So, you want to go to Tokyo? Go for it! It has one of the biggest and most confusing subway systems ever, but once you get the hang of it, you’re going to be fine! These are my tips that I used when I was in Tokyo. I’m not an expert, but I just thought these would be helpful things to share!
Tokyo is an amazing city with many different neighborhoods and landmarks to get lost in. It’s good knowing some of the places you want to go, and then exploring from there. The subways are your best bet for getting around: they have English signage/announcements, it’s quick and you don’t have to worry about traffic, and you can get basically everywhere. Taxis in Japan are far more expensive than taxis in Korea, and if you’re coming from the land of the cheap cab fare like I was, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You’ll also be running to catch the last subway like I had to on Saturday night.
First things first: Get an app!
I have an android phone and I downloaded and used the TokyoSubway app like my life depended on it, because sometimes it did. This was a quick easy-to-use app that you just use by clicking from Point A to Point B, and it told you all the transfers you’d need to make, and how long it would take. This app only used the Tokyo Metro/Toei lines as far as
I could tell, but it did give me some information for JR lines too. You can also use Google Maps pretty well in Tokyo. It will give you the quickest routes and uses every line in Japan, public and private.
Next! Get a pass!
Tokyo subways run on a few systems: both public and private. The public systems are Tokyo Metro and the Toei subways. These encompass a big part of Tokyo, and they all run on the same fare system. Now you can buy a ticket if you’re only going to one place, but if you want to explore a lot of Tokyo, I’d suggest getting a pass. I believe it was 1000Y for the Tokyo Metro/Toei subway pass, and 1500Y for all the line passes. If you’re going to do a lot of travelling within 24 hours, I’d recommend that. We were fine with out Tokyo Metro/Toei passes for all four days we were in Tokyo. Another option is getting a Suica card. Similar to Cashbee or T-Money in Korea, a Suica card is a re-loadable transit card. I can’t speak for the use of it that much as I only used mine once, but it’s seems to be accepted at most stations and is pretty easy to use. Most people in Japan use them, and most of the people I saw there used them! We had to put a 500Y deposit on the card, which I assume you can get refunded. This is exactly like in any major city like an Oyster Card in London, a Cashbee/T-Money card in Seoul, a Presto Pass in Ontario, etc. Fairly straight forward, easy to use.
Plan your journeys, try to go to things that are close together to make the most of your time in Tokyo. I was only there four days and I crammed a lot in. The subways in Tokyo are one of the best ways to get around. They’re fast, relatively inexpensive, and go everywhere. The Tokyo metro system runs until about midnight every night, and starts up at around 5am. So if you miss the last train and you don’t want to taxi home, you’ll be having a very late night.
Much like any city, Tokyo is a vibrant place with many things to offer. Get out there and enjoy it!
I hope you enjoyed my Tokyo Transit Tips, and it helped you in any small way!
Until next time,