Tokyo Transportation

Tokyo has one of the most efficient and fast public transport systems in the world. It combines an extensive train network, underground subway lines, a bus system, taxis, and car rentals. For visitors, trains and subways are usually the most convenient way to travel. All stations have signs in English and trains and subways are faster and cheaper than buses. The bus system is more complicated as well and destinations are written only in Japanese. The drivers, too, do not speak English. Taxis are very expensive and drivers speak little or no English. Driving yourself is not advised as heavy traffic congestion tends to make driving slow and frustrating.

Train and Subway Lines

Trains and subways are the primary mode of transportation in Tokyo. JR East ( East Japan Railway Company ) is the biggest operator of railway passenger lines in the city. It is also the largest passenger railway company in the world. Besides the Shinkansen (“bullet trains”) and the Monorail , the most prominent line of JR East is the JR Yamanote Line, a circle line which connects Tokyo's multiple city centers. Its six major stations are Tokyo, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa. The other JR East commuter lines that radiate from Tokyo to its suburbs are the Keihin-Tohoku , Chuo , Sobu , Keiyo , Yokohama , Tokaido , and Yokosuka Lines.

There are several other private railway networks that also operate in Tokyo. Among these are Keikyu with 5 lines, Keio with 6 lines, Keisei with 7 lines, Odakyu with 3 lines, Seibu with 13 lines, Tobu with 12 lines, Tokyu with 8, and the last 5 one each for a total of 55 non-JR lines serving Tokyo Prefecture.

The Tokyo subway network has a total of 13 lines operated by two companies – the Tokyo Metro and Toei (Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation). Tokyo Metro operates 9 lines – Ginza (Shibuya to Asakusa), Marunouchi (Ogikubo to Ikebukuro), Hibiya (Naka-meguro to Kita-senju), Tozai (Nakano to Nishi-funabashi), Chiyoda (Yoyogi-uehara to Kita-ayase), Yurakucho (Wakoshi to Shin-kiba), Hanzomon (Shibiya to Oshiage), Namboku (Meguro to Akabane-iwabuchi), and Fukutoshin (Ikebukuro to Shibuya). The busiest Tokyo Metro stations are Ikebukuro, Kita-senju, Otemachi, and Ginza. Toei operates 4 lines - Toei Asakusa (Nishi-magome to Oshiage), Toei Mita (Shirokane-takanawa to Nishi-takashimadaira & Meguro to Shirokane-takanawa), Toei Shinjuku (Shinjuku to Moto-yawata), and Toei Oedo (radiate part – Hikarigaoka to Tochomae & circle part – Tochomae to Tochomae via Roppongi and Ryogoku).

Tickets cost begins at 130 yen for the JR lines, 160 yen for the Tokyo Metro lines, and 190 yen for the Toei lines. Above the ticket machines there is a train map that shows the train routes and the ticket fares.  Each train company has different tickets, and tickets of one company cannot be used for another. A Passnet can be bought for 1000, 3000, or 5000 yen which can be used on the Tokyo Metro, Toei and other private lines, but not on JR lines. JR has its own rechargeable card system, called Suica . A Suica does not need to be passed through the ticket gates, but just held above it, which makes it faster. It can also be re-charged for the desired amount at a ticket machine. Some special day passes are also available which are valid for unlimited use on particular lines on one calendar day.


Buses are secondary to trains and subway lines as a means of public transport in Tokyo. They are mainly used in areas that are poorly served by trains or subways, for long distance services, and for airport to city transfers. Toei ( Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation ) operates buses in all the 23 wards of Tokyo and have a fixed fare of 200 yen per ride. Other private bus companies (mostly the large train operators like Yokohama and Kawasaki ) operate on different routes and charge according to distance. Frequent bus riders may buy prepaid bus cards from the drivers to avoid the hassle of buying a ticket each time they ride. These cards are available in 1000, 2000, and 5000 yen denominations. Water buses are also available in the oceanfront area. Visitors to Tokyo often opt for a ride on one of these to get a look at the city from a different angle. Water buses are run by two companies – Tokyo Cruise Ship and Tokyo Mizube Line.


Taxis are another mode of transport in Tokyo. These are mainly used by businessmen, when buses are inconvenient, or when people travel in groups. Taxis are relatively more expensive with a ride at 660 yen and costing at least 5000 yen for an average ride. The amount to be paid is as indicated by the fare meter upon arrival at the destination. Most of the taxis are medium sized. There are also some small-sized taxis which are a little cheaper and may be got from one of their exclusive depots. Share-taxis, or “noriai” taxis as they are called, are also available. Customers who travel to the same destination share the ride, thus paying less than they would do when riding alone. “Wagon taxis”, or mini-vans, are convenient for visitors with luggage. These are available at the airports and hotels at the same rate as a medium-sized taxi. Limousines are the best taxis. They are larger in size and of a better grade… and more expensive.

Rental cars

For visitors it is not recommended that you drive in Japan.  Japan has the best public transportaion system in the world.  However, if you really want to drive, you will need either a Japanese drivers license or an international license which is accepted in Japan.  Rental cars are easily available in Tokyo. Advance and internet reservations have special rates, so it is best to go for these.

Tokyo City Guide - Below are links to website pages providing an abundance of useful information on Tokyo shopping, restaurants, activities, things to do, banks, hospitals, and much more!  Click any of the links below that interest you to get the information you need to while living in Tokyo or just traveling through.  The list is constantly being updated, adding new items of interest as this website continues to grow meeting the needs of all our visitors. We can also provide you guidance and recommendations by just sending us an email to   If you need to make travel reservations just click on our Travel Reservations hotels and rental cars for domestic travel or make all your international travel arrangements.  Our travel Reservations page has capability to book worldwide hotels, rental cars, activities, tours etc.
Tokyo Activities Tokyo Geography Tokyo Museums Tokyo Singles
Tokyo Airports Tokyo Government Offices Tokyo Nightlife Tokyo Shopping
Tokyo Banks Tokyo History Tokyo Parks Tokyo Shrines
Tokyo Culture Tokyo Honeymoons Tokyo People Tokyo Stats
Tokyo Embassies Tokyo Housing Tokyo Photos Tokyo Tours
Tokyo Employment Tokyo Links Tokyo Realtors Tokyo Transportation
Tokyo Events Tokyo Legal Assistance  Tokyo Restaurants Tokyo Weddings
Tokyo Foreigners Tokyo Medical Assistance Tokyo Schools Tokyo Wellness
The Tokyo Travel Information Experts!
Send an email to us at and we will answer any questions you may have about Tokyo.
All content and images copyright . No use of any content permitted without written authorization. Webmaster contact:
website by Rossetti International l photography by Jeff Laitila