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How to Take Public Transportation in Tokyo?


by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Fidelia A.

Last updated : May 01, 20225 min read


I think we could all agree that as efficient as it is, Tokyo’s transport system is a hard thing to master.


On the other hand, once you understood it you would be able to go anywhere you want easily!


In this article, I will discuss how to get around Tokyo using public transport system, and some tips on riding them. Check it out!

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Public Transportations in Tokyo

Tokyo has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Sure, it could get a little bit difficult to handle, but it can get you anywhere you want to. That is how efficient it is.


Basically, Tokyo’s public transportation system could be divided into three sections: the trains, the subway, and the bus.


Here is a simple explanation about them:

The trains are divided between the JR trains which are owned by the government and the private railways. You can also find more information about the train system in Tokyo in here.


The subway or the metro trains are those that mostly run underground. They cover more detailed areas that are not reachable via JR trains. You can click this link to find more details about the subway system in Tokyo


The bus system might be a little bit harder to understand since some people might not be used to it. However, you can still navigate your way around Tokyo with using only the trains and the subway.

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How to ride public transports in Tokyo


Although I did say it was difficult, I didn’t say it was impossible to master.


You just need to know the basic differences between your options on riding the public transports to get around in Tokyo.


Below is an explanation of the 3 ways you can use to ride public transports to get around Tokyo


  • JR PASS is a pass ticket that you can buy outside Japan (it is not available to buy in Japan). Using this pass, you do not need to pay more to ride all JR operated transportation in Japan. This pass includes free shinkansen reservation (except a few special shinkansen), limited express trains, and all the basic JR transports.

  • IC Card (SUICA or PASMO) is a cash card that you can buy from ticket machines at both train and subway stations in Tokyo. You can recharge them when your deposit runs low. You can save time by using this card since you only need to tap it at the ticket gate scanner in any station. You can also use it when you want to ride buses.

  • Buying a ticket. You can get a ticket at the ticket machine. You just need to look at the train map and buy the ticket according to the fare needed to get you to your desired destination. However, sometimes this system might be more annoying since, at some spots, there are no English signs to the fare guides.

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Public Transportation Costs in Tokyo


We all want to get the cheapest, yet most effective and comfortable way possible to navigate our way around Tokyo.


The costs for the transportations in Tokyo varies differently between the distance covered, and the time it needs to get you there. You can simply choose the most efficient option that suits your preferences more!

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Other ways to travel in Tokyo

At this point, you must have a sturdier grasp on how to get around in Tokyo.

...Or do you?

For those of you who are still not sure, don’t panic! You can still enjoy your holiday in Tokyo. In fact, here’s another option that might fit your bills:


Hire a private guide!


By hiring a private guide, you don’t need to worry about getting on the wrong trains, or losing your way in the middle of Tokyo’s concrete forest!


Moreover, you would have no language barrier problems. You will have someone to help you get around Tokyo easily and make your Tokyo trip the best journey you’ve ever had.


However, here’s another question:

Where can you get a private tour guide that you can trust?

For those of you who want to find the perfect private guide to accompany you on your Tokyo trips, I recommend you to get one from GoWithGuide. Not only that they have a list of recommended tour guides, but they also other activities that you can do during your stay in Tokyo!

So, we’ve covered all the basic things you need to know about riding the public transportation in Tokyo and the different options that they are available. I hope that this article has been useful for you to make plans for your holiday in Tokyo!

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Yasuro C.

4.80 / 5
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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.                                                                                                                                 

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Grant A.

5.00 / 5
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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: 20,000yen for 1-5hours Full-Day Tour: 40,000yen for 5-10hours 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.                                                                                                                                  

Kanagawa Tour Guide - Kaneo U.

Kaneo U.

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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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