Tokyo transport

Tokyo Transport

Transport in Tokyo is very efficient and the city is a major hub for other parts of Japan. Narita International Airport is the main airport in Tokyo and has excellent road and rail links into the centre of the capital. Haneda Airport, although handling mainly domestic flights, is the busiest airport in Asia. Tokyo has the biggest rail network in the world and it is also one of the most cleanest and efficient. For visitors it can appear confusing, not least because there are several different train companies operating in the same city. Rush hour is best avoided. When making travel plans look into purchasing a Japan Rail Card as all JR trains are free with this pass.

A prepaid train card is also useful as it saves having to buy tickets each time, particularly when all the signs may be in Japanese. The train line circling the city is the JR Yamamoto Line and all areas within the circle constitute Central Tokyo. Most of the smaller JR and private train lines start on the Yamamoto line making it relatively easy to change station. Other JR lines bisecting the city are the JR Chuo and the Sobu. The subway network in Japan is fairy extensive with nine lines running through the Yamamoto circle and is very useful for getting around.

There are also a number of private lines traveling outwards from Yamamoto such as the Yurikamome which offers excellent views en route to the Island of Odaiba. The Tokyo Transfer Guide is a useful way of checking your route before traveling, particularly where signs are not in English.

Taxis in Tokyo can be expensive but work out to be economical if they are shared. Many of the drivers do not speak English so having a map or a picture can be useful to indicate where you need to go. For car drivers there are many narrow streets with expensive parking making it impractical in a city like Tokyo where there is such an extensive public transport network. If you do drive in the city the main route is the Shuto Expressway where there are payable tolls. Hiring a car in rural areas is an efficient way to see the countryside.

The bus network in Tokyo tends to serve those areas where the trains don’t go and tend to be a lot slower. Finding the bus stop can also be a challenge in parts of Tokyo. Bicycles are used a lot in Tokyo but without dedicated travel lanes are not widely respected by car drivers. It is also possible to rent a bike from some of the youth hostels which can be an interesting way of seeing parts of Japan’s countryside.

Tokyo is also a relatively safe place to walk on foot even at night. Sometimes it is faster to walk than get the train, especially at rush hour. Areas such as Roppongi are easily covered by walking, and you can even walk the whole Yamamote circuit in a single day in Tokyo.

Date posted: 13th November, 2018

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