Need To Know
Practical information & general advice to prepare your trip
Tokyo is a very safe city so you shouldn't have to worry about being robbed.
Be careful around the areas of Golden Gai and Kabukicho at night if you go there, sometimes they take advantage of tourists and make you pay a lot of money for a meal.
About tips, don't give them! They aren't used to it so they can get confused and even angry.
The Japan Rail Pass is a ticket valid to travel on the network of JR national trains through all of Japan. It includes Shinkansen bullet trains and the Narita Express. You can choose the days that it will be valid for, each with a different price: 7 days cost ¥29110 for the standard and ¥38880 for the Green Pass which is First Class; 14 days cost ¥46390 for the standard and ¥62950 for the Green Pass; 21 days cost ¥59350 for the standard and ¥81870 for the Green Pass. You can check details and buy the Pass in this link.
You HAVE to buy the pass before arriving to Japan, that's a must, and you'll recieve an Exchange order that you need to activate when you arrive to Japan and exchange it for the JR Pass. Only tourists can get this pass, that's why you have to purchase it before arriving to the country. Also, mostly for Shinkansen use, you'll have to make reservations of seats, so make sure to check that out on their website.
The public transport in Tokyo consists of JR East trains, subway and buses. Buses are the least advisable because the stops are written in Japanese and are difficult to understand. There are different cards you can get to use public transport:
Public Transport if you have a JR Pass
1) The JR Pass, in Tokyo, only works for JR lines and not the subway or buses. If you don't have a JR Pass and want to travel on JR lines only you can buy the Tokunai ticket which costs 750 yen and is valid for one day.
2) For subway you can buy a Metro Pass. It's valid for either 24, 48 or 72 hours for the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. The cost goes from 1.482 yen per person. You can buy one through this link and it gets delivered to your hotel.
3) For subway and buses you can get the SUICA card, which is a prepaid and rechargable card. It costs 2.000 yen with a 500 yen refundable deposit when you return it. The cost of the trips depend on the length of the journey, usually between 170 and 310 yen.
Public Transport if you DON'T have a JR Pass
For subway, buses and JR lines you can get a PASMO card. It's prepaid and it has a 500 yen refundable deposit when you return it. It can be charged with amounts between 1.000 yen and 10.000 yen. It can also be used as a debit card in some convenience stores.
The comfortable and panoramic way: Hop On- Hop Off buses
With these buses you'll get to go around the city and get off and on at your desired stop. The ticket is valid for 24 hours and you can change between 2 different routes. The price goes from ¥ 3,500 per person. You can buy tickets in this link.
Door to door options: Taxi and Uber
These options are the least advisable because traffic can be really heavy in the city. The minimum fare for taxis is 730 yen for the first 2 km and then it starts to add 90 yen for every 300 meters.
Generally Japanese can unserstand some basic English, and all the major stations and sightseeing spots have indications written in English, so you shouldn't have troubles even if you cannot speak Japanese.
Some useful sentences:
Arigato gozaimas = Thank you
Konnichiwa = Hello
Ohayou Gozaimasu = Good Morning
Ikura Desuka? = How much is it?
Wi-fi Arimasuka = Do you have WiFi?
There are different ways to get to the city center from Narita Airport:
The easiest and cheapest way: trains
- Narita Express: this train belongs to the Japan Rail lines, so if you have the JR Pass it's included. It leaves every 30 minutes from 7:00 in the morning till past midnight and it takes an hour to get to Tokyo Station. Tickets cost between 3000 and 6000 ¥ and it gets to different stations like Shibuya, Shinjuku and Shinagawa. Make sure to be in the right wagon is you go further than Tokyo Station because the train divides there.
- Keisei Skyliner: this train goes from the airport to Ueno Station. It takes 40 minutes and it leaves every 20-40 minutes from 8:00 to 22:00. Tickets cost around 2400 ¥.
The best door to door option: Private Transfer
With this service you'll have a driver waiting for you at the arrivals hall and will take you directly to your accomodation. It costs from ¥ 23,750 per group up to 5 people and it takes approx. 90 minutes. You can book a transfer in this link.
Other door to door options: Taxi and Uber
There are official taxi stops in the terminals and they cost between 19.000 and 25.000 ¥. On the other hand, you can book an Uber from the app on your phone and it costs around 8.000¥.
There are different ways to get to the city center from Haneda Airport:
The cheapest way: train or Monorail
The Keikyu Main Line gets all the way to stations like Ginza, Tokyo station, Ueno, Shibuya and Shinjuku. The trains leave every 10 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night. The fare starts at 410¥ and it varies depending to which station you're going.
The Tokyo Monorail is an express service that gets to Hamamatsuchō station where there are connections with the Yamanote line to other parts of the city. It takes 15 minutes to get from one place to the other, and it leaves every 3-5 minutes during the day and a little less frequent at night. Tickets cost around 500¥.
The private door to door option: Private Transfer
With this service you'll have a driver waiting for you at the arrivals hall and will take you directly to your accomodation. It costs from ¥ 13.600 per group up to 3 people and it takes approx. 1 hour. You can book a transfer in this link.
The cheapest door to door option: Shared Transfer
You'll share a shuttle service with passengers that are going to the same direction as your accomodation. It costs from ¥ 2,380 per person and the time it takes depends on wether you are the first to be left at your hotel or not. You can book a transfer in this link.
Another door to door option: Taxi
There are official taxi stops in the terminals and they cost approximately 8.000 ¥ to get to the center of the city.
It's very common for visitors to get a Pocket WiFi for the length of their stay. It will help you get directions in case you're lost, get information and a handy translator, believe me, you may need it! You can rent a device from this link and you will get it sent to your hotel or you can pick it up in Harajuku.
Have you just started to plan your trip? Too many things to decide? Too long do it all by yourself? Special needs or wishes? Then, you should plan your trip with a local to get tailored travel plans & advices.