Traveling around Tokyo really doesn’t have to be a pain. Sure, the train maps can sometimes get confusing and occasionally you might get lost in some of the stations but that’s actually all part of the fun of visiting somewhere new!
It isn’t as confusing as it all can first appear. The key really is good planning, if you know where it is you want to explore then a quick bit of research before heading out the door will really help take some of the stress out of your trip.
No matter where you are in the world traveling in a new city can always be a little confusing. Tokyo is no exception and it might take you a few days to get into the swing of things when it comes to getting yourself around the amazing city.
Luckily, Tokyo has a lot working in your favour to help you get around with as little stress as possible. The train network is incredibly reliable and there are various buses that can use to get yourself further into Japan.
Here are a few things that I really wish someone had told me before I made my first Tokyo trip many years ago.
Getting to Japan
Narita and Haneda are the main airports serving Japan. If you’re visiting Tokyo you’ll probably be flying into one of these airports.
If you’re staying in the central Tokyo area (Shinjuku, Shibuya ect) then Haneda is definitely the best airport to fly to. Once you’ve been through immigration you can simply hop on the Tokyo Metro subway and be in central Tokyo in under an hour.
If you’re flying into Narita airport then getting the Airport Limousine Bus to your hotel might be a better option. You can buy tickets at a kiosk in the airport once you’ve been through the security checks and the buses are usually quite frequent. Check out the timetable on their website to see if there’s a bus that you can get.
You can also get the Airport Limousine Bus from Haneda if you would prefer to travel this way.
Top Tip: There is no right or wrong airport to choose. If budget is a concern I’d say pick the cheapest!
The Tokyo Metro subway system in Japan is amazing, it’s rare that there are delays or issues so you are in good hands.
That said the Japanese rail system can be a bit confusing sometimes. It’s good to get into the habit of planning any journeys that include multiple train changes in advance. Stations can also have a whole host of exits (Shinjuku station has over 200). Be prepared to get completely lost at least once, don’t stress though it’s all part of the fun!
Suica or Passmo
Top Tip: Both of these cards can be used to pay for items in lots of convenience stores meaning less rooting around in your wallet for change, just show the cashier your card and they’ll show you where to tap it for contactless payment.
I’ve never gotten a Taxi in Tokyo because I’ve never needed to. Most places you will want to experience are accessible on foot or by jumping onto a train or bus.
Taxis in Japan are generally trustworthy so if you really have to get one there should be no issues. Keep in mind however that they are a much less budget friendly way of getting around Tokyo compared to your other options.
Getting Back Home
Usually, with an extra heavy bag after all of that Tokyo shopping you might not want to attempt dragging your suitcase on and off the Tokyo Metro, this is where the Airport Limousine Bus wins! You may not have used it to get to your hotel when you arrived but it is certainly a good stress free option for your trip back to the airport.
Keep in mind that you need to buy tickets in advance for the Airport Limousine Bus (usually the day before your journey). It quite an easy process however, there is a ticket booth near Shinjuku station and some hotels let you buy a ticket from their reception desk.
The bus itself is very relaxing, and though it might take a little longer than the subway and be a little more expensive it’s worth it to relax a little before the long flight home. So, if budget and location allows, hop on the Airport Limousine Bus.