TOKYO, Japan. It’s definitely my most favourite city in the world right now as it’s the centre of popular sub-culture, Japanese pop-culture, amazing Japanese food and many more. A populous city filled with people from many walks of life coming together as one.
In this post, I will show and explain the simplest ways of getting to Tokyo and how to go about moving around the big city.
Tokyo is served by two airports.
Narita International Airport
Located in Narita, Chiba, 57.5 km (35.7 mi) east of Tokyo Station and 7 km (4.3 mi) east-southeast of Narita Station, it is pretty much far away from Tokyo city. You can get to the city centre by the following.
- JR Narita Express (NEX) to Tokyo Station.
Approximately 1 hour, total fare 2980 yen, can be covered by Japan Rail Pass
- Keisei Skyliner or Keisei Limited Express
Approximately 44 mins for Keisei Skyliner, total fare 2400 yen
Approximately 74 mins for Keisei Limited Express, total fare 1200 yen
- JR Sobu Line to Tokyo Station.
Approximately 90 mins, total fare 1320 yen, can be covered by Japan Rail Pass
- Limousine Bus
Approximately 100 mins, total fare 3100 yen
Haneda International Airport
Located in Ōta, Tokyo, 14 km (8.7 mi) south of Tokyo Station, this airport is actually in Tokyo itself. You can get to the city centre via the following.
- Tokyo Monorail to JR Hamamatsucho station
About 20 mins, total fare about 420 yen, can be covered by Japan Rail Pass
- Keikyu Airport Line to JR Shinagawa Station
About 15-30 mins depending on train type (express/local), total fare about 400 yen.
- Limousine Bus
About 35 mins, total fare about 930 yen
Personally, I prefer Haneda Airport as it’s the nearest to Tokyo. But both is actually fine; it depends on the price you willing to pay for your air ticket.
Getting around Tokyo.
There are many ways to get around Tokyo. You can take the train, bus, taxi, rent a bicycle or just simply walk. The best way is definitely by train as it is the easiest way around. Most of the places around Tokyo are near to JR stations. You can get to any place at cheap fare if you stick only to JR throughout the single journey with transfers. If you have to transfer to a non-JR line (eg. Tokyo Metro, etc.), you might have to exit the station first before tapping in again at the non-JR station, thus a new trip which will require you to pay more. It’s best to do your research first before going anywhere so that you can stick to only one train company in your single journey of possible.
Some popular areas not served by JR line are Asakusa, Odaiba, Tsukiji, Tokyo Skytree and many more. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can’t use it on non-JR trains to get here. You will need to purchase single journey tickets to get there.
For info on Japan Rail Pass, please look through here:
Non-JR trains in Tokyo
- Tokyo Metro
- Toei Subway
- Tokyu Railways
- Tobu Railways
- Seibu Railways
- Keio Railways
- Odakyu Railways
- Keisei Railways
- Keikyu Railways (Serving Haneda Airport and Kanagawa)
- Tsukuba Express (Connecting Akihabara with Tsukuba City, Ibaraki)
- Yurikamome Line/Rinkai Line (Connecting Shimbashi/Osaki to Odaiba)
You cannot use your Japan Rail Pass on the following train companies, except for Tokyo Monorail.
Local trains stop at every station.
Rapid trains skip some stations. There is no difference in the ticket price between local and rapid trains.
Express trains stop at more lesser stations than rapid trains. Most trains by JR usually charge an extra fee for this.
Limited express trains stop only at major stations.There may be limited express fee on top of base fare.
Operated only by JR to cities outside of Tokyo. You will have to pay limited express fee on top of its’ base fare. You can buy the ticket at all shinkansen stations. If you have an existing ticket from another station, hand it over to the counter at a shinkansen booth inside the paid area.
It’s best to get yourself a Suica or PASMO. Both are contactless smart cards which you can reload at any train station. You will avoid the long queues for single journey tickets too. You can also use them for buses, convenience stores and many eateries around town too. At the end of your trip, you can always return it to a major train station for 500 yen.
Other modes of transport
If you want to take the bus, take note of the following. You have to board from the back and take a slip from the machine. A number will be stated on it. It will determine the fare you will have to pay upon your destination. Just look at the fare board which is on display at the top front of the bus. Upon reaching your destination, see how much do you need to pay, show the slip number to the driver and drop it in the coin box followed by the exact amount and alight from the front. If you have no exact amount, there is a coin changing machine which can accept up to 1000 yen bills. You can also use your Suica or PASMO too; just tap your card at the back of the bus, and tap it again at the front upon reaching your destination.
Taxis are pretty much known to be one of the most expensive in the world. Try to avoid it if possible, unless it is an emergency.
If you like to seek an adventure in the cheapest way possible, rent a bicycle. Most hotels usually offer rental for 500 yen a day. Make sure you park your bike properly and be courteous while riding.
This ends part one of how to enter and travel around Tokyo. Part two shall be more towards accomodation; do look out for it!