1. How to get to Tokyo
This will be the means of transportation in which almost all of us will arrive in Tokyo from our home countries.
Tokyo has two international airports, Tokyo International Airport (東京国際空港) known as Haneda Airport (羽田空港) and Narita Airport.
Haneda airport is located in the special region of Ōta, 15 kilometers south of Tokyo station, in the middle of Tokyo Bay.
As a curiosity, the 4th floor is decorated as if they were alleys from the Edo period. It is very, very cool and there is a very good and not too expensive sushi restaurant.
How to go from Haneda airport to Tokyo:
To go to Tokyo from Haneda, we can go by train with the private company Keikyu. This is the one that we have taken in the two routes that we have made. In approximately 15 minutes you get to Shinagawa station and the price is 300 yen (€2.40) and it does not enter the Japan Rail Pass.
You can purchase the JR Pass and receive it comfortably at home clicking here:
From Shinagawa we can take the Yamanote line to any of the other major stations in the city or the shinkansen to Kyoto.
Here we leave the link of the station map of the airport website.
We can also get there with the monorail. It is the fastest way and enters the JR Pass. But if you do not have the JR Pass activated, the price is 500 yen (€4). The monorail takes 19 minutes to reach Tokyo Station.
Here we leave you the official website of the monorail.
We can also go by bus. The company that covers the route is Limousine Bus. The frequency to Tokyo station is between 40 and 50 minutes and the journey takes about 40 minutes. The price is 950 yen (€7.60). The advantage is that they have night services, when the trains no longer work, although the prices are much more expensive, although it will always be cheaper than a taxi.
They also cover the route between Haneda airport and Narita airport, in case you have a flight with a layover in which you have to change airports. The price is 3,200 yen (€25.65). The bus is direct, unlike the train, in which we would have to make transfers.
Limousine Bus official website.
If you want to make the journey by taxi, like everyone else, it is the most expensive option. The journey has a flat rate depending on the destination and, if the trip is between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., the price increases. For example, the price to the Chiyoda area, where Tokyo station is located, is 6,100 yen (€48.90) during the day, plus 1,100 yen (€8) if it is the night trip.
You can look at the updated prices on the airport’s official website.
If you want comfort and speed, you can always hire a transfer service that will be waiting for you at the airport and will take you directly to your hotel.
If you want to go from Haneda airport to any other city such as Osaka or Kyoto, the ideal is to go to Shinagawa station with the Keikyu train and there take the shinkansen or, go with the monorail to Hamamatsuchō station and there take the Yamanote or Keihin-Tōhoku Line to Shinagawa or Tokyo Station.
Narita Jasiko International Airport (成田国際空港) is located in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, about 60 km from central Tokyo.
How to go from Narita airport to Tokyo:
The star transport is the Narita Express or N’Ex. It is an express train that enters the JR Pass and leaves you at various stations in Tokyo.
The normal frequency is one train every half hour and if you do not have a JR Pass, the price is 4,070 yen (€32.60) with the N’EX TOKYO Round Trip Ticket regardless of the destination station, which is a return ticket that is much cheaper. The price of a single trip, for example, to Shinjuku is 3,250 yen (€26). The journey lasts 1 hour and a half.
The downside is that the last train leaves at 9:45 p.m.
Narita Express official website.
The other effective mode of transportation is the Skyliner (スカイライナー), a limited express train service between Tokyo and Narita Airport. It is operated by Keisei Electric Railway, so it does not fall under the JR Pass. It has stops at Nippori and Keisei Ueno stations.
The price of the Skyliner is 2,520 yen (€19.50), which takes advantage of the Narita express as it is cheaper if you pay with money.
2. Transport in Tokyo
An efficient way to get around Tokyo if you have the JR Pass is to use any of the trains on the JR line.
The Yamanote Line, colored green, is a circular line that stops at most major tourist sites. This line is, surely, the most popular line in Tokyo and is used by an average of 3.5 million passengers PER DAY!!!, ABOUT 1,300 million people per year.
Of course you will use it, and a lot.
It is the most efficient way to get around Tokyo, following the JR Yamanote Line.
There are two metro companies, both private, so we cannot use them with the JR Pass. They are Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway and, although at first glance the map seems very complicated, it is very easy to use.
On the map you can see the station where you are and the price to pay next to the station where you get off. If you don’t see them clearly, don’t worry, buy the cheapest ticket and when you get off the train, enter the ticket in some machines that are in all the stations that are fare adjustment, where you pay the remaining amount to be able to leave.
For example, we want to travel from Shibuya to Asakusa which is 250 yen. Since we are not sure, we buy the cheapest ticket, which is 170 yen. When we get off in Asakusa, we won’t be able to get out through the turnstile, so we go to the machine that says fare adjustment, insert the bill and it will tell us to insert 80 yen. Now we can go through the lathe.
The tickets are not valid for both companies, that is, if we buy a Tokyo Metro ticket, we cannot transfer to a Toei Subway line, but there are combined tickets.
There are several types of tickets, but the ones we will use the most are the combined tickets for the two companies for 24, 48 and 72 hours. These are the prices updated to August 2020.
|24 H||800¥ (6.35€)||400¥ (3.20€)|
|48 H||1.200¥ (9.55€)||600¥ (4.75€)|
|72 H||1.500¥ (11.93€)||750¥ (4.96€)|
You will find more information on the official websites of both companies:
They are the alternative to the subway and JR trains, but they are much slower and the schedules are very reduced. The truth is that we have never been on a bus in Tokyo so I cannot share the experience.
The price of a single ticket (updated as of August 2020) is 210 yen (€1.67) for adults and 110 yen (€0.87) for children.
Toei Bus official website.
The bus is accessed through the back door and the ticket is paid when leaving through the front door. You have to enter the exact amount into the machine. If you don’t have enough change, next to the pay machine you have another one that gives change.
Traveling by taxi in Tokyo is expensive, it is very, very, very expensive. A journey through the center of Tokyo can cost you around €10, which would cost us €1.30 on the subway.
Of course, Japanese taxis are very clean and the driver will never cheat you. To get into the taxi, it is the driver who opens the door for you, if he does not open it for you, he does not want you to get in (it happened to us in Kyoto).