Google or Apple Pay on your phone (local apps are more widespread, but require a domestic number to function). and at many shops it’s possible to pay for goods with your Pasmo card.

Crime and personal safety

Tokyo boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world. On the whole, the Japanese are honest and law-abiding; there’s little theft, and drug-related crimes are relatively rare. Nonetheless, it always pays to be careful in crowds, and to keep money and important documents stowed in an inside pocket or money belt, or in your hotel safe. 

Emergency numbers:

  • Police: 110 
  • Fire or ambulance: 119

"Shinobazu Pond" in Ueno Park where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, Tokyo © AdobeStock

"Shinobazu Pond" in Ueno Park where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, Tokyo © AdobeStock

Entry requirements

All visitors to Japan must have a passport valid for the duration of their stay. At the time of writing, citizens of most Western countries can stay in Japan for up to ninety days without a visa, provided they are visiting for tourism or business purposes and possess a valid ticket out of Japan. 

Citizens of certain other countries must apply for a visa in advance in their own country. Visas are usually free, though in certain circumstances you may be charged a fee. The rules on visas do change from time to time, so check first with the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate, or on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website .

To find an English-speaking doctor and the hospital or clinic best suited to your needs, contact the Tokyo Medical Information Service (Mon–Fri 9am–8pm; T03 5285 8181 ); they can also provide emergency medical translation services over the phone. 

Note that certain medications that are commonplace outside Japan are actually illegal here – some of the more prominent prescription drugs on the no-no list are codeine (beyond a certain amount) and some ADHD medications. The health ministry website has more specific details on these, and the forms you’ll need to fill in if you’re to bring these meds into Japan legally.

Due to the high cost of hospital treatment in Japan, it’s essential to take out a good travel insurance policy , particularly one with comprehensive medical coverage.

Asakura temple, Tokyo

Asakura temple, Tokyo

Japan’s reputation for being an extremely expensive place to visit is a little outdated in many fields, but it’s certainly justified as far as accommodation goes. However, the quality of accommodation in Tokyo is generally very high at all levels, from luxury hotels to budget dorms; security and cleanliness are topnotch; and except at the bottom end of the scale, you’ll usually find someone who speaks at least a smattering of English. 

While there are few bargains, if you look hard you’ll find plenty of affordable places. You’ll often find the best value – along with plenty of atmosphere – at a traditional ryokan or a family-run minshuku, the Japanese equivalent of a B&B. The cheapest beds are provided by privately run hostels, mainly in the city’s northern districts. Capsule hotels are a little more expensive but certainly worth trying once, if only for the experience.

Whatever your budget, it’s wise to reserve your first few nights’ accommodation before arrival. This is especially true of the cheaper places, which tend to fill up quickly, particularly over national holidays and in late February , when thousands of students head to Tokyo for the university entrance exams. 

Rooms are also in short supply during holiday periods, as well as during the cherry blossom season in late March and early April. Good deals can be found online via hotel websites and general booking engines, and it’s always worth asking if there are any promotions on offer.

Olga Sitnitsa

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » Getting around Tokyo with the JR Pass: Metro, trains and more

Getting around Tokyo with the JR Pass: Metro, trains and more

January 10, 2023

Shinjuku ward in Tokyo

Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is the most densely populated metropolitan city in the world, home to nearly 40 million people. The Tokyo Metropolis, as the area is officially known, spans nearly 850 square miles (nearly 2,200 square kilometers). Tokyo enjoys a rich cultural history, as it has been the seat of government in Japan since the year 1603.  Tokyo is comprised of twenty-three wards, each operated as an individual city.

Getting around in a city of this size – especially as an international traveler – may at first seem intimidating. However, Tokyo’s public transportation system, which includes airports, trains, buses, taxies, and pedestrian traffic – has been designed operate smoothly.

Your Japan Rail Pass covers all of the major JR train lines in Tokyo. With your Pass in hand and with the help of this travel guide, you will soon be navigating the streets and stations of Tokyo like a pro.

Major Tokyo train stations

Tokyo is densely laced with railway lines, and most major lines make stops in this city. As such, Tokyo houses a large number of railway stations.

The main hubs in Tokyo include:

  • Akihabara Station , located in Tokyo’s so-called “Electric City,” one of the largest stations in Tokyo, served by all three major JR lines.
  • Ikebukuro Station ,  in the north-western side, served by the Yamanote loop line and also the Narita Express.
  • Shibuya Station , connecting the Shibuya ward with the Yamanote loop line and private railways and subways.
  • Shimbashi Station , which is a 10-minute walk away from Ginza district and 15 minutes away from the Tsukiji Fish Market.
  • Shinagawa Station , in the southern downtown area, connecting to the Tokaido Shinkansen .
  • Shinjuku Station , busiest train station in the world, connecting most JR and private lines, serving more than 3.5 million passengers daily.
  • Tokyo Station , served by the Shinkansen high-speed rail lines, local JR lines, and with a number of authentic restaurants on its internal Kitchen Street.
  • Ueno Station , in the northern downtown area and served by Shinkansen lines going north of Tokyo.

Tokyo Station view

JR lines in Tokyo

The JR Pass affords access to five main Tokyo railway lines. You can reach Tokyo via many of Japan’s Shinkansen lines. Within the city, the Tokaido Shinkansen makes stops at Shinagawa, Ueno, and Tokyo Stations.

  • The Yamanote Line is the most prominent rail line in Tokyo. The Yamanote is a 21.5 mile (34.5 kilometers) loop line which passes through Tokyo’s various city centers and numerous stations, including Tokyo, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Shibuya Stations. Riding the entire Yamanote Line takes around one hour, thus allowing you to quickly view different parts of the city.
  • The Keihin-Tohoku Line runs parallel to the eastern side of the Yamanote , and can be accessed from Tokyo, Ueno, and Shinagawa Stations .
  • On the western side, the Yamanote is complemented by the Saikyo Line (Osaki – Shibuya – Shinjuku – Ikebukuro – Akabane – Omiya).
  • The Rapid Chuo Line intersects the Yamanote line. It can be accessed from Tokyo and Shinjuku Stations. The train runs every two and half to four minutes, and as a rapid service, stops only at Yotsuya, Ochanomizu, and Kanda during peak hours.
  • The local Chuo-Sobu line also crosses the Yamanote , with a slower but very handy service for tourists.   This line services both east and west Tokyo, from Chiba to Mitaka, passing through Akihabara, Yoyogi and Shinjuku Stations. Ryogoku Station can be reached from this line, providing access to the Kokugikan Sumo tournament arena.
  • The Shōnan–Shinjuku line goes through a number of places around Tokyo including the Shonan area of Kanagawa Prefecture (south of Tokyo) and the Saitama, Gunma, and Tochigi Prefectures (north of Tokyo). Though it is marked on railway maps, the line has no dedicated track. It uses various sections of other lines (Ryomo, Takasaki, Utsunomiya, Yamanote, Yokosuka, and Tōkaidō Main lines).
  • Other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city are the JR Keio line , JR Musashino line, JR Nambu line and JR  Yokohama line . Don’t forget to check the complete train maps of Tokyo and its area in our Japan maps section!

La línea Yamanote junto a la estación de Ueno (Tokio)

Airport transfers with the JR Pass

Tokyo is home to two airports, the Narita Airport and Haneda Airport . Both airports handle international and domestic flights, making the airplane a convenient means of travel in and out of Tokyo.

  • The Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport   departs from Hamamatsucho Station , on the Yamanote line. Travel time to the terminal is 13 minutes from this station.
  • The Narita Express connects to the Narita Airport via Shinjuku Station.

Your Japan Rail Pass is also valid on both airport trains.

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Non-JR lines

JR East operates the most convenient train lines for moving around central Tokyo, and you can use your JR Pass on all of these metro services.

The rest of the 13 Tokyo subway lines that run in and around the Yamanote line are operated by companies other than JR East. While the metro lines do no accept the JR Pass, other IC Cards , such as the Pasmo and Suica, may be used . These cards give you access to almost any train or bus in Tokyo, and are a perfect complement to the JR Pass.

Please bear in mind that these cards do not function on intercity rail travel , so if you are planning on traveling outside of Tokyo, you will have to buy separate tickets (or use your JR Pass, which gives you a significant discount!

Other ways of getting around Tokyo

While the rail lines are the fastest, most efficient, and most reliable means of getting around Tokyo, other methods of travel are availabl e for your convenience.

The city of Tokyo is crisscrossed by a network of city buses routes. In Tokyo, buses require a flat rate fee of ¥210 ( and ¥110 for children) . You can use an IC Card on most city buses.

Taxis are plentiful in Tokyo. Each taxi can handle up to four passengers, and most accept credit cards. Be sure to write down your destination for the driver. If you have access to the location name in Japanese, this is ideal, as many drivers do not speak English. Taxis, however, can be expensive compared to other public transportation when traveling long distances.

Walking and biking

As Tokyo is a large city, walking is not an ideal means of transportation . What looks like a short distance on a map – for example, from Ginza to Shibuya – may often become an hours-long walk. The exceptions are the areas around Akihabara and Ginza , which on Sundays are designated as pedestrian zones.

Shibuya crossing (Tokyo)

As an alternative to walking, you might consider renting a bicycle. If you do so, however, be aware of traffic laws and the presence of steep, hilly terrain.

Whether you choose to travel by train, bus, taxi, or on foot, you are now equipped to successfully navigate the teeming metropolis known as Tokyo!

Related posts

Related tours & activities.

Is Nara covered by the JR Pass?

Hi Christine,

Yes, there is a JR Nara Line covered by the JR Pass, as well as trains arriving and departing at the JR Nara Station.

Please check our Nara article for further information: Nara travel guide: Access and attractions

Happy travels!

Hi, My family of five will be traveling to Japan (Tokyo) for 6 days from Haneda Airport. We are planning to explore Tokyo only. May I know do we need to buy JR pass or only subway pass will do?

Hi there, i would like to know if the JR pass cover the trips between Kyoto to Hiroshima and from Hiroshima to Osaka. thank you Lubna

Yes, it does! Check out our Hiroshima travel guide for further information on these itineraries.

I am planning a 4-week trip to Japan and I wonder which JR pass is the best option for me. I want to visit:

Tokyo Mt. Fuji Nagoya Kyoto Osaka Nara Hiroshima Fukuoka Nagasaki

Which pass is the best option for me and should I combine JR passes because of the length of my stay in Japan?

I hope to hear from you! Kind regards,

Hello, I will be spending several weeks in Japan in November. I will be travelling from Tokyo to Kanazawa and from there to Kyoto. Does the Jrailpass cover those trips?

Hi Joe! Yes – the Japan Rail Pass will cover your trips. You can travel from Tokyo to Kanazawa directly by bullet train on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen line. To get from Kanazawa to Kyoto, the JR Thunderbird limited express trains travel directly and take around an hour. Happy travels!

Hi, Im a little confused and Im hoping you can clear it up. Here it says the 14 day pass is $557, and on the JR East booking site the 14 day pass is $180. However, the JR East pass says “use any 5 days within 14 days”. Is this the same 14 day pass? Or can I use the $557 pass every day for 14 days and not limited to a 5 day use? Im going to be visiting in May.

There is only 1 type of Japan Rail Pass , which allows unlimited trips during the whole validity days (which can either be 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days). Please note that the Japan Rail Pass is the only pass which covers nation-wide transportation; you will also find regional passes, but they include transportation limited to a certain region and not through the whole country.

Hello, I am planning to Japan in May and I am wondering if I should get a 7 day pass or not. I will be going to Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo, Tokyo Dome City, Mitsukoshi Ginza Department store, Tsujiki market, Odaiba osen, and the Tokyo skytree. I will start at Haneda airport and end in Narita Airport . Does your trains cover all those places?

Is the Haneda Limousine Bus Free with the JR Pass?

And can I get the JR pass in Japan when I arrive without pre-ordering it in Canada? Say I decide it is not useful now, but find out it is very useful when I am in Japan. Can I still get it then?

The JR Pass gives you unlimited access to all Japan Rail National trains, JR bus services, ferry services, and airport transfers. A 7-day JR Pass only costs ¥29.110 which is actually cheaper than a return ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto on a Shinkansen bullet train.

This means that if you make just one long-distance trip you can already save money. If you make multiple trips then you start saving thousands of yen.

In addition, when you start factoring in the money you would spend on the metro, buses, transfers, and ferries, then the savings become a must. A return transfer from Narita Airport is over ¥2.600 and a one-day metro and bus pass in Tokyo costs around ¥1.590.

Hi JRail Pass Team,

We are hoping to travel to Japan in May, and i’m undecided about which pass would be most cost effect to purchase, between the 7 day or 14 day pass. Can you please advise, here is a rough idea of the itinerary & where we wish to visit.

– Tokyo (4 nights) – Hakone (Day trip) – Mt.Fuji (Day trip) – Nara (Day trip) – Hiroshima (Day trip) – Kyoto (2 nights) – Osaka (3 nights)

Thank you in advance for your help! 🙂

Regards, Annie

Hi Annie! The JR Pass gives you unlimited access to all Japan Rail National trains, JR bus services, ferry services, and airport transfers. A 7-day JR Pass only costs ¥29.110 which is actually cheaper than a return ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto on a Shinkansen bullet train. This means that if you make just one long-distance trip you can already save money. If you make multiple trips then you start saving thousands of yen. In your case we would recommend a pass that covers your full vacation. Happy travels!

Hi Iam from India , Iam planning for Japan in April 2020 , can u please help me with ur itenary & how are u doing your day trips .. i will be travelling with my wife & daughter.. in total how many days u will be covering the places u have mentioned…: Ur reply will be appreciated

Thanx in advance

Hi there. Planning a 12 day trip to Japan in March. The trip will start and end in Tokyo with stops in Osaka and Kyoto. Trying to decided between a 7 day pass vs. a 14 day pass as at least half the trip will be in Tokyo only. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

Hi Mateo! The JR Pass gives you unlimited access to all Japan Rail National trains, JR bus services , ferry services, and airport transfers . A 7-day JR Pass only costs ¥29.110 which is actually cheaper than a return ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto on a Shinkansen bullet train. If you make multiple trips then you start saving thousands of yen, but of course will depend on the amount of trains you aim to take. We recommend you to draw your itinerary and to compare the cost of the Japan Rail Pass to that of individual tickets between all destinations. Happy travels!

Hi! Can I use a JR Tokyo Wide Pass from Tokyo to Mitaka (Ghibli Museum)?

Good day! My husband and I purchased a 7-day JR pass (Green car). Can we book our tickets before the activation date for the following? And are there green cars available for all these routes? 1. Hakone – Kyoto 2. Kyoto – Tokyo 3. Shinagawa – Narita Terminal 2 (Narita Express) Lastly, how do we use the JR pass to for trains in Tokyo? Do we just need to present the pass? Many thanks!

How can use JRail pass for a Shinkansen from the Tokyo area to Nagoya ?

Hi Chris! When traveling from Tokyo to Nagoya , the quickest option is to use the JR Tokaido Shinkansen, accessible using your JR Pass . Taking the Hikari train, you will reach Nagoya in less than two hours, and if taking the Kodama train, your trip will last about three hours. Likewise, you can make the return trip from Nagoya to Tokyo using these same train lines. Happy travels!

Hi, if i get the 7day pass. Would I be able to use it to go to hakone and sumatakyo bridge?

Yes, you can use your JR Pass to get to Hakone. Please check our Hakone guide for further information. Regarding Sumatakyo bridge, you will have to get the Tokaido Shinkansen and then check Hyperdia or other local transport companies.

Hi, what does ‘unlimited access’ to Tokyo Disney Resort mean?

Hi yglez! Where have you read this? JR Pass will allow you to get to Tokyo Disneyland , but does not cover the entrance to the theme park. To get there use your Japan Rail Pass to travel from Tokyo Station to Maihama Station, on the JR Keiyo line. Travel time is 20 minutes and the park is a mere five-minute walk from the station. Happy travels!

Hi, I will be in Tokyo and Osaka from October 4th – October 9th 2018. If I purchase JR Pass online do I receive it in my house then bring it to Japan Hanada airport for activate or I will receive JR Pass in Japan? Thank You. Also I purchase 7 days JR Pass but for the extra 2 days in Japan can I purchase JR pass in Japan?

Hi Ken! Orders purchased at http://www.jrailpass.com can be delivered worldwide. You can have it either sent to your home address or to your temporary address in Japan.

Can we use the JR tickets from Tokyo going to the following places: 1. Mt. Fuji 2. Kyoto 3. Hokkaido 4. Fukuoka

Hi Jennifer!

Yes, you can access them all! See all the details in our dedicated posts:

Mount Fuji from Tokyo: Day trip itinerary Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka with the JR Pass Sapporo travel guide: Access and how to get there Fukuoka with the JR Pass: How to get there and attractions

Hallo, ich habe den JRPass für mich und meine Tochter gekauft. Gilt dieser auch für die Oedo Line? Danke

Hi Letizia! The Oedo Line is handled by Toei, a different company from the JR Group and thus is not included in the Japan Rail Pass . Enjoy your stay!

Hi there. We will be going to Japan on July, we will be arriving at Narita going Tokyo then Tokyo to Kyote then Osaka then depart Osaka to Kansai Airport. I dont know what railpass will I purchase to cover all our itineraries that would cost us less including our airport transfers in Narita and Kansai. Thank you.

The Japan Rail Pass will cover all these itineraries. Please check our dedicated articles:

Narita Express: Tokyo Airport transfer with the JR Pass Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka with the JR Pass Haruka Express: Osaka & Kyoto airport transfer with the JR Pass

We hope you enjoy your stay. Happy travels!

Hi there I will be travelling to Japan during the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Is it possible to get to Tokyo and Yokohama stadiums with the JR pass?

We recommend you to check our 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan: Travel guide article for all the details on the topic. Tokyo Stadium (Ajinomoto Stadium)’s next station is Tobitakyu Station, which can be reached with the Keio Line. Yokohama International Stadium (Nissan Stadium)’s closest stations are Kozukue Station (Yokohama Line) or Shin-Yokohama Station (Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen).

Enjoy your trip!

Greetings from me .

I am planning to visit japan in january 2019. I would like to have a pass where i can access to most train and bus , And where is the best place to visit in japan , I am going also for vacation next month to england and france and i saw there jr pass office there , is it the same.

Hi Kheedeer,

Please check our page about the JR Pass , we believe it will suit you perfectly! Don’t forget to check the routes and itineraries on this blog also.

We are going to travel to Narita on May 11 and want to stay for 4days in Tokyo. What is the cheapest way to go to different places like Shinjuku, Yokohama, Chiba. Can we used JR Pass to go to Nagoya?

Thank you, Gina

Yes, you can access Nagoya using your Japan Rail Pass . When traveling from Tokyo, the quickest option is to use the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. Taking the Hikari train, you will reach Nagoya in less than two hours.

You can also reach the mentioned places using your Japan Rail Pass:

– The Yamanote line will take you to Shinjuku. – The JR Keihin-Tohoku Line will take you to Yokohama. – The JR Chuo-Sobu Line will take you to Chiba.

Hi Is JR Pass valid to travel on Chiba Suspended Monorail, and how can i travel to Chiba from Tokyo station on a JR pass Thank you

When traveling in Tokyo with a Japan Rail Pass, you are entitled to make full use of the Chuo-Sobu Line at no additional cost. This line runs east and west across Tokyo, between Chiba Station and Mitaka Station. This line stops both at Tokyo Station and Chiba Station.

The Chiba Urban Monorail is not part of the JR Group and thus is not included in the Japan Rail Pass .

We hope you have an amazing trip!

Hello Japan Rail,

I am interested to visit Shukubo Komadorisanso. The pass covers JR Chuo Line and JR Ome Line bound for Okutama, correct? Does the pass cover the bus to “Cable shita”?

The Japan Rail Pass does not cover the bus to Cable Shita. The JR Pass includes the services of local buses , spread throughout Japan, allowing access the JR local bus lines operated by JR Hokkaido, JR Tohoku, JR Kanto, JR Tokai, JR Shikoku, JR Kyushu, Nishinihon JR Bus and Chugoku JR Bus.

Can the JR Pass be used to travel around Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo? Or do I need to get a separate day or 3 day pass for each city?

I will be traveling in Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Nagoya, Mt Fuji, Kamakura and Tokyo) for about 21 days. The Hyperdia site said the cost of a 21 day pass would not be worth it. However, doesn’t the JR Pass include local travel around Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo? I plan to spend at least 4 days in Osaka and Kyoto and 6 days in Tokyo. Can the JR pass be used for local travel within each city?

In this article you are commenting you will find all the information regarding the 5 local Tokyo JR lines that can be accessed unlimitedly with your Japan Rail Pass: the Yamanote Line , the Keihin-Tohoku Line , the Rapid Chuo Line, the local Chuo-Sobu line and other metropolitan lines that circulate on the outskirts of the city such as the JR Keiyo, Musashi, Nambu and Yokohama lines.

While in Osaka, you will be entitled to make full use of the Osaka Loop Line , which “loops,” or circles, through downtown Osaka. As for Kyoto, local JR lines include the Sagano Line and the Nara Line .

Hi, I’ll be visiting to Tokyo next year 22- 28March 2018 . My question is as below: 1.I’ll be arrive at Haneda Airport, so which station is the best and cheapest way from airport to Shin Okubo? 2. I’m staying at Shin Okubo and i thinking what is the pass that i can enjoy unlimited ride for JR Yamanote and Tokyo Metro Line because im looking for budget saving cost for transport and travel around the tokyo city. 3. Is there any website that i can check for JR Lines fares from one station to another station?

To go from Haneda Airport to Tokyo you can ride the Tokyo Monorail, which will take you straight to the city center. Once in Tokyo you will be entitled to make full use of the lines that are specified in this article you are commenting: we recommend you to pay attention to what Yamanote line offers since it’s the most prominent line in the city 😉

If you want to check cost and timetables of trains in Japan we recommend you to use Hyperdia – the number 1 Japanese online transportation planning tool.

hi whats the different between jr shinjuku with jr shin okubo?can i take narita express and directly stop in jr shin okubo?or i have to change in shinjuku station?and we are planning to go to mt fuji, can we take bus or using the jr from the shin okubo station or we have to go to shinjuku station first?thank you

Narita Express ‘ main stations do not include Shin Okubo. Please find below the ones that are included: Narita (town), Chiba, Tokyo Station, Shinbashi, Hamamatshucho, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Yokohama and Ikebukuro.

You may stop in any of them and transfer to the transportation of your choice.

You can easily reach Mount Fuji from Tokyo by following the Gotemba trail: first take JR Tokaido line for Kozu from Tokyo Station , using your JR Pass. Once at Kozu (Kanagawa), take the JR Gotemba Line for Numazu and get off at Gotemba Station. This will be your final destination.

We hope you have an awesome trip!

One Last Question; Kids Age 5 years old does not need to pay the Child Fare correct? The fare for Child is for 6 years and above?

Children younger than 6 years old can ride all JR trains and buses free of charge. However, they cannot reserve a seat. Should all seats be already booked, the child must be held by the parent.

I’m traveling using Tokyo Station to Sapporo JR

The Fare:¥ 14,140 Seat Fee:¥ 12,680

If we hold JR Pass do we need to pay the Reserved Seat Fee? or we can sit anywhere without additional cost?

From HyperDia what will be the best route to fully utilized JR Pass?

JR Pass holders can book a seat on all Japan Rail trains free of charge. All seat reservations should be done before boarding the train. If you want to learn how to use Hyperdia we recommend you to follow our Hyperdia user guide . Also we strongly encourage you to surf our blog to find best itineraries to make with your Japan Rail Pass .

Enjoy your stay!

Can we use JR Pass to go to Echigo-Yuzawa Onsen Ipponsugi Ski?

The Joetsu shinkansen , included in the JR Pass, takes you straight from Tokyo to Gala Yuzawa ski resort , on the Niigata prefecture, in just two hours.

Since I will only cover below area shall i take 2 days Metro Pass to cover below journey/visit? *KOISHIKAWA KORAKUEN *SUGAMO *HRC UENO *TOKYO DOME CITY *TOKYO TOWER *AKIHABARA *SHIBUYA *SHINJUKU

The Japan Rail Pass affords access to the Yamanote line (Tokyo metro) which has stops in:

– Shinjuku, maybe the world’s busiest train station. Apart from a station, Shinjuku is also the name of an important business and shopping center. – Yoyogi, situated between the north entrance of the Meiji Shrine, part of the Yoyogi Park and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden . – Harajuku, which exit will guide you straight to the south part of the Yoyogi park as well as to one of the most famous streets in Tokyo – Takeshita. – Shibuya , famous for the busiest intersection in the world – the Shibuya crossing – and one of the largest shopping centers as well as one of the most active business centers. – Meguro, where the Meguro canal gains popularity every spring when the cherry trees growing on the river side start blossoming. – Tokyo Station, the central as well as a terminal station for all Shinkansen bullet trains and located in Marunouchi, which is one of Japan’s most prestigious business centers. – Akihabara , famous for it numerous electronic shops. – Ueno, very close to the Ueno Royal Museum and Ueno Park .

And many other amazing locations.

We hope you enjoy your stay in the city!

Can we have our tickets deliver to Bogota, Colombia before 20 dec if we order now? The amount we would pay is 686 euros. How much would the delivery be? Thanks!

To get the most updated costs please go to http://www.jrailpass.com and start your purchase: the total price will be displayed before paying. Also please note that for delivery to Colombia you are entitled to get a 50% discount on shipping costs if the amount of your cart is over 510€. If you travel by 20th December you will receive your order in perfect time for your trip – the standard delivery time varies between 24 and 48 hours. However, the exact delivery time will depend on the customer’s location, time of order, public holidays as well as customs problems and/or ground/air transportation disruption. The estimated maximum delivery time is 72 hours.

My husband and i will spend 16 days in Japan. Which option is best for us? 14 day pass and then pay for two more days separately? Thanks!

It will fully depend on your itinerary. If you are going to travel a lot around the country even the 21-day Japan Rail Pass could be cost saving. We recommend you to check the cost of the individual tickets of the trips you want to make at Hyperdia and to compare them to the cost of the nation-wide Japan Rail Pass.

I’m coming to Tokyo via Narita airport for 8 days and staying near Higashi-Shinjuku station. Will be going to Mt Fuji for 2 days and rest of the time will be around Tokyo. What pass should I buy?

The best kind of pass will always depend on the kind of trip you aim to make. We recommend you to draw your complete itinerary and then check Hyperdia to get the individual costs of each trip. Once you have the cost of the trip under individual tickets you can easily compare it to the cost of the Japan Rail Pass and assess which kind of ticket is more adequate and cost saving for you.

Very happy travels!

Hi… From Tokyo station to Shin-osaka station, can we use JR Pass for Tokaido-sanyo shinkansen Nozomi?

The JR Pass is valid on the Kodama, Hikari and Sakura types of Shinkansen, but is not valid on the Nozomi and Mizuho classes. You will not have access to the ‘Nozomi’ and ‘Mizuho’ Shinkansen that are the fastest trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo lines. However, you have access to the ‘Hikari’ or ‘Sakura’ Shinkansen that cover the same routes.

To get from Tokyo to Osaka we recommend you to take the Shinkansen Hikari train leaves approximately every 30min from Tokyo and arrives at Shin-Osaka station after 2:30min.

Can I buy jrpass at a Jr. Station in Tokyo?

The JR Pass can be purchased online or through specialized agents, like this website . However, since March 8, 2017, and on a trial basis, the pass is also sold at selected stations inside Japan, at an increased cost. While you are now able to purchase the JR Pass in Japan, please keep in mind that it is only sold in particular stations, at a higher price and you are required to pay in Yens, as no other currency will be accepted.

Have a nice trip!

hi. i have several questions:

1) from fukuoka, we plan to go to tokyo using the JR pass. i understand we have to change trains in osaka. please tell me the details as to which station to change trains in, what train to take, etc. do we only change trains once?

2) we will stay 3 days in tokyo and looking at hotels in the edogawa area. i have been studying the train system. from osaka, i guess we get off at the tokyo station. then, do we take the chuo-sobu line, get off at nishi-funabashi, then take the tozai train to edogawa? our station is nishi-kasai. where do we need to buy tickets – when we take the chuo-sobu or the tozai or both? how much are the tickets?

thanks so much.

1) Yes, you will have to transfer trains at Shin-Osaka station. From Fukuoka, you will take either a Sakura or a Hikari train from Hakata Station. Once you arrive to Shin-Osaka, you will just need to transfer to the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen to Tokyo Station. 2) The Chuo-Sobu line is included in the Japan Rail Pass so if you are using it you don’t need to purchase any additional ticket. This line crosses the Yamanote, with a slower but very handy service for tourists.

We hope you have an amazing time at Japan!

Thank you very much for your advice. Really appreciate it.

Hi there, Could you please advise me on the following:

1. From Narita Station, I would like to travel to Asakusa to visit the Sensoji Temple as well as the Tokyo Skytree? May I know if I could travel to this places using only the JR Rail Pass or do I need to connect through other subway lines? If that is so, may I know which subway line should I use and at which stations should I transfer?

2. I also intend to to travel from the Tsukiji Fish Market area to the Tokyo Tower, Shibuya Crossing, visit the Meiji Jungu Shrine and finally to Shinjuku. From the write-up of the JR Yamanote Line, I get the impression that I could travel to these places using only the JR Pass?Please advise if I am correct.

There is no JR station in Asakusa and hence there is no way of arriving by only using your Japan Rail Pass. You can use the pass to travel to the Ueno Station from Tokyo Station in the Yamanote line and there take the Tokyo Metro in Ginza line to Asakusa (not covered by the Japan Rail Pass). Asakusa is the last station of the line.

You can get to Tsukiji Fish Market by only using your Japan Rail Pass: you just need to travel on the Yamanote line to Shinbasi and walk around 20 minutes. To visit the Tokyo Tower you can also use the Yamanote line, fully included in the Japan Rail Pass: station is Hamamatsucho. In the same JR Line you have Shibuya and Shinjuku stations, that will get you to those vibrant areas. Last but not least, the Meji Jungu Shrine is located just beside the JR Yamanote Line’s Harajuku Station.

Have an amazing trip!

Hi JRail Pass

I am arranging my boss trip to Tokyo early November ( 2 – 6 Nov 2017) and wish to get clearer information concerning to JR Pass. He will traveling from Tokyo ( arrival not sure yet either from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport ) to Osaka and wish to use train. He will take train again to Tokyo from Osaka few days later to catch his return flight.

Looking for best advise , He can buy the ticket from the machine located at station or it way better i purchase from him JR Pass for his usage during his Tokyo – Osaka trip ?

It will depend on the usage he makes of the Japan Rail Pass: since it covers trips through the whole country it would be more cost effective the more he travelled. We would advice you to check at Hyperdia the cost of the individual trips and compare it to the cost of the Japan Rail Pass to assess which ticket is more adequated to your boss’ scheduled trips.

Hope you enjoy Japan!

Thanks for the very useful information.

You are welcome! 🙂

Thanks for sharing. Does JR Pass also valid for Rinkai Line? I know Tokyo Wide Pass does. Thanks.

The JR Pass is not valid on the Rinkai line so you will have to pay the ticket prices for that part of your trip. If you have more doubts, please contact us or check on our website about using your Japan Rail Pass

Hope it helps 🙂

Thank you for the information. Please also advise how do I travel from the Tsukiji Fish Market area to Tokyo Station with the JR Rail Pass. If the JR Rail Pass could not be used, which other rail pass do I need to purchase and which station in Tsukiji Fish Market area should I start my journey. As this is the first time I am travelling to Tokyo, I am unsure of how to move around. Thank you.

You can get to Tokyo station by metro wich is the fastest way (13 minutes) From the Tsukiji Fish Market walk for 5 minutes to the Tsukiji Station and take the Hibiya Line to the Ginza station. Once there, you need to do a transfer to the Marunouchi Line. After 2 minutes without any stop, you will reach the Tokyo station. The price will be 170 JPY aproximilly

Hope this helps you

Have a nice trip

Kind regards

Hi there’ I will be in Tokyo from October 20th – October 22nd staying near the Tsukiji Fish Market as I intend to watch the tuna auction in action. Another of my planned itinerary will be to travel from the Tsukiji Fish Market area to Narita to visit the Narita-san Temple as well as to savour Kawatoyo Honten’s unagi.

May I know how do I travel from Tuskiji Fish Market Area to Narita using my JR Rail Pass? Thank you.

To go from the Tsukiji Fish Market, in Tokyo, to Narita city you need to take The Narita Express, also known as N’EX. This limited express train service is fast, reliable and punctual, and you can ride it for free with your Japan Rail Pass. N’EX trains take approximately 1 hour to get from and to Tokyo Station and the service operates 27 trains daily. For more information about travel times and schedules , have a look at our blog .

Have a safe trip!

for the 7 days JR Pass, we want to activate it on by 12:00 PM (noon) on October 6 so we can still use them on October 13 before 11:00 AM?

Hello Anna,

The Japan Rail Pass validity period is calculated in days, not in hours. Therefore, if you have purchased a 7-day pass and your activation date (when you first use the pass) is October 6th, the exact expiration time will be midnight on October 12th. What this implies is that if you plan to take a late night train during your last validity day, you will be able to do so as long as your train leaves before midnight. Your JR Pass will be valid until the end of the journey.

Hope this helps. Have a very nice trip to Japan!

Is activation of the JR pass based on the day of activation or a 24 hour time period. Specifically, if I activate my JR pass on Nov 24th at 4p, can I use the pass until Nov 30th at 11:59p or until 4p on that day?

The Japan Rail Pass validity period is calculated in days, not in hours. Therefore, if you have purchased a 7-day pass and your activation date (when you first use the pass) is the 24th of November, the exact expiration time will be midnight on November 30th.

What this implies is that if you plan to take a late night train during your last validity day, you will be able to do so as long as your train leaves before midnight. Your JR Pass will be valid until the end of the journey.

I arrive Narita airport at 4.30pm Oct 10 and plan to depart on Oct 19 at 4pm same airport. I purchase a 7 days JR rail pass and can only activate the pass on Oct 13 so it will last till the last dat of departure. Since my arrival time is late afternoon I plan to spend 2nites in Tokyo, can you please recommend which is the most economical transport to ride from Narita airport into Tokyo? Thanks

The easiest way would be the Narita Express , fully included in the Japan Rail Pass. However there are many other options that take a little longer but at a lower price, please check Narita Airport’s website for further detail.

Is koenji station passed by the jr line? Since i plan to live around that area… thx

Yes – Joenji station is a stop on the Chuo Line , included in your Japan Rail Pass.

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Tokyo Transportation Tips – Best Way to Get Around Tokyo By Train

Last Updated January 11, 2024 William Tang

You are here: Home » Transportation » Tokyo Transportation Tips – Best Way to Get Around Tokyo By Train

Blessed with an incredibly efficient transit system, not only do trains run like clockwork, they are also insanely clean and safe. A dizzying array of train and subway lines, taxis and buses can take you literally anywhere you need to go but for most travellers, the train will be your best bet as the fastest and cheapest.

There are however some basic things you need to know about Tokyo’s transit as you start planning that dream trip.  Here are my tips for the best way to get around Tokyo by train and figuring out how in general Tokyo transportation works.

Read more about Tokyo

  • Looking for suggestions for the best places to eat in Tokyo?
  • Day trip to Kamakura from Tokyo
  • Tasty snacks in Japan you have to buy
  • Best apps you need to know for a trip to Japan

Where to stay in the Tokyo?

  • If you’re looking for great places to stay, my recommendation is to take a look on Booking.com whether you’re staying in Tokyo , Osaka , Kyoto , or Hiroshima .  For a more detailed breakdown, also make sure to read our Tokyo neighborhood guide .

In This Article

Introducing all of the competing rail lines

Best way to get around tokyo with passes, does it make sense to get the jr pass for just tokyo, frequently asked questions, how to get around tokyo by train.

tokyo transportation tips on getting around the city by train

As I mention in the Tokyo food guide , the most daunting thing about travel within the mega-tropolis that is Tokyo, Japan, is the transit system.  You have to get out of your head the idea of singular subway system as you would have in New York City or the S-Bahn and U-Bahn in Berlin.  It is just completely different. 

Let me break down the reasons why Tokyo transportation is complex, but also at the same time, why it doesn’t have to be once you have it sorted out and have a good map in your hand. 

By the end of this you’ll be an expert in Tokyo transportation.

tokyo subway and rail line map

Tokyo’s rail lines are incredibly thorough and that’s really only possible because there are multiple competing lines run by different companies. This is where it gets a little confusing because unlike other cities that are at least in part, government run, these are all privately held and completely separate of one another. 

As you can tell from the map above that there are so many lines, circles, and colours that it’ll easily make you dizzy.

Japan Trip Planning Essentials and Discounts

If you’re in the middle of booking your trip to Japan, here are the most important places you need to go to book:

ninjawifi 15 percent off coupon code for pocket wifi in japan

  • JR Pass – The two most reliable places we always check are JRailPass and JRPass . If you are taking long distance Shinkansen across multiple region, get the full JR Pass . If you’re focusing on one specific area, you only need a JR regional pass .
  • Shinkansen – The JR Pass prices have gone up and for many of you, it’ll make more sense to book tickets individually. The secret is that when you buy your Shinkansen tickets through Klook offers special vouchers for Don Quijote and BIC when booking. Their tickets are super easy to redeem as well. Right now, use code SKS10OFF to save $10 USD off.
  • Hotels/Ryokans – In Japan, the best website for accommodations, hands down is Agoda . When we’ve compared them against Booking , Agoda consistently came out cheaper.
  • Tours – While Viator and GetYourGuide are our go-to’s, Klook and KKDay are much popular in Asia so it’s always worth comparing across all of them to make sure you get the best price.
  • Pocket Wifi – While we do love eSIMs, having a pocket wifi is great for sharing data with a large group. The most popular is NinjaWifi which is easy to pick up at the airport. Use code AWESOME15 to save 15% (automatically applied). Alternatives are offered by JRPass and JRailPass but they aren’t as cheap. For a more global solution, consider Solis and PokeFi .
  • eSIM – The best one is Airalo . Save money by getting the Japan region eSIM and use referral code WILLIA9500 to get $3 USD credit on your first purchase. From now to Feb 29, the 10GB package is half price as well! Ubigi is another one that we’ve had success with where they uniquely offer 5G coverage. Use code AWESOME10 to save 10% on your first order.
  • Car Rental – Big companies like Budget , Avis , and Enterprise operate in Japan but they’re usually the most expensive. The best companies are the local Japanese ones such as Toyota Rentacar, Nippon Rentacar, Orix Rentacar, Nissan Rentacar, and Times Car Rental. To make things easier, use Rentalcars and Klook to compare prices all in one place. Don’t forget, you need an IDP to drive in Japan so get one before you leave your home country.
  • Learn Japanese – It helps to know even a bit of the language before you go. Start your learning with Rosetta Stone Japanese .
  • Cash or credit – Cash is still very important to have in Japan but when you use credit cards, make sure you’re not getting charged those extra exchange rate fees. The best card right now is the Wise Multi-Currency Card which is actually a debit card where you can convert at favorable rates beforehand. This cuts out any sneaky transaction fees.
  • Travel Insurance – Make sure you’re covered in case something happens. Get quotes from Insured Nomads and if you’re from Canada, get quotes from RATESDOTCA .
  • Shopping – Discovering Don Quijote is a quintessential part of the Japan experience. The secret for tax-free shopping is that they have a coupon that can help you save 10% off + additional 5% off if you spend ¥10,000 or more.

The JR Line

jr rail tokyo system map best way to get around tokyo transportation

One of the most popular lines is run by Japan Rail (JR).  I like to think of them as the long distance rail company similar to the GO Train in Toronto, or Amtrak in New York.

They’re primarily known for the bullet train (hence JR Pass ) but in addition, they are also quite intwined with the Tokyo transit because they have quite a number of lines that criss-cross, cut, and circle through the city that make it a very convenient.

The major ones to note are the JR Yamanote Line which is the only loop in the city that strategically many of the major neighbourhood centres in the city.  The rail company also has a helpful Chūō line which cuts through the center of the city.

From there, you have a litany of other lines with JR that can take you to farther reaching districts and prefectures in and around Tokyo.

Tokyo Metro

tokyo transportation - tokyo metro subway map

When you think about transit through a major city, I at least think of subways because of what we’re used to in North America.  The Tokyo Metro combined with Toei   Subway is exactly that. 

They’re completely underground and has an extensive number of lines that spider into all corners of the city.  This is going to be likely your main mode of transportation because of how good it is.

toei subway line in tokyo japan how to get around

You can find Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway by looking for the M logo or the green fan.

Think of Tokyo Metro as the precision form of transit that can take you to the very specific corners of the city while the JR line is meant to take you to the major destinations of the city.

All of the others

getting around tokyo by train ticket

If that wasn’t enough, you then have to throw in all of the regional trains that are owned by a range of companies that all have their own department store. 

If you’re just focusing on the best way to get around Tokyo, it’s unlikely you’ll need to take these but if you’re thinking about a day trip up to Tochigi , Kichijoji for street food , Kamakura , or Hakone, you’ll be looking at one of these.

You will find looking at Google Maps sometimes that you’ll see these lines pop up as interesting ways to connect from neighbourhood to neighbourhood which is why it’s worth noting.  Just keep in mind that these are owned by different companies and on its own will require a completely different ticket.

  • Tokyu Railway – Mainly covers southwestern Tokyo and Kanagawa
  • Tobu Railway – Most will take this to get up to Nikko, Saitama, and Tochigi
  • Seibu Railway – Serves the Tokyo Tama Region and Saitama
  • Keio Railway – Another that serves the Tokyo Tama Region
  • Odakyu Railway – You’ll be using this one to head to Kanagawa including Hakone
  • Keisei Railway – Serves Chiba and likely what you’ll take to get to and from Narita Airport
  • Keikyu Railway – Another that serves  Kanagawa and Haneda Airport
  • Tsukuba Express – Connectst Akihabara with Tsukuba City, Ibaraki

What makes taking the train so complicated in Tokyo?

What ultimately makes Tokyo transportation so complex is that you can’t just pay for a ticket on say Tokyo Metro and be able to switch to the JR line after with that same ticket.  They’re owned by separate companies and as a result, they require different tickets and payment.

This makes things tricky because let’s say you want to buy a 3 day Tokyo Metro and Toei pass but for one of the days, it would be completely more convenient to ride the JR Yamanote circle line but you can’t because you’re “locked in” to Tokyo Metro/Toei.

All of this changes though when you talk about IC cards and the passes that are agnostic to the train company you take.

tokyo metro subway entrance how to get around

With all the foundational stuff out of the way, now we can move onto what you’re really here to learn about.  What should you buy to get around Tokyo?

Great question.  Let’s get started!

suica ic card how to get around in tokyo

For most visitors, picking up a Suica card at a JR station or a PASMO card at non-JR stations will make the most sense to nullify the complexities I mentioned above. 

These are prepaid cards that won’t give you discounts on single tickets but will allow you to freely use all train, subway and bus networks in the city.  With a simple swipe of the card, you’ll be able to get around everywhere you need to go.  This way, you can also bypass trying to figure out how to use ticket dispensing machines.

You need to pay a refundable deposit of ¥500 to get the card but you can get it back when you return it at a station window. When you run out, simply recharge the card at any ticket machine in ¥1000 increments.

Tourist-specific IC cards

PASMO now sells something called a PASMO Passport that’s only available for tourists.  For the price of ¥2000, you get a card that covers the ¥500 deposit and also comes with ¥1500 in prepaid value.  You can pick it up at the airport or at specific metro stations.  Note that it’s only valid for 28 days.

Suica has something similar with the Welcome Suica where no deposit is needed and is similarly valid for 28 days.  The minimum load for a card is ¥1000 but no refunds are offered.  In addition to the Tokyo area, the Welcome Suica can be used for certain transportation systems in the Sendai and Niigata, Hokkaido, Tokai, West Japan and Kyushu areas.

Save stress and buy ahead of time

If you’re nervous ahead of your trip and would rather buy an IC card ahead of time, you can have it mailed to you or use a service on Klook to have it ready for pick up at a specific booth at the airport.

If you plan on doing extensive travel on rail lines during a day, you can consider some of the alternative passes but be careful what rail companies they are valid for.

best way to get around tokyo by purchasing tokyo metro and toei 48 hour pass at BIC Camera

  • Tokyo Free Kippu (Tokyo 1-Day Ticket) – Unlimited use of all subway and JR lines but at ¥1590, I personally think it is way overpriced.
  • Tokyo Subway Pass – If you don’t need to ride any JR lines, this is going to be the best value out of all these passes.  This pass is only sold to foreign visitors at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, specific metro stations and BIC Camera stores in Tokyo (1 day: ¥800, 2 days: ¥1200, 3 days: ¥1500).  Make sure to go to the page to find out all the exact locations.
  • Common One-day Ticket for Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway  – This pass is identical to the pass above but more expensive (¥900).  So why mention it?  Well this pass is open for anyone to buy so in a bind you could buy this at any subway station.
  • Tokyo Metro Open Ticket – This ticket is limited to the Tokyo Metro line.  The one day version is ¥600.
  • Airport to Downtown Tokyo Passes – There are a number of combo passes offered at either Narita or Haneda airports that include transportation to the city and then Tokyo Metro passes.
  • Toei One-Day Unlimited Pass – The only reason why you’d want to use this one is if you knew you’d be riding the Toei line exclusively in the day but that is unlikely based on my experience. Costs ¥700.
  • Tokunai Pass – This pass gives you unlimited access to JR lines only for the day at ¥750.

jr pass booklet for use in tokyo

Image via Flickr  hanayakakajin

This is a question that probably gets asked the most. The JR Pass is a foreign visitor-only rail pass similar to the Eurail Pass in Europe that gives you unlimited ride privileges on JR specific lines that can be purchased in 7, 14, and 21 day denominations of consecutive use.

From a value perspective, the best use of the JR Pass is when you’re able to use it to take a JR bullet train from city to city. If you’re staying in Tokyo exclusively, it won’t make a heck of a lot of sense just because it would be a lot cheaper to use a prepaid Suica card or one of the passes mentioned above.

My recommendation is to tally up all the trains you’re looking to take by using the Hyperdia tool and see if it makes sense to buy the rail pass. If you do end up deciding on picking up a JR Pass, remember that you can only do it from your home country.

During my original trip to Japan , I planned to visit Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, and Kyoto. In order to take advantage of the JR Pass, I started the trip by doing 7 consecutive days in these cities and once my pass expired, I spent the remaining 5 days of the trip using a Suica card.

Once you get these basics down you’ll be all set to travel around Japan’s capital city.

Grab your JR Pass before you go

If you’re looking to do any travelling around Japan, I highly recommend picking up a  JRailPass .  Keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase it before your trip and ship it to your home because you can’t buy it once you’re in Japan.

JRailPass

Whether it’s the PASMO or Suica, you can use these cards for all JR trains.

If you’re going to be spending over a week in Japan and relying on mostly public transportation, it’s worth investing in an IC card for convenience and peace of mind. Day passes can offer great value in scenarios where you’ll be using the metro heavily in a single day. These also have the advantage of not having to worry about deposit money and topping up but you do have to constantly buy new day passes on the machine.

Yes it’s possible but with careful planning as the lines don’t reach every corner of the city.

The Suica can be purchased in major JR EAST stations at Multifunction Ticket Vending Machines, JR Ticket Offices (Midori-no-madoguchi).

Yes, they can be used in cities such as Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and others.

The PASMO passport has various special privileges including deals on shopping, experiences, meals, and lodging.

For the standard Suica and PASMO cards, you can return the card for a refund of the deposit and remaining balance at specific stations specified by the company (Suica – Tokyo JR East stations, PASMO – Tokyo non-JR subway line stations, or the stations at Narita or Haneda Airports). This can only be done in Tokyo. For the PASMO Passport specifically, you will not be able to request refund on remaining balance or the deposit of the card.

Yes, both Suica and PASMO cards have a built-in discount but it is very marginal. You’re looking at 1 JPY to 10 JPY discount on a short one-way journey within Tokyo (that’s just a $0.10 USD at most). Ultimately that’s better than nothing as these savings do add up.

With the introduction of tourist-friendly IC cards, the Welcome Suica is the best one since it doesn’t require a deposit. This is important because neither card can be refunded.

Suica is accepted in almost every corner of Japan. One thing you need to know about is that Suica cannot be used for continuous travel between areas. The use of transportation begun in one area must be ended in that area. When crossing from one area to another, first leave the ticket gate and then re-enter.

What you should read next

  • Ultimate Tokyo Japan Food Guide – Where And What To Eat
  • HOTEL REVIEW: Conrad Tokyo
  • Where To Stay In Tokyo – A Guide To The Best Hotels and Neighborhoods
  • Ramen etiquette you should know
  • Best ramen restaurants in Tokyo
  • Why you should make a day trip to Kichijoji for the best street food

About William Tang

William Tang is the Chief of Awesome behind the award-winning Going Awesome Places which is focused on outdoor adventure, and experiential travel. His true passion lies in telling stories, inspiring photography and videos, and writing detailed itineraries and travel guides. He is a member of Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC), Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), and Travel Massive. He has also been featured in publications such as Reader's Digest, Entrepreneur, Men's Journal, and Haute Living. Make sure to learn more about William Tang to find out his story and how Going Awesome Places started.

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The Best Ways to Travel Around Tokyo 

Travelling to different countries is such a fun experience. You are ever so eager to see as much as you possibly can. Especially during the short amount of time you have allocated yourself in a particular place. And exploring Tokyo is no different. You want to capitalize on your time but you also want to the transport and aspect to be cost-effective. Coming from South Africa, a car is a necessity here and parking is not an issue. But not everywhere is like that and you have to adapt. I’ll break down the six different ways to travel around Tokyo and you can decide which works for you in terms of convenience, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

Best-Way-to-Travel-Tokyo_

1. Walking 

Akhihabara

People in Tokyo do enjoy walking and can often be seen walking kilometres in distance. If you are in a particular city, for example in Akihabara or Shibuya, the streets of shops and restaurants are within walking distance of each other. However, this distance can be rather long. The people also walk relatively fast in pace and it’s common practice that if you are going to walk slower you keep to the left so as to allow people in a hurry to pass you on the right. If you are an active person and enjoy walking then this may be the ideal choice of transportation for you and it will save you money.

Streets of Asakusa

On average we did about 12 kilometres a day. We did however on one day do almost 22 kilometres and as I said earlier we are not walking people so it was tough and exhausting. That being said it can most definitely be done. 

2. Taxi 

Another option available is a Japanese taxi cab. It’s very convenient and available at most stops around the city. There are specially marked stops which indicate where you can take a taxi. You join the queue and taxis stop one by one and passengers get in. You simply advise the driver of your destination and you are on your way. Please note that most of these taxis are older vehicles, in pristine condition, driven by older men and these men don’t speak English.

Taxi Stop Shibuya

When we used a taxi, I had already preloaded my destination on my google maps app on my cellphone and just showed my phone to the driver. After studying the map he understood where we wanted to go. Alternatively, you can tell the driver the name of the place you would like to go and depending on the situation he may understand what you have said. Taxis have standard fees which are displayed on a notice on the back of the driver’s seat. The notice is displayed in both Japanese and English so there can be no misunderstanding.

Here is a breakdown of the fares to expect: 

Base fare – 410 yen for the first 1.052 km 

Additional – 80 yen for every 247 metres 

Additional – 80 yen for every 90 seconds of the taxi is travelling at a speed of 10km/h or less 

Night surcharge – 20% surcharge for travel between 22:00 to 05:00 

Bus and Taxi Stop

It would be best to check the notice before departing as the charges could increase. Upon arrival into the vehicle, the driver starts the meter and it remains on 410 yen until you pass the first 1.052 kilometres and it thereafter starts adding up. At your departure, the driver will show you the meter with the total amount. Payment can be made in cash or card as most taxis do have card facilities. This is not one of the cheaper transport options but it is convenient. And after a few days of walking, we did use a taxi. We journeyed from Shibuya to Asakusa and the fare was approximately 5800 yen for a total of 17 kilometres. 

3. Uber 

Everyone is well aware of Uber and how it works and how convenient it makes life. I use Uber regularly and never have a problem. Uber generally offers you the options between Uber X, Uber Black or Uber Van. However, in Tokyo, this is different the only options you have are Uber Black and Uber Van. And as you may or may not know Uber Black is on the pricier side. The vehicle range for the Uber Black is very fancy. The cars include the Toyota Vellfire and the Toyota Alphard. 

Uber

Examples for the cost for an actual trip can be seen below: 

A trip from Akihabara, Chiyoda City to Ueno, which is 1.61 kilometres away cost 1 119 yen

Uber trip

Whilst a trip from Ueno to the Haneda Airport, which is 25.75 kilometres away cost 10 478 yen.  

Uber trip 1

As you can see it was the least cost-effective method of transportation however maybe try a smaller trip so you can experience the luxury of the vehicle. The inside of the vehicle is spacious, clean and in pristine condition. The driver was courteous and very professional. I would not recommend that you use it as a regular mode of transport around Tokyo as apart from the convenience of being picked up from your location, it isn’t as reasonable as we are usually used to when it comes to utilizing the Uber services. 

4. Bus 

Buses are available city-wide and bus stops are regularly located on streets. Buses are also a cheaper option for longer trips. We used a bus for our trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, located in Honshu in the Chubu Region of Japan, which is about an hour and a half away.  You can also purchase a card which would contain many trips which would enable you to utilize the card. 

Bus Shibuya

5. Train 

Train station

Of all the transportation options, the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective method was definitely the train. Trains are available every two minutes and punctuality is something that can be counted on. The instructions to use the trains are very simple and most of the signage is in English which is definitely a bonus. Once you establish the different lines available and on which platform you should be standing to travel in the correct direction, it becomes the simplest way to explore Tokyo.

Train Ticket

On our journey, we didn’t anticipate using the train to travel a lot, this was as a result of not knowing how Uber and taxis work and planning to rely on them. However once we did get to Tokyo, we used the train every day, even if it was for short trips from Ueno to Asakusa. A one-way trip from Ueno to Asakusa cost 170 yen. And the duration of the journey is approximately 5 minutes. Whilst a longer trip from Ueno to Tokyo Disneyland cost 390 yen. With the duration being 35 to 40 minutes as it involves taking two trains on two different lines.

Train Details

Tokyo Subway App

I would suggest you download the Tokyo subway app which enables you to enter your departure station and arrival station and shows you the different line options which you can choose. You can see an example below of the option available for the route from Ueno to Shinjuku. Another great option would be to purchase a passmo card which enables you to load a few trips onto the card and just tap your card at the entry and exit point for trips to be deducted. This saves you the hassle of going to the ticketing machine at the beginning of every trip and purchasing a single ticket. Just a side note, some of the machines are not in English so make sure you use a machine that has the option of international which enables you to change the language to English. 

Train Station Tokyo

The app can be found and downloaded from the Tokyo Metro  website. 

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6. Car 

One of the final options available would be to hire a car. Car rentals are fairly cost-effective and would provide you with the flexibility of planning your journey according to your needs. And on paper, it seems like a good plan, however, I’m quite glad we didn’t choose this option for our first trip to Tokyo. Majority of the road signage, if not all, are in Japanese. So if you don’t understand the language, it’s going to be very tough to get around. That being said, if you are keen for the challenge of deciphering road signs and street names( all street names are in Japanese) then give it a go. The average cost for car hire for a single day for a small car, like a Nissan March, is 4 917 yen per day and most of the vehicles have the added functionality of built-in Multi-language GPS systems. 

Tokyo Skyline

As you can see the various modes of travel to get you in and around the hot spots in Tokyo. Ultimately choose the best option for yourself that suits your needs, convenience and cost-effectiveness for your Tokyo trip. And remember there are tons of things to see so the last thing you want is to be bogged down by how you are going to get around to different places. 

If you liked this article, check out my top tips for things to do at The Spice Route, Western Cape .

Best Ways to Travel Around Tokyo

* Please note that all prices and contact information are correct at time of publication. Please check the venues websites as prices may change without notice. *

Love this post! So detailed and extremely helpful

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The Best Way To Get Around Tokyo To Make The Most Of Your Trip

Aerial view Tokyo skyline

Tokyo is large — very, very large. The city metropolis covers an area of 844 square miles, while the greater Tokyo area covers 5,240 square miles. New York City covers around 309 square miles – it's itty-bitty in comparison. Why are we telling you this? To convince you that you're going to need more than your own two feet to get around Tokyo.

However, that's not to say that you can't walk in Tokyo. In fact, it's a very pedestrian-friendly city, according to Tokyo Cheapo . Central Tokyo, they say, is fairly compact, and walking is the cheapest way to get around (if the name Tokyo Cheapo didn't give them away, they focus on budget travel.) They have even created a guide with six walking routes to inspire you in different areas of the city. Another Tokyo Cheapo option is to take to two wheels. Tokyo is bike-friendly, and there are plenty of rental shops. Now you're confused, right? To walk or not to walk?

Subway and trains

The issue with sticking to two feet or two wheels in Tokyo is that you will only be able to see a small portion of the city. Truly Tokyo describes Tokyo as comprised of 14 urban hubs, all of which are like a small city in their own right. So, you can explore much of Shibuya in the west of Tokyo on foot, but you probably won't want to leg it over to Asakusa in the northeast (it's a 7.5-mile walk!)

It's time to take advantage of Tokyo's outstanding public transportation system. Japan Guide directs visitors to the JR Yamanote Line, a circular line that connects all of Tokyo's major city centers. As it's operated by JR East, anyone with a valid Japan Rail Pass can travel on it for free. There are five other major JR-operated lines in the center too.

The other best way to cross the city is by subway, according to Truly Tokyo, which lauds the Tokyo Metro. The fares are pretty cheap, with a day ticket costing around the equivalent of $7.50 (as of this article) for adults. Tokyo Cheapo recommends you get a rechargeable Suica or Pasmo IC card if you're in the city for more than 24 hours; these can be used all over Japan on trains, buses, and subway systems.

Buses, taxis, and cars

Tokyo Cheapo writes that while the bus network in Tokyo is extensive, it's not ideal for tourists as it can be complicated to work out the routes and stops. They recommend using it only when the subway or train network fails you. The good news is that you can use a Suica or Pasmo IC card, so paying the fare isn't an issue. 

Another option is to take a taxi across Tokyo. On the positive side, according to Truly Tokyo, taxis are easy to find and the drivers are honest — you won't get scammed. But, they're expensive, this being the major downside.

And finally, how about driving yourself? The best way to rent a car in Tokyo is to put down the keys, slowly back out of the rental car place and head to the nearest subway station. We joke, but as Japan-Guide says, you probably don't need to rent a car in Tokyo when public transportation is so good. On top of the traffic problems, you'll also find it difficult and expensive to park. Save yourself the stress and enjoy the subway.

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20 things you must do in Tokyo

Posted: March 20, 2024 | Last updated: March 21, 2024

<p>Trying to navigate Tokyo can feel like trying to eat a bowl of Ramen with your hands. Anyone who has been to the city knows that it spans forever, with things to do in every corner of town. So where does one start? Maybe start with our curated list of activities, which offers a wide range of classic ventures. From modern wonders to ancient splendors, these are the things that make Tokyo great. </p>

Trying to navigate Tokyo can feel like trying to eat a bowl of Ramen with your hands. Anyone who has been to the city knows that it spans forever, with things to do in every corner of town. So where does one start? Maybe start with our curated list of activities, which offers a wide range of classic ventures. From modern wonders to ancient splendors, these are the things that make Tokyo great. 

<p>This stroll through ancient temples feels both overwhelming and refreshing.  It's the perfect way to start your trip, immersing yourself in the ancient relics that made Tokyo iconic. No one thinks of skyscrapers when they think of Tokyo--they think of a samurai aesthetic that put the country on the map. </p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/the_20_beer_styles_you_should_know_about_031224/s1__40041499'>The 20 beer styles you should know about</a></p>

This stroll through ancient temples feels both overwhelming and refreshing.  It's the perfect way to start your trip, immersing yourself in the ancient relics that made Tokyo iconic. No one thinks of skyscrapers when they think of Tokyo--they think of a samurai aesthetic that put the country on the map. 

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<p>Sake, karaoke, bright lights—what's more Japanese than that? There are 280 bars crammed into four streets in Golden Gai, each with about 15 seats. It's a choose-your-own adventure with no wrong options and the same ending every time: you're hammered in Tokyo.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Sake, karaoke, bright lights—what's more Japanese than that? There are 280 bars crammed into four streets in Golden Gai, each with about 15 seats. It's a choose-your-own adventure with no wrong options and the same ending every time: you're hammered in Tokyo.

Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.

<p>The Imperial Palace embodies the beauty of modern Tokyo. It's an ancient palace guarded by giant walls and lush foliage, yet is attacked on all sides by skyscrapers. That's the story of modern Tokyo, the battle between ancient relics and modern invention. </p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/20_spinach_recipes_you_absolutely_must_try_032024/s1__39117830'>20 spinach recipes you absolutely must try</a></p>

Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace embodies the beauty of modern Tokyo. It's an ancient palace guarded by giant walls and lush foliage, yet is attacked on all sides by skyscrapers. That's the story of modern Tokyo, the battle between ancient relics and modern invention. 

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<p>The line is like a mix between Disneyland and Schlitterbahn. Combine the two, and you'll have a three-hour wait. But just a taste of the restaurant's udon makes the wait worth it. The city is overflowing with incredible places to eat, but we might not have had a better meal than this one. The artistry that goes into the fat wheat noodles, the craft that goes into making soup this savory—that's udon worth waiting for.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

The line is like a mix between Disneyland and Schlitterbahn. Combine the two, and you'll have a three-hour wait. But just a taste of the restaurant's udon makes the wait worth it. The city is overflowing with incredible places to eat, but we might not have had a better meal than this one. The artistry that goes into the fat wheat noodles, the craft that goes into making soup this savory—that's udon worth waiting for.

<p>The roll call at Shibuya includes great restaurants, modern skyscrapers, and some of the best views of the city. You can take an elevator to multiple observation decks that will make your jaw drop. We've never seen a skyline like this one, probably because one doesn't exist.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/12_things_that_will_surprise_you_at_european_restaurants_031224/s1__38269648'>12 things that will surprise you at European restaurants</a></p>

The roll call at Shibuya includes great restaurants, modern skyscrapers, and some of the best views of the city. You can take an elevator to multiple observation decks that will make your jaw drop. We've never seen a skyline like this one, probably because one doesn't exist.

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<p>Walking into Meiji Jingu is like walking into a time machine. You feel like you just stepped into a samurai movie when you enter this collection of temples, paths, and parks, some of which feel like they haven't been touched in centuries. The same sun-dappled trees waiting to greet you for decades.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Meiji Jingu

Walking into Meiji Jingu is like walking into a time machine. You feel like you just stepped into a samurai movie when you enter this collection of temples, paths, and parks, some of which feel like they haven't been touched in centuries. The same sun-dappled trees waiting to greet you for decades.

<p>Nakemegero changes from a ghost town to a parade within a single season. Like a tree in winter (cold and forlorn) that blossoms into a colorful pillow of pink, so too does the city of Nakamegero when Cherry blossoms bloom. It's okay only to visit when it's spring. That's when the neighborhood springs to life.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/21_foods_that_surprisingly_taste_better_frozen_031224/s1__37739637'>21 foods that surprisingly taste better frozen</a></p>

Nakemegero changes from a ghost town to a parade within a single season. Like a tree in winter (cold and forlorn) that blossoms into a colorful pillow of pink, so too does the city of Nakamegero when Cherry blossoms bloom. It's okay only to visit when it's spring. That's when the neighborhood springs to life.

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<p>One of the best places to eat ramen is under a train station. That's Tokyo for you. You can't predict where Tokyo's gems are going to be--unless you read this list of course--but they are out there waiting to be discovered. Ramen Street is a row of noodle shops packed with locals on their way to work. What is the best way to find it? Listen for the slurp of ramen.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Ramen Street

One of the best places to eat ramen is under a train station. That's Tokyo for you. You can't predict where Tokyo's gems are going to be--unless you read this list of course--but they are out there waiting to be discovered. Ramen Street is a row of noodle shops packed with locals on their way to work. What is the best way to find it? Listen for the slurp of ramen.

<p>Japan's farmer's market is near the world's busiest street in Shibuya but never feels overly crowded. Every weekend, farmers from across the country come out to sell their best produce. Grab a bite and then wash it down with some sake from a nearby food cart.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/20_foods_you_didnt_know_you_can_make_on_the_grill_031224/s1__23860369'>20 foods you didn't know you can make on the grill</a></p>

Farmers Market

Japan's farmer's market is near the world's busiest street in Shibuya but never feels overly crowded. Every weekend, farmers from across the country come out to sell their best produce. Grab a bite and then wash it down with some sake from a nearby food cart.

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<p>Fans of Studio Ghibli (how can you not be?) should check out this museum from the studio's founder. The director of such classics as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki, has crafted a museum every bit as playful as his films, bringing out the child in all of us.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Ghibli Museum

Fans of Studio Ghibli (how can you not be?) should check out this museum from the studio's founder. The director of such classics as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki, has crafted a museum every bit as playful as his films, bringing out the child in all of us.

<p>Wander the ancient streets of Monzen Nackaco at night, when the golden leaves are lit above you, and the street vendors glow with red. As medieval drums pound in the background, you'll find yourself lost in a maze of historical grandeur.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/20_slow_cooker_recipes_with_six_ingredients_or_fewer_031224/s1__39117846'>20 slow-cooker recipes with six ingredients or fewer</a></p>

Monzen Nackako

Wander the ancient streets of Monzen Nackaco at night, when the golden leaves are lit above you, and the street vendors glow with red. As medieval drums pound in the background, you'll find yourself lost in a maze of historical grandeur.

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<p>It's on every tourist's menu when they arrive in Tokyo. Sushi! There are too many iconic sushi spots to mention, and trying to pick just one would be like trying to pick just one place to eat pasta in Italy. We recommend you ask the locals, who will likely point you to their favorite sushi spot in the area. </p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

It's on every tourist's menu when they arrive in Tokyo. Sushi! There are too many iconic sushi spots to mention, and trying to pick just one would be like trying to pick just one place to eat pasta in Italy. We recommend you ask the locals, who will likely point you to their favorite sushi spot in the area. 

<p>Who doesn't enjoy a nice garden stroll? 145 acres of lush foliage, ponds and temples sounds pretty great to me. The temple resting on Shinjuku's pond, with red tiles shooting out like a dragon's breath, is simply a transcendent experience.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/celebrate_st_patricks_day_with_these_20_irish_themed_recipes_031224/s1__37281975'>Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these 20 Irish-themed recipes</a></p>

Shinjuku Gardens

Who doesn't enjoy a nice garden stroll? 145 acres of lush foliage, ponds and temples sounds pretty great to me. The temple resting on Shinjuku's pond, with red tiles shooting out like a dragon's breath, is simply a transcendent experience.

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<p>The electric bill has got to be through the roof. At night, the 2,080-foot tower puts on a perpetual light show, lighting up the sky with neon colors that dazzle nearby pedestrians. You can pay to go inside, but the real view is of the monument itself.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Tokyo Skytree

The electric bill has got to be through the roof. At night, the 2,080-foot tower puts on a perpetual light show, lighting up the sky with neon colors that dazzle nearby pedestrians. You can pay to go inside, but the real view is of the monument itself.

<p>This is one of those buildings that makes you stop in your tracks. It's not a must-see, per se, but you will be dazzled if you happen to walk by.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/20_american_food_and_drinks_that_confuse_the_rest_of_the_world_031224/s1__39980415'>20 American food and drinks that confuse the rest of the world</a></p>

Tokyo Tower

This is one of those buildings that makes you stop in your tracks. It's not a must-see, per se, but you will be dazzled if you happen to walk by.

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<p>Try one of the pastries at the local convenience stores, especially the ones that look like puff balls. This might sound insane. In one of the culinary capitals of the world, I'm asking you to eat cheap food at a convenience store. But those rich, savory Tokyo pastries are still on my mind to this day.</p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Try one of the pastries at the local convenience stores, especially the ones that look like puff balls. This might sound insane. In one of the culinary capitals of the world, I'm asking you to eat cheap food at a convenience store. But those rich, savory Tokyo pastries are still on my mind to this day.

<p>Tokyo is the center of Japan's art scene, with museums packed with the country's biggest names. Nezu Museum and Yayoi Kasuma Museum are two spots you should check out, boasting an array of modern pieces that rival anything in the country.</p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/18_things_you_think_are_normal_but_are_actually_uniquely_american_031224/s1__39111167'>18 things you think are normal but are actually uniquely American</a></p>

Tokyo is the center of Japan's art scene, with museums packed with the country's biggest names. Nezu Museum and Yayoi Kasuma Museum are two spots you should check out, boasting an array of modern pieces that rival anything in the country.

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<p>Take a barge out to sea and marvel at the Tokyo skyline. During the warm season, these open-door ships take you to several viewpoints while food and sake are delivered to your table. </p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Take a barge out to sea and marvel at the Tokyo skyline. During the warm season, these open-door ships take you to several viewpoints while food and sake are delivered to your table. 

<p>Discover all the modern food trends at this kitschy mall. Are deserts shaped like anime? Ramen you can smell from a block away? Make sure you arrive at Harajuku on an empty stomach. </p><p>You may also like: <a href='https://www.yardbarker.com/lifestyle/articles/25_of_the_wildest_chip_flavors_from_all_around_the_world_032024/s1__23433628'>25 of the wildest chip flavors from all around the world</a></p>

Discover all the modern food trends at this kitschy mall. Are deserts shaped like anime? Ramen you can smell from a block away? Make sure you arrive at Harajuku on an empty stomach. 

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<p>There is no center in Tokyo. Unlike most cities, this sprawling city has multiple centers with their own distinct vibe. A great way to see Tokyo--the grand, magnificent, ever-changing Tokyo--is to wander the city's many neighborhoods. At the intersection of modern and ancient, Tokyo has so much to offer. </p><p><a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-cj9pqbr0vn9in2b6ddcd8sfgpfq6x6utp44fssrv6mc2gtybw0us'>Did you enjoy this slideshow? Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.</a></p>

Neighborhoods

There is no center in Tokyo. Unlike most cities, this sprawling city has multiple centers with their own distinct vibe. A great way to see Tokyo--the grand, magnificent, ever-changing Tokyo--is to wander the city's many neighborhoods. At the intersection of modern and ancient, Tokyo has so much to offer. 

Did you enjoy this slideshow? Follow us on MSN to see more of our exclusive lifestyle content.

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IMAGES

  1. The Best Ways to Travel Around Tokyo

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  2. Tokyo Travel Essentials

    the best way to travel around tokyo

  3. 20 best free things to do in Tokyo

    the best way to travel around tokyo

  4. The Top 11 Tokyo Attractions You Must Visit 2023

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  5. Places To Visit Tokyo

    the best way to travel around tokyo

  6. The Top 11 Tokyo Attractions You Must Visit 2023

    the best way to travel around tokyo

VIDEO

  1. Tokyo Travel Guide: Must-Do's for an Unforgettable Trip

  2. TRAVEL TOKYO JAPAN VLOG 1

  3. Retro Game Hunting Around TOKYO

  4. Things to do in Tokyo, Japan

  5. Enjoying Tokyo on a Student Budget

  6. The Most Fun Way to Travel Around Tokyo! (LUUP E-Scooter & E-Bike Guide)

COMMENTS

  1. Getting Around Tokyo

    Subways and trains are the best way to get around Tokyo. A prepaid Suica or Pasmo card is the BEST way to pay for transport. You can buy a Suica card online for pickup at the airport. Taxis are excellent but rather expensive. Buses aren't recommended for short-term visitors. See below for full details. Recommended Tokyo Hotels.

  2. How to get around Tokyo

    In Tokyo, the above-ground Yamanote (loop) and the Chūō-Sōbu (central) lines are the most useful. Tickets start at ¥180 and go up depending on how far you travel. Tokyo has 13 subway lines, nine of which are operated by Tokyo Metro and four by Toei. The lines are color-coded, making navigation fairly simple - although a transfer ticket ...

  3. How to get to and around Tokyo: Access, Orientation and Transportation

    Getting around. Tokyo is covered by a dense network of train, subway and bus lines, which are operated by about a dozen different companies. The train lines operated by JR East and the subway lines are most convenient for moving around central Tokyo. Tokyo's most prominent train line is the JR Yamanote Line, a loop line which connects Tokyo's ...

  4. The dos (and don'ts!) of Tokyo public transport

    Things to do (and not do!) when taking public transport around Tokyo. Tokyo's subway and train maps can look utterly impenetrable for the first time traveller or even a repeat visitor. But it's very well signed in English, and once you understand how the system works it's no more complicated than any other major world city's public ...

  5. Getting Around

    Getting Around. With a peerless public transportation network and an increasing number of multi lingual signage, getting around Tokyo is becoming relatively stress-free. With a JR Rail Pass or travel card, you can navigate stations, hop on and off buses and even take waterbuses with ease. Traveling over ground, underground, at slow-speed or ...

  6. The Secret to Getting Around Tokyo

    Tokyo transport is affordable compared to the relatively cost of living and traveling in Japan. One-way subway rides cost between ¥170-320 ($1.50-2.75), and multi-day passes can be even cheaper. Comparatively, in the Thai capital of Bangkok (where people earn less than 20% what Tokyoites do), one-way rides on the BTS SkyTrain can cost as more ...

  7. Getting Around

    Full guide to getting around Tokyo — A transport system overview of the metro, railways, buses and airport transfer from Narita or Haneda. ... Tokyo's Best Airport — Flying into Narita vs. Haneda March 29, 2024 | Aimee Gardner ... Tokyo to Kyoto: The Fastest and Cheapest Ways to Travel October 27, 2023 | TC Team

  8. Tokyo Transportation

    The price for a one-day Toei bus pass is 500 yen for adults (about $3.50) and 250 yen for children (around $1.70). If you do take a bus, it's best to have exact change; the money changer accepts ...

  9. The Ultimate Guide to Tokyo Transport for Tourists

    The Tokyo Monorail travel direct from Haneda Station to Hamamatsucho Station, and from there you can transfer to either the JR Yamanote Line or other lines to get around Tokyo. The Monorail is included in your Japan Rail Pass. The Keikyu Line is the subway option to travel from Haneda Airport into Tokyo.

  10. Getting Around Tokyo: A Complete Transportation Guide

    Trains and Subways. By far the best way of getting around Tokyo is via the trains and subways. There are thirteen subway lines in Tokyo. They are run by two interlinked subway systems, the Tokyo Metro Subway, and the Toei Subway. Prepaid cards or subway passes will allow you to pass seamlessly from one subway system to the other.

  11. How to travel in Tokyo: Transportation for getting around in Japan

    Train. Taking the train is the most common and popular way to get around. JR, which stands for Japan Rails, is the company that operates all of these trains and if you have a JR pass, the fees will be covered. The shinkansen—the famous bullet train—is the fastest way to travel from city to city.

  12. 17 Best Things to do in Tokyo, Japan (2024 Travel Itinerary)

    Getting Around. Getting around Tokyo is super easy; the organized Japanese public transport system makes traveling a dream! ... It's the best way to take in the vibe of Tokyo, and there's something out of the ordinary to see on every street corner. ... Costs of Traveling in Tokyo. Travel on a budget in Tokyo, from $480 − $950 USD weekly ...

  13. A beginner's guide to visiting Tokyo: Everything you need to eat, see

    You'll want to check out our guide to the best points hotels in Tokyo to find the one that works best for you. Related: 3 of the best value points hotels in Tokyo. How to get to Tokyo. Naturally, there are a ton of ways to get to Tokyo — it's one of the biggest cities in the world, after all. There are two airports that serve the city: Haneda ...

  14. Best Ways to Get Around Tokyo: Your Guide for First-Time Visitors

    5. Bus Routes: The City's Threadwork. You hop on a Toei Bus or Tokyo Metropolitan Bus, and suddenly, you're on a magic carpet ride through Shibuya's trendy streets, Shinjuku's neon jungle, or Asakusa's historic charm. These buses aren't just rides; they're your ticket to Tokyo's kaleidoscope of urban adventures.

  15. The Best Tokyo Itinerary For First-Time Visitors

    How to get around in Tokyo. Tokyo's public transport system is efficient, clean and safe, with trains and subways the best way of getting around; a lack of signs in English makes the bus system a lot more challenging. For short, cross-town journeys, taxis are handy and, if shared by a group of people, not all that expensive.Sightseeing tours are also worth considering if you are pushed for ...

  16. Getting around Tokyo with the Japan Rail Pass

    Other ways of getting around Tokyo. While the rail lines are the fastest, most efficient, and most reliable means of getting around Tokyo, other methods of travel are available for your convenience. The city of Tokyo is crisscrossed by a network of city buses routes. In Tokyo, buses require a flat rate fee of ¥210 (and ¥110 for children). You ...

  17. Best Way to Get Around Tokyo By Train

    Odakyu Railway - You'll be using this one to head to Kanagawa including Hakone. Keisei Railway - Serves Chiba and likely what you'll take to get to and from Narita Airport. Keikyu Railway - Another that serves Kanagawa and Haneda Airport. Tsukuba Express - Connectst Akihabara with Tsukuba City, Ibaraki.

  18. The Best Ways to Travel Around Tokyo

    4. Bus. Buses are available city-wide and bus stops are regularly located on streets. Buses are also a cheaper option for longer trips. We used a bus for our trip from Tokyo to Mount Fuji, located in Honshu in the Chubu Region of Japan, which is about an hour and a half away.

  19. Tokyo Public Transport Guide: How to Get Around Without ...

    Top ways to commute in Tokyo. 1. Train and subway. Commuting via railway is famous as the top-recommended mode of public transport in Tokyo for good reason. Japan's railway transport system, comprising train and subway networks, is one of the most well-connected and efficient in the world.

  20. A Definitive Guide to Trains in Tokyo: The Best Way to Get Around the

    The best way to get around Tokyo is to hop on the JR trains, ... The Tokyo Subway Pass is unlimited travel on the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway over a set period of time e.g. 72 hours. It's an unlimited subway pass for travels on all Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway Lines. With access to 13 different routes and over 250 metro stops that cover most ...

  21. The Best Way To Get Around Tokyo To Make The Most Of Your Trip

    The other best way to cross the city is by subway, according to Truly Tokyo, which lauds the Tokyo Metro. The fares are pretty cheap, with a day ticket costing around the equivalent of $7.50 (as of this article) for adults. Tokyo Cheapo recommends you get a rechargeable Suica or Pasmo IC card if you're in the city for more than 24 hours; these ...

  22. A Complete Guide to Trains in Tokyo: The Best Way to Get Around the

    The best way to get around Tokyo is to hop on the JR trains, ... The Tokyo Subway Pass gives you up to 3-days of unlimited travel on the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. With access to 13 different routes and over 250 metro stops that cover most of the city's metropolitan area, it's the perfect ticket for those with a full day of exploring to ...

  23. The Best Ways to Travel Around Tokyo: An easy Guide

    The Best Ways to Travel Around Tokyo: A Comprehensive Guide. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, getting around Tokyo can be a challenge, especially for expats who are new to the city. Luckily, Tokyo has an efficient transportation system that makes it easy to get from one place to another. In this comprehensive guide, we ...

  24. 20 things you must do in Tokyo

    20 things you must do in Tokyo. Story by Asher Luberto. • 3w. 1 / 21. 20 things you must do in Tokyo ©Shutterstock. Trying to navigate Tokyo can feel like trying to eat a bowl of Ramen with ...