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HOW TO get around TOKYO BY TRAIN: guide for first Timers

Taxis are expensive, and buses can be confusing for first-timers. In Tokyo, the train is the most efficient mode of transportation. Tokyo has an substantial and expansive railway system. wherever it is you’re going, there is a lot of likely a train station very close to it.

Tokyo by train can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. First, bear in mind that the network is used by nearly a dozen operators, including those serving the suburbs. However, in this article, let’s focus on the three companies that serve central Tokyo: JR East, Toei Subway, and Tokyo Metro Subway. Each of them operate multiple lines that get so entangled, it’s incredible how the Japanese make it work.

Hva er dekket i denne guiden?

JR East
Subway Lines Tokyo Metro subway Lines
Toei subway Lines

Types of Trains
How to travel By Train using single Tickets
How to get and use Suica or Pasmo Card
Should You get one of Those One-Day Train Passes?
Should You get a JR Pass? top budget hotels in Tokyo
Search for more: Tokyo Hotels

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JR East

JR east controls the all-important JR Yamanote Line, a train loop that runs around Tokyo, linking the city’s crucial areas including Ueno, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa. It also marks the boundary of central Tokyo. The area within the loop is considered central Tokyo.

Map created by RailRider, licensed under CC
Expectedly, this line is used by a good fraction of the population (which is me saying that it’s typically crowded, hehe). aside from Yamanote, JR also runs other lines including Chuo Main, Chuo-Sobu, and the Shinkansen (bullet train).

Subway Lines

The subway lines are operated by Tokyo Metro and Toei. Although separate companies, these two are in terrific synergy. Often, you don’t need to exit the gates and get new tickets even if you switch from Toei to Metro lines. (There are cases when you do, though.) subway lines are marked with an assigned letter in a color-coded circle. For example, Shinjuku Line’s mark is an S in a leaf green circle. Mita Line’s mark is a the letter I in a blue circle. remember these marks and the companies’ logos because this is how you’ll find them.

Tokyo Metro subway Lines

Toei subway Lines

You might be thinking, “Oh cool. That looks easy.” Feil. It seems easy to understand now, but if you’re a Tokyo newbie, it’s a lot a lot more tough in practice. These lines are so entangled, and when they meet in major stations like Shinkuku or Tokyo, things get even a lot more complicated. even I, who have been to Tokyo four times, and my sister, who has been living in Tokyo for years, often get awfully lost.

Types of Trains

Aside from the lines, you also might need to know the different train types:

The type of train is displayed in front of it or on the overhead boards.

Local Trains are those that stop at every single station of the line. HVER. ENKELT. STASJON. If your stop is 20+ stations away, it can take a lot of time.

Rapid Trains are those that skip some stations. same price as local trains. same platforms, too.

Express Trains skip even a lot more stations.

Limited express stop only at major stations. additional fee is normally required.

If it entails waiting only a few minutes on the platform, I would normally just choose a rapid or express train even when the a local train is already approaching. WARNING, though: Board the non-local trains only if you’re sure it will make a stop at your station. You don’t wanna skip your stop. sann historie. Hahaha.

How to travel By Train using single Tickets

Tokyo subway route Maps are displayed above ticket machines. notice the one-day pass offer below it.

On your web browser, go to Hyperdia.com/en/. enter your origin and the station where you’re going. It will then display possible route options including how much the ride costs and transfers needed to get there. At the train station, you can double check the price. just look at the route map, normally above the ticket machines. The map displays the price based on distance. Sometimes, the map is in Japanese characters only, which is why Hyperdia is useful.

Once you know how much you’re gonna pay, technique the ticket machines. By default, these machines display everything in Japanese characters. but there is a button there that reads ENGLISH. press that button and you will hear a voice saying “All train information will be displayed in English.” (I said it out loud in the ideal intonation when I typed that. Totoo.)

Follow the steps onscreen. Usually, you will need to press the button (next to the screen) that displays how lots of passengers you are and then press the corresponding price on the screen. Yep, you must know how much you must be paying before using these machines, for this reason the first two steps. It will then ask you to confirm your booking.

Get the tickets that the maker will release. (If after getting the ticket you realize you made a mistake or you just change your mind, don’t worry. just use the same ticket. Fare adjustment machines are installed at every station. Make the adjustment at the destination.)

Feed your ticket to the ticket slots at the gate. It will emerge at the end of the gate. pick it up again. The ticket is small so try your best not to lose it.

Go to the ideal platform. To check if you’re in the ideal direction, check the list of stations normally displayed on a wall before the platforms. There is also a a lot more in-depth timetable in the middle of the platform.

Wait for the ideal train. The estimated time of arrival of the next few trains and the train type (Rapid, Local, etc) are displayed on electronic screens above the platform.

Det er det! If you get lost or you encounter any problem, don’t hesitate to technique the staff at the window. Every station has one.

Also, if you’re an adult, don’t even try getting a ticket indicated for kids just to get a discount. Children’s tickets make a distinct birdy sound when used at the gates to let the staff know that it’s really being used by kids. Yep, birdy.

How to get and use Suica or Pasmo Card

Prepaid IC Cards are also available. It seldom uses discounts, but the appeal of it is that you don’t need to get a ticket each time you’re using the train. You just need to swiftly hover the card over the reader and you’re through.

What’s the difference between Suica and Pasmo? The companies using it, mainly. Suica is sold by JR while Pasmo by Toei and Tokyo Metro. However, both cards work in any Tokyo Metro, Toei, or JR line. As far as the user experience is concerned, it’s very similar.

To get one, you just need to technique one of the PASMO or SUICA machines at the station. There’s no use for me to enumerate the steps here because it’s so easy. just choose ENGLISH on the welcome screen and follow the instructions.

These cards can also be used on buses. An boosting number of shops and other establishments are also accepting these cards as mode of payment. You can even use it to get drinks or snacks from vending machines.

Should You get one of Those One-Day Train Passes?

A lot of them are available but I find a lot of of them impractical. It only makes sense to use them if you’re making several train journeys in a day or two.

Tokyo complimentary Kippu (Tokyo excursion Ticket) allows you unrestricted access to any JR, Toei, or Tokyo Metro line within central Tokyo for one day. It costs ¥1590. It only makes sense if you’ll be riding the train several times in a day.

Tokyo subway Ticket grants you unrestricted access to all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo metro, NOT JR). Cost: ¥800 for 24 hours, ¥1200 for 48 hours, and ¥1500 for 72 hours. available at Narita and Haneda airport. This is a good deal only if a lot of of the attractions you’re gonna check out are close to a subway station.

There are lots of other variations, but the two above are the most common.

If you decide to purchase a Tokyo subway Ticket, we have a sample 2-day travel plan here so you can maximize the card. READ: the best OF TOKYO IN 2 DAYS!

Should You get a JR Pass?

If you’re staying in TOKYO only, NO, you don’t need a JR Pass.

It only makes sense to get a JR Pass if you’re on a multi-city journey around Japan. For example, if you will be checking out three cities in 7 days, it could be a terrific deal.

Before you purchase one, know that the JR Pass can only be used on JR line rides. You can’t use it on Toei or Tokyo Metro rides. So if you will be staying in Tokyo the entire trip, a JR Pass isn’t really worth it.

If your travel plan involves taking long-distance trains typically and you’re staying for 7 days, you can save money by getting a Train Pass.

Klook uses the least expensive JR Passes available.

✅ check most current JR PASS rates HERE!

top budget hotels in Tokyo

Top budget and capsule hotels based on Agoda customer reviews.

MyCUBE by MYSTAYS Asakusa Kuramae. (via Agoda)

MyCUBE by MYSTAYS Asakusa Kuramae. check rates & Availability! ✅

Capsule hotel Anshin Oyado Tokyo Akihabara. check rates & Availability! ✅

GLANSIT AKIHABARA comfort CAPUSULE HOTEL. check rates & Availability! ✅

Capsule hotel Anshin Oyado Premier Tokyo Shinjuku Station. check rates & Availability! ✅

KEIKYU EX INN Akihabara -Tokyo Akihabara. check rates & Availability! ✅

Dormy Inn premium Tokyo Kodenmacho – Nihonbashi. check rates & Availability! ✅

Hotel Wing international select Asakusa Komagata. check rates & Availability! ✅

Search for more: Tokyo Hotels

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