Getting Around in Tokyo

Getting around Tokyo surprisingly is easy once you are familiar with the railway systems. The public transportation system in Tokyo, which includes subways, trains, buses and taxis, is very extensive. But it is among the cleanest, safest and perhaps most efficient in the world.

From Airport

Getting Around Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo has two airports: Narita International Airport and Haneda International Airport (mainly internal flights). Narita Airport is accessible by the Narita Express Train which is the fastest way to get from the city centre to the airport. Trains depart approx. every half hour.

The Kesei Skyliner trains go from Narita to Ueno/Nippori station in approx. 1 hr. Limousine buses run regularly from the airport to key points in the city. Taxis are available for the 70 km journey but fares are astronomical.

Haneda Airport is served by the Tokyo Monorail leaving every 10 minutes almost around the clock.

Narita Airport
Website: http://www.narita-airport.or.jp

Narita Express Trains
Website: http://www.jreast.co.jp

Kesei Skyliner
Website: http://www.keisei.co.jp

Haneda Airport
Website: http://www.tokyo-airport-bldg.co.jp

Tokyo Monorail
Website: http://www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp

Taxi

Taxis are expensive but convenient in Tokyo, fares starting at approx. ¥720 and rising by about ¥100 every 350 meters after the first two kilometers. Weekend rates are more expensive as are rides between 11pm and 5am. Taxi stands are located in almost all busy areas and tipping is not expected.

Public Transport

Tokyo has one of the most efficient train and subway systems in the world. Trains are clean and fast and all stations have signs in English. The Japan Railways operated overland train lines are color-coded, the most frequently used line being the Yamanote line. Tokyo Metro runs the subway which consists of 12 lines. Subways and trains operate from 5am-midnight.

A variety of tickets and passes are on offer to make it easier than buying individual tickets for every trip. Buy a prepaid Suica travel pass to travel on all JR lines. These can be purchased at JR Green Window areas or at ticket machines. A card costs ¥2000. The Pasmo ticket (¥1000/3000/5000) is similar to the Suica but cannot be used on JR lines. To transfer from the Tokyo Metro network to the JR network a transfer ticket is required which is available at the transfer point.

East Japan Railway Company
Website: http://www.jreast.co.jp

Tokyo Metro
Website: http://www.tokyometro.jp

Bus

Buses in Tokyo are also run by several different companies. It is less confusing to take the subway or trains around the city, but bus routes are efficient. Nevertheless, few signs are in English which makes navigation difficult. Fares are approx. ¥200 and fare machines accept most coins. Bus route guides in English are available at Toei subway stations and hotels.

Walking

Tokyo is a really large city, but still much of it is accessible on foot, provided you're willing to do a little walking. Arm yourself with a good map (usually found at one of the better hotels), plan accordingly, and you can have a fun day without spending much on transportation.