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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Getting Around Tokyo - Transport, How to, and More

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Fidelia A.

Last updated : Dec 26, 20226 min read

Transportation

Tokyo is one of the biggest metropolitan city in the world. Not only that, Tokyo is also known as a city that has one of the best public transport systems in the world. You can get to your destinations quite easily!

 

Well, if you know how to navigate around them, that is.

 

Look, Tokyo’s public transport system is a mess. Yes, it’s effective, but it could also be quite hard to handle. No worries! In this article, I will review the things you need to know regarding Tokyo’s public transport system. Hop on!

About Tokyo

blog imageTokyo has trains and buses as the main public transport system. Sounds easy, right? Well, wait until you looked at the maps! To make it easier for you to navigate around Tokyo, I will make a brief introduction of each available options.

 

JR Trains

These are all the train lines and trains that are owned by the “government”. They covered most major areas around Tokyo and also have access to neighboring areas such as Yokohama and Chiba. Shinkansen are also owned by JR. You can use your JR Pass with these trains

 

Private Railways

These are all the trains that do not start with JR in their names. Some examples would be the Keio Railways and the Tobu Tojo Railways. They are owned by private companies and usually caters to places that do not have access to the JR lines. Their stations, however, could be in the same spaces as the JR stations, so you could easily change lines.

 

You could use your IC Card on these trains. On the other hand, you would not be able to use your JR Pass with these trains.

 

Metro

The metro or subway lines are all owned by Tokyo Metro. They mostly run underground, but some also run alongside JR Lines. Unlike JR Trains, they covered more detailed area that the JR trains do not stop by. These metro lines only operate in Tokyo Area. You can’t use your JR Pass here.

 

Bus

The bus system in Tokyo is a little bit more complicated since it caters even more detailed areas. Moreover, some buses also do not have any English translation written for their stops. However, you’d be fine with using just the JR lines and the Metro for your trip.

How to Ride Tokyo's Public Transports

blog imageIn order to use all the public transport system in Tokyo, you would need either of these two options; a ticket or an IC Card. I will explain about each available options below.

 

Ticket

You can buy one-way tickets to your destination. Just simply look at the giant map that is usually placed above the ticket machine, find your destination and look at the fare, then press the right fare button in the ticket machine. However, some stations might not have the English words written for your destination, so this option is a little bit difficult.

 

IC Card

IC Card is a very convenient option for those of you who want to travel in Japan (not just Tokyo!). You can simply tap this card through the ticket gate at train stations or in buses, and tap once more when you’re getting out. You can also buy and re-charge it at the ticket machines that are available in every station.

 

In addition to that, the fares for those who are using IC Cards would be a little bit cheaper rather than the train tickets.

Getting Around Tokyo

blog imageHere’s the thing:

There a “loophole” that would help you navigate easier around Tokyo.

 

That is the JR Yamanote Line, which trains route shaped literally like a loop around Tokyo’s most famous destination. This line would also loop back to the same stations, which means that you would never get lost (but you could definitely miss your stop if you’re not paying attention).

 

The JR Yamanote line is usually colored green and would come by every three minutes or so. I would definitely recommend you to get an accommodation that is located near a station where the JR Yamanote Line stops.

 

Here’s an article that would explain more about Tokyo’s Subway system, and another one about Tokyo’s Train system.

More tips

blog imageLook;

Even with all these information, navigating around Tokyo could be a challenge.

 

No worries!

 

I got you covered! In order to save yourself from the trouble, I strongly recommend you to hire a private guide instead.

 

Hiring a guide is not as troublesome and as expensive as you might think. In fact, when you truly consider about hiring a local guide that knows their ways around Tokyo, you might found that you would get many benefits from it.

 

First, you would be able to spend your time in Tokyo more effectively. Your guide would be able to take you to all the major tourist spots and even the lesser-known ones without any troubles. You can get an insider look at Tokyo’s locals.

 

Second, you can overcome the language barrier! Your guide will be able to help you say what you really want to the restaurant staffs or other establishments.

 

As you know, English is not widely spoken in Japan, so language problems are quite common. If you hire a guide then you would easily overcome this problem.

 

If you are planning to hire a guide, then I do recommend you to get one from GoWithGuide! They have a list of professional guides that would cater to your travel needs. Not only that, but their excellent customer service would be able to make sure you’d get the best guide that suits your tastes.

 

In this article, I have reviewed about the ways you can get around Tokyo, how to do it, and an easy solution to get to your destinations. Here’s to a great trip in Tokyo!

Tokyo Tour Guide - Yasuro C.

Yasuro C.

4.80 / 5
(64 reviews)
Japan

Hello, my name is Yasuro (Mr). I was born and brought up in Kansai, graduated from a univ in Kobe city, after moved into Kanto, 30 years in Tokyo, 2.5 years in Nagoya city, 7.5 years abroad (KL & S'pore) as a rep of a construction company and I got the National Guide Certificate in 2011. My hobbies are making Haiku poems, singing various songs (voice-training for 18 years), playing the folk-guitar, trekking in mountains like Takao and Okutama in the West of Tokyo, visiting museums like in Ueno Park and travelling around Japan to make Haiku poems. Thank you for your attention.                                                                                                                                 

Yokohama Tour Guide - Haruo T.

Haruo T.

4.90 / 5
(10 reviews)
Japan

I live in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. I have a license to teach in high schools and was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language in the University of Birmingham. Until 2015 I had been teaching English at public high schools in Kanagawa for 37 years. During that time, I had some experience of guiding students from overseas through sister-school relationship around Tokyo and Kanagawa. Therefore, I had good command of English with the TOEIC score of 935. As for a tour guide experience I earned the certificate of National Government Licensed Guide-Interpreter in English and since then I have guided tourists to the popular sites around Tokyo, Yokohama, Kamakura and Yokosuka. My guiding focuses on introducing not only Japanese historical and cultural backgrounds but also giving tourists some tips to travel Japan only by themselves, such as how to use trains and subways, find good restaurants, reserve tickets, buy survenier, and speak basic Japanese. In addition, my tour includes opportunities to experience Japanese culture like Zen meditation, ninja performance, visiting anime's location sites based on tourists' request. Besides, by means of my hobbies of writing English Haiku and Waka (traditional Japanese poems) and performing Rakugo (traditional Japanese funny story telling) in English, I can surely entertain tourists during the tour. My moto as a tour guide is let the tourists have a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Japan with my profound, intelligible and interestiog guiding.                                                                                                                                 

Tokyo Tour Guide - Grant A.

Grant A.

5.00 / 5
(14 reviews)
Japan

My name is Grant I lived more than 10 years in Japan. I graduated University and translation school in Tokyo. I am fluent in Japanese. I have a degree in Asian studies and have expert-level knowledge of Japanese culture and history. I have memorized the JR rail system across all of Japan, I use the same train timetable calculators as the station staff, and I have experience using bullet train passes that are exclusive to foreign visitors. I can optimally navigate the Tokyo underground and maximize value from a Tokyo metro pass and also understand Tokyo above ground which will allow for seamless transitions between different metro stations and landmarks with minimal backtracking. *There will be a price revision at the end of June* My tour fee is Half-Day Tour: 30,000yen for 1-5hours Full-Day Tour: 50,000yen for 5-12hours The time transiting to and from your hotel for pick up or drop off within Tokyo 23wards does not count towards the time. I am also able to guide historical sites and cities such as Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nikko, and Kamakura on request if you pay my rail fare. If your group is not a tour company and you simply ask me kindly for a 10,000yen discount and I will reduce the price of your tour until the end of June.                                                                                                                                 

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Kaneo U.

Kaneo U.

4.98 / 5
(43 reviews)
Japan

I’m so excited to have a chance to show you around my favorite spots in Kanagawa prefecture. I was born in Kanagawa. I spent my whole school life, including university, here in Kanagawa. I worked as a high school English teacher here for 40 years. I love Kanagawa so much. We have many interesting tourist spots, like Hakone, Kamakura, Enoshima and Yokohama. I got my tour guide license in English in 2009. I am still an English teacher. To give an interesting and impressive lesson to young high school students, I’ve learnt and gathered many kinds of information. I also have a license to teach social studies, so I have a wide range of knowledge about Japanese culture and history. I’m sure to provide you an interesting tour.                                                                                                                                 

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