Transportation in Tokyo

Tokyo’s transportation system is complex. Companies that are operating include JR Railways, Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway, and private railway lines, each with their own fare system. No matter how many times you check the rail map, you probably will not understand it your first time. Further, several lines pull into large terminal stations, so if you need to change trains, then you will definitely want to check the exits and how to change trains beforehand.

The terminal station buildings are also expansive, and some stations are directly connected to shopping facilities and office buildings. You will need to be careful, because depending on your destination you may have to walk a considerable distance if you choose the wrong exit.

There is an exit guide when you go through the ticket gates that you should check. Each terminal station also has an information desk that you can use if you are confused about how to change trains or how to get to your destination.

Train / Subway / Monorail

Public Bus

Toei Bus operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, which runs like an intricate web through the 23 special wards, provide easy access to sightseeing spots away from the station. There are also many buses along sightseeing routes as well.

Most bus routes in the 23 wards of Tokyo use basic 210 yen initial fare regardless of your destination. These type of buses are called “front-boarding” buses. When you take one of these buses, you will board a bus from the front entrance, put the fare into the fare box beside the driver’s seat and take a seat.

A tour by public bus


Tokyo is said to have the highest starting fare in the world at 730 yen. After the first 2km, the price goes up 90 yen every 280m. There is also now a time fee as Well, with the taxi fare increasing 90 yen every 1 minute 45 seconds. Fares double late night and early morning (10:00 pm – 5:00 am). However, Tokyo taxis will most assuredly take you safely to your destination, so you can feel safe riding them.

There are taxi stands in front of most major stations, and taxis wait at the entrances of some hotels. When you want to flag a taxi on the street, check to see whether the light on top of the taxi is lit (meaning it is available) and raise your hand to flag it. The doors open automatically, so you do not need to open them. More and more taxi drivers speak English. Even if you find they can’t, don’t worry. Just say the destination slowly, then they will take you there.

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