Getting around in Tokyo: info, costs and tips

Who I am
Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Tokyo, the Japanese megalopolis that covers an area of ​​approximately 13.500 sq km, is an immense city, where it can be very easy to get lost. Yet getting around the city isn't as complicated as it might seem. The city is in fact served by a capillary network of subways and trains that connect all the focal points; the means are quite expensive, it is true, but they allow you to reach even very distant areas of the city in a reasonable time. They are ultra-punctual, clean and guarantee impeccable service; the cost is worth the quality offered. The best thing is obtain subscriptions and passes, to save money and time (with the rechargeable Suica and Pasmo you don't have to buy the single ticket every time).

Here's everything you need to know about how to get around in Tokyo: info, costs and advice!



Index

  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to central Tokyo
  3. On foot
  4. By bike
  5. Con i mezzi pubblici
  6. Taxi
  7. By car
  8. User questions and comments

Useful Tips

In big cities like Tokyo, using public transport is practically essential. While quite expensive (like everything in Japan), they are very efficient: very clean and punctual. Tokyo is huge and divided into constituencies. To reach the various districts, there is no other choice but to use the means; once inside a certain area, you can walk around it. In order to avoid unnecessary waste of time, plan your daily itineraries carefully, so you can easily get around the city without making too many distant trips, thus avoiding unnecessary waste of time.

I prices of transport vary according to the mileage traveled. The purchase of rechargeable batteries is recommended Suica Card o Pasmo, prepaid very convenient. Buy one of the two directly at the airport as soon as you arrive and load at least 5.000,00 Yen (€ 41,30), then you will recharge it as it finishes. If your itinerary includes more cities of Japan, the purchase of the Japan Rail Pass is recommended, a 7 (€ 330,00), 14 (€ 534,00) or 21 day (€ 694,00) rail pass that allows unlimited travel on all Japanese railways.



  • Recommended solutions and means: trains and subway
  • Solutions and means not recommended: car and taxi
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: Suica Card and Pasmo (deposit 500,00 Yen / € 4,20, rechargeable cards) 24 h pass (from 800,00 Yen / € 6,60), 48 h Pass (from 1.200,00 Yen / € 9,90 ), 72-hour Pass (from 1.500,00 Yen / € 12,40), Japan Rail Pass (7 days € 330,00, 14 days € 534,00, 21 days € 694,00)

How to get from the airport to central Tokyo

In Tokyo there are two airports. The main one is the Narita (NRT), 60 km from the city and where the main foreign companies land, including Alitalia. The other airport, much closer, is theHaneda (NND), which is located in the Ōta area, just 30 minutes from the city, and which mainly handles domestic flights. Lately some foreign airlines, such as British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, Air France and Qatar Airways, are also starting to use this airport.

Narita Airport

From Narita, be aware that the Narita Express is included in the Japan Rail Pass; if you do not have it, instead of buying the single ticket, evaluate the advantageous Round Trip Ticket, (4.070,00 Yen, € 33,60). Attention: for the Round Trip Ticket the return journey must be made within 14 days of the outward journey. The alternative is the Keisei Railway private line which offers 3 options: the Skyliner (40 min), or the Limited Express and Rapid Limited Express, (cheaper, 80 min). For a sensational experience, you can reach Tokyo from Narita Airport even in elicottero. The service is offered by Heli Express (260.000,00 Yen, € 2.150,00). The journey is very short.



  • Distance from the center: 70 km / travel time: 40-50 min
  • By train: Narita Express line / ticket cost: 2.940,00 Yen (€ 24,30)
  • In Kaiesi Railway: Skyliner line at 2.400,00 Yen (€ 19,80) / Limited Express line at 1.000,00 Yen (€ 8,25) / Rapid Limited Express at 1.000,00 Yen (€ 8,25)
  • By taxi: average cost 20.000,00-30.000,00 Yen (€ 165,00-248,00) / travel time: 40 min
  • By bus: average cost 3.000,00 Yen (€ 24,80) / Limousine Bus line
  • Private transfer: book online

Haneda Airport

If you arrive in Haneda, to reach the center you can choose the train, keep in mind that the Tokyo Monorail takes you to Hamamatsucho station (20-30 min, included in the Japan Rail Pass), and from there you will find the Yamanote Line with which you can move easily throughout Tokyo.

  • Distance from the center: 20 km / travel time: 20-30 min
  • By train: Tokyo Monorail line / ticket cost: 490,00 Yen (€ 3,00)
  • By taxi: average cost 30.260,00 Yen (€ 250,00) / travel time: 50 min
  • By bus: average cost 3.874,00 Yen (€ 32,00) / Airport Limousine + Keisei Railways line with change at Narita Airport
  • Private transfer: book online

On foot

Getting around all of Tokyo is practically impossible. From one area to another you must necessarily move by metro and trains, but once you reach a specific area you can explore it on foot. In particular, there are areas that are well suited to be discovered and admired while walking quietly.

An example are the timeless and characteristic alleys of Yanaka, Kagurazaka and Shimokitazawa. To immerse yourself to three hundred and sixty degrees in the world of anime, manga, electronics and cosplayers, the ideal is a nice walk along Takeshita Dori Street and in the neighborhood of Akhiabara. In the evening, nothing better than walking to Shinjuku, to let yourself be overwhelmed and stunned by kaleidoscopic neon lights and deafening noises that come out of the omnipresent arcades. And finally, how can you experience the thrill of crossing the busiest intersection in the world, Shibuyia, if not on foot?



By bike

If you have to stop in Tokyo for a long time, perhaps for study or work reasons, buying a bicycle can prove to be acomfortable, economical and also fun option. Buying one doesn't cost much, as is renting it. Normally, cycling takes place on pavements and requires some degree of attention.

There are various free parking for bikes. Near the stations in the residential areas there are huge parking lots with thousands of bicycles and a fee of 100,00-150,00 Yen (€ 0,80-1,25) per day to park them. ATTENTION: if you park your bike in a forbidden area, the police will seize it and to get it back you have to pay a fine.
Curiosity: in Japan it is common to have 2 bicycles; one is for the journey home / station, then you take the train and once you have reached your destination, you take another bike to go to your workplace.

Con i mezzi pubblici

The best way to get around Tokyo is definitely through i trains and subway, which allow you to significantly reduce travel times, especially when you move between neighborhoods that are quite distant from each other. The means that you will find yourself using most frequently are i JR trains, the Japanese state railways, and the Tokyo subway, operated by two different companies, Tokyo Metro and Toei.

Train

Together with the subway the train is the most effective way to get around Tokyo. Departures are frequent and punctual, and the carriages are spotless. the train represents the method faster to reach the key points of the city. Using the JR lines, the state railways, you can make the most of your Japan Rail Pass, otherwise there are other private rail lines as well.

JR Yamanote is the circular line which touches almost all the main stations of the city, and in fact is the most used line. The other two JR lines that might be useful to you are the JR Chūō and the JR Chūō-Sobu, which connect the east and west of the city. The cost of tickets varies according to the distance traveled, from a minimum of 200,00 Yen (€ 1,65). Recommended the Tokunai Pass, which allows you to use unlimited JR trains in the Tokyo metropolitan area, valid for 1 day.

  • Downloadable map:
  • from 5:00 in the morning to midnight, some trains until 1:00 at night
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from 200,00 Yen (€ 1,65)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: Tokunai Pass (750,00 Yen / € 6,20)

Metropolitan

Tokyo Metro consists of 13 lines and 274 stations. 9 lines are operated by Tokyo Metro and the other 4 by Toei, which operate at slightly different rates. Racing is always punctual and very frequent. The rooms are well organized and very clean. Attention only to the air conditioning which is always kept very high (in summer the thermal shock that is felt is quite annoying).

As with trains, the rates vary according to the kilometers to go: ranging from a minimum of 170,00 Yen (€ 1,40) to a maximum of 310,00 Yen (€ 2,50). In the metro it is possible to use the very comfortable ones Suica and Pasmo. If you prefer to buy single tickets, you can pick them up at the automatic ticket machines, as well as day passes. In addition to the 24h, 48h and 72h passes, you can find the Tokyo Metro 24-hour Ticket, valid only on the 9 lines of the Tokyo Metro, and the Toei One-day Economy Pass, valid only on the 4 Toei lines, on the Toei buses and on Toei Streetcar, you will finally find the Common One-day Ticket valid on all 13 metro lines, both Tokyo Metro and Toei.

  • Downloadable map:
  • from 5:00 in the morning to approximately midnight
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from 170,00 Yen (€ 1,40) to 310,00 Yen (€ 2,50)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: 24h Pass (800,00 Yen / € 6,60), 48h Pass (1.200,00 Yen / € 9,90), 72h Pass (1.500,00 Yen / € 12,40); Tokyo Metro 24-hour Ticket (600,00 Yen / € 5,00), Toei One-day Economy Pass (700,00 Yen / € 5,80), Common One-day Ticket (900,00 Yen / € 7,50, )

Taxi

Both outside the stations and in the very busy areas they can be found lots of taxis. As everywhere, even in Tokyo you can hail a taxi with the wave of your hand on the street; free taxis can be easily identified because (paradoxically) they are the ones with the Red light on. There are various companies, you can recognize them by the different colors of the vehicle (black, yellow and even milk and mint!).

With regard to rates, the cost is 410,00 Yen (€ 3,40) for the first kilometer and then 80,00 Yen (€ 0,66) every 237 meters, with other increases in case of traffic. During the night the rate is increased. Remember that the taxi door usually opens and closes by itself.

  • 24 hours on 24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: 410,00 Yen (€ 3,40) first km + 80,00 Yen (€ 0,66) every 237 meters. During the night the fare is increased.

By car

Public services work so well that it is not recommended to use the car as a means of travel. Public transport efficiency aside, there are other elements to consider: the traffic is congested, the signs are written with ideograms, the guide is on the left and you need an international driving license.

And again, i parking lots, there are a multitude of types: self-service coin-operated car parks, present almost everywhere in the city and underground car parks or adjacent to shopping centers. By far the most extravagant type are parking laps: due to space shortages, parking lots compete in ingenuity to put cars on top of each other. In this type of parking, the employees help to maneuver the car, before installing it in a kind of large wheel, which will be placed on the various floors. There rates vary by area. From 100,00 Yen (€ 0,83) for 15 or 30 minutes up to 1.000,00 Yen (€ 8,30) for 24 hours.


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