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TOKYO FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Tokyo is mainly serviced by two airports: Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport.

If you have not booked a private transfer with us, there are several transportation options at Narita International airport to get to your hotel, including trains, buses, taxis, shuttles and rental cars. Most journeys will take 60 - 90 minutes.

Haneda Airport offers passengers trains, monorails, buses and taxis for transportation to your hotel.

What types of transportation can I find at the airport?

From Narita

The quickest and cheapest option to reach central Tokyo from Narita Airport (Terminals 1,2 and 3) is the Keisei Skyliner. Take the Skyliner from the airport to Nippori Station which is about a 40 minute journey and costs approximately ¥2,470 ($22 USD) for a one way ticket, from here transfer to the JR Yamanote Line or the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line which will take you to Tokyo Station (main station in central Tokyo), this journey is approximately 10 minutes and costs around ¥160 ($1.50 USD) one way. Connecting trains run every 20 -30 minutes and all trains connect to the city’s main subway system. Trains run from 7:30 am - to 11:00 pm daily. Follow the sign for `Railways` and take the escalator down to the lower level, look for the blue `Keisei Line`.

The JR Narita Express (N`EX) is another option to travel between Narita airport and the Tokyo Station (main station in central Tokyo), a one way journey takes about 40 minutes to reach Nippori Station and costs approximately ¥4,000 ($36 USD) for adults one way and approximately ¥2,000 ($18 USD) for children one way, with 3 trains departing every 30 - 60 minutes, also connecting you to the subway system. The trains depart from Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The Narita Line Rapid Train/Sobu Line leaves from Narita making tops at Chiba Station to Tokyo Station, the journey takes around 90 minutes and costs around ¥1,350 ($13 USD) with about one departure every hour, this option is a cheaper but takes longer.

The Keisei Express Bus is a good, cheap option, the bus runs every 20 minutes beginning at 7:00 am - 11:00 pm the journey from the airport to Tokyo Station is about a 90 minute trip and costs around ¥900 ($8 USD) one way. The bus stops can be found at terminal 1 and terminal 2 and tickets can be purchased at the Keisei Bus counter in the arrivals lobby.

The Tokyo Shuttle is a discounted bus service (2 lines) both operating around 2 times and an hour from Narita to Tokyo Station and one way fare costs around ¥1000 ($9 USD) one way during the day and ¥2000 ($18 USD) one way in the late evening and early morning (depart before 6 am). The journey takes up to 90 minutes. The bus stop can be found outside of the Central Exit C1 outside the international arrivals lobby.

The Access Narita is another cheap option from Narita to Tokyo Station, a one-way journey costs around ¥1000 ($9 USD) for adults and about ¥500 ($5 USD) for children. Access Narita claims to be easier to use than the Tokyo shuttle as you only have to line up at their bus stop rather than stopping to buy tickets at the counter.

There are several taxi companies offering service from Narita to central Tokyo but rates are very expensive costing anywhere from ¥16,000 - ¥20,000 ($145 - $198 USD) plus tolls. The taxi stands are located on the platform outside of south wing international arrival lobby. (South exit S1 or S2).

From Haneda

You can take the Keikyu Line train from Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station which takes approximately 20 minutes and costs around ¥600 ($5.50 USD) one way for adults. For tickets to the Tokyo area press the ticketing machines `Toei Line` or `Transfer to JR Lines` button to buy your ticket. This train is a regular commuter train and can get crowded during rush hour as well as being slow and hard to navigate.

The International Passenger Terminal at the airport connects directly to the underground International Terminal Station on the Keikyu Line. From the International arrivals lobby look for the signs for Keikyu Line, keep right, you will pass through the ticket machine area, purchase your ticket from the machine and pass through the ticket gates, use the elevator to the right or the escalator to the left and proceed to the platforms.

The Tokyo Monorail is a fun way of getting from the airport to Tokyo as you get a scenic view of Tokyo Bay, take the Tokyo Monorail and transfer to Hamamatsucho Station this journey takes approximately 20 minutes and costs around ¥470 ($4.25 USD) one way for adults and ¥240 ($2.15 USD) one way for children. Then transfer to the JR Yamanote or the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line and finish at Tokyo Station which should take another 5 minutes and cost about ¥160 ($1.50 USD) one way for adults. The monorail operates every 3 - 4 minutes during the day and 5 - 10 minutes during the night and early mornings.

The International Passenger Terminal at Haneda Airport connects directly to the underground International Terminal Station; on the 3rd floor is where you can find the Tokyo Monorail Station.

The Haneda Airport Limousine Bus is not a limousine just a regular orange bus that will take you from the airport to Tokyo, the bus is convenient with numerous stops at major railway stations and hotels so you have a good chance of finding a stop by your hotel. Attendants are very helpful with luggage and questions. The cost is around ¥930 ($8.35 USD) one way for adults

The Haneda Airport Express Bus is another option to get you to Tokyo, it`s also known as the Keihin Kyuko Bus with extensive routes also stopping at major train stations as well as attractions. The fares from the airport to Tokyo Station is around ¥930 ($8.35 USD).

Bus ticket counters can be found when you exit the arrival hall (2nd floor), straight ahead on the left. And bus tickets can be purchased through the ticket vending machines.

The taxi stands are located in the curbside area on the 1st floor.

Taxis are available at the airport but can be expensive a trip from the airport to Tokyo Station is around ¥8,000 ($72 USD). Taxis also apply a 20% surcharge if you travel between 10 pm and 5 am. Taxi stands can be found on the 1st floor on the curb. Most taxi drivers might not speak English, be prepared with a map with your destination marked on it or have a business card or address printed out of with your hotel information.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

Tokyo is serviced by numerous rail lines and multiple train stations. Precisely which of Tokyo`s many mainline stations you arrive at depends on where you start your journey. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you will find Tokyo is well connected by train, subway, buses, trams and taxis.

The Tokyo Station is made up of three parts, ground floor, underground and another underground with 20 tracks on the ground floor and another 4 tracks at each of the underground levels. The Sobu line/Rapid and Narita Express can be found on the ground floor and the Keiyo line/local train can be found on the underground.

The high-speed Shinkansen rail lines can also be found at the station located in the Chiyoda ward. The station is served by multiple regional commuter lines with Japan Railways as well as the Tokyo Metro, the station is linked by underground to the Otemachi underground (subway) station served by multiple subway lines.

It is also possible to walk through the underground to Ginza, Hibiya, Higashi-Ginza, Yurakucho and Nijubashimae but these stations can also be reached by train. The station is a major intercity bus terminal with regular service to several cities. Taxis can also be found outside of the station.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

Tokyo has one of the best public transportation systems in the world offering an extensive mass transit system which is clean, safe and efficient, but can be confusing. The best way to get around Tokyo is by using the subway (there are two subway networks) or using Japan Railways train to the station closest to your destination and walking or taking a taxi from there.

The JR Yamanote Line runs in a loop around central Tokyo and is the best and most convenient JR line, stopping at 29 stations all announced in English this is a great way to get a roundtrip view of Tokyo, the entire journey takes around an hour and passes through stations such as Shinjuku, Tokyo, Harajuku, and Ueno. The Chuo line is color coded orange and cuts across Tokyo between Shinjuku and Tokyo stations with fewer stops. At the station look for signs that show JR Lines.

The Tokyo subway uses the `M` symbol and is easy to use, all stations are written in English and many display digital signs on board in English and announce stops in English. There are 13 underground subway lines that cover the city operated by two companies, Tokyo Metro and Toei and each line is color coded, for example, the Ginza Line is orange and all trains and signs are in orange, so if you transfer to the Ginza line from another line you just follow the orange signs and circles to the Ginza Line platform with the letter `G`. The stations are assigned a number in chronological order starting with the first station so you know how many stops until your destination and there are also signs that show how many minutes it takes to each destination on that line. Always be sure the train is heading in the right direction. Avoid taking the subway or JR trains during the weekday rush hours (8 - 9 am) the trains are extremely crowded and they literally push people into the compartments so they can close the doors.

Transferring between subway lines is possible without buying an additional ticket, you can make transfers between the JR train lines on one ticket, your ticket does not allow you to transfer between the two subway lines (Metro and Toei) as they are run by different companies.

Purchasing a Suica prepaid card is smart if you are going to be traveling around Tokyo for a few days, this prepaid card can be used on JR trains, private railways, subways and buses in the greater Tokyo area. And can also be used at designated vending machines, convenience stores, and fast food outlets that show the Suica sign. You can purchase your Suica card from a vending machine for ¥2,000 ($18 USD), it is re-loadable and there is a ¥500 deposit on the card when you first purchase it, but be sure that your card is depleted when you return it or you will be charged ¥210 handling fee for the remaining stored balance.

Vending machines located at all subway stations sell tickets, to purchase your ticket insert money into the vending machine, look for the fare buttons to light up, then push and select the amount for the ticket you want, tickets and change are deposited at the bottom of the machine. Children under 5 travel for free and children 6 - 11 pay half price. Look for the `Tourist Map of Tokyo` subway map which will list the stations in English to find your station and corresponding fare. The subways run from around 5 am – midnight daily and arrive every 3 - 5 minutes.

There is a Smartphone app that can be downloaded for free, the Tokyo Subway Navigation app is available in app stores and works offline providing useful information on routes and timetables for the subway.

Buses are available in the city but are not as easy to use as the subways or trains, normally the final destination is shown on the bus but the route is not in English and most drivers don`t speak English. A Toei bus map is useful and shows all the major bus routes, you can pick one up from the Tokyo Tourist Information Centers or check the website at www.kotsu.metro.tokyo.jp

The Tokyo Shitamachi Bus (Toei`s) is a great option for tourists, a user friendly sightseeing bus following a fixed route to seven major sightseeing spots and departs from Marunouchi which is the north exit at the Tokyo Station, buses travel in both directions every 30 minutes between 9 am – and 6:30 pm for around ¥200 ($1.80 USD) each time you board, you can use the Suica card for buses.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis are available and plentiful in the city, you can hail a cab from the street of find one at a taxi stand or outside major hotels, however, they can be very expensive and traffic is a nightmare. A red light above the dashboard signals if the taxi is available and a yellow light indicates the cab is occupied. Be aware that the back left door opens automatically and closes automatically, do not try to maneuver the door yourself. Fares start at ¥710 ($6.50 USD) for the first 1 ¼ and increase ¥90 (0.81 USD) for every 950 feet or 40 seconds of waiting time. From 10 pm to 5 am there is an additional 30% added to your fare. Most drivers do not speak English so it is a good idea to have your destination written down in Japanese. You can call Nihon Kotsu tel. 03 5755-2366 a major taxi company with an English speaking operator.

Is Tokyo a walking city?

Tokyo consistently tops the safest city list and you can see so much more on the streets rather than traveling underground. Walking in the city of Tokyo can be a very pleasant experience with various outdoor shopping areas, beautiful parks lined with cherry trees and the stunning rainbow bridge walking path.

What are some popular areas for shopping?

Tokyo has it all when it comes to shopping from cutting edge electronics to high-end fashion, traditional crafts to anime goods and vintage ware! Many of the sightseeing districts in the city also have their own shopping district with their own specialties. Some souvenirs to look for in Japan include electronics, kimono, pearls, silk goods and pottery.

Just a few of the popular areas are the Ginza district featuring high-end department store and posh boutiques. Asakusa includes vintage curios at Tokyo Hotaru do and souvenirs in Nakamise-Dori. Shinjuku is where you can find geta (wooden sandals) and purses made from kimono fabric and Japanese sweets. Shibuya is the center of trendy teens with crazy apparel and music shops.

Department stores and specialty shops offer a 5% consumption tax refund to anyone who spends more than ¥10,001 on any given day in one shop. Shoppers must show their passports, there are no refunds offered on food, alcohol, cigarettes, medicine, cosmetics, film or batteries.

What is the currency? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency in Japan is the yen symbolized by ¥. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand and be prepared to exchange your dollars to yen upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and bank locations throughout the city, ATM`s are widespread. ATM`s are located at Post office`s all over the city, look for a symbol that indicates `International ATM Service` or `Authorized Foreign Exchange` (a green clover) and stickers indicating which cards are accepted.

For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Japan by clicking Japan
When is a popular time to go?

The best time to visit Tokyo is from late March to mid-May, March and April are cherry blossom season where you can see the abundance of beautiful blossoming trees around the city. Early October to mid-November is also a good time to visit. June is the rainy season. Special dates include Year-end and New Year holidays from December 27th - January 4th. Golden Week which runs from April 29th - May 5th and Bon festival season which is during the week of August 15th. These times are considered peak times of the year.

What is the food like?

Tokyo is well known for a large variety of food with some of the world`s most weird and wonderful dining destinations. Not just a land of sushi, although fish are in abundance here, there is a huge variety of other food including international fare, top restaurants with more Michelin stars than New York and Paris combined and lots casual dining. Rice and noodles are a main staple dish for the locals and most food is eaten with chopsticks so get familiarized with using chopsticks as cutlery is not always available.

What is the nightlife like?

Tokyo at night is beautiful and one of the craziest cities in the world with the entertainment districts filled with people at 10 pm and just as crowded at 3 am, many establishments are open until the subway starts running after 5 am! There many different nightspots in the city with the most famous being Ginza, Kabuki-Cho and Roppongi where the streets are crowded flashing neon lights with bars, discos, clubs and geisha bars. Drinking establishments are the most popular form of nightlife with Western-style bars in Roppongi and Japanese-style bars, dancing and live music are also popular among the youngsters and adult bars with massage parlors found in Shinjuku`s Kabuki-Cho district. A `table charge` is common in some bars and cocktail lounges which can be between ¥300 - ¥500 ($2.70 - $3.50 USD), some places only charge during certain hours in the evening and others may add the charge if you do not order food from the menu. Be sure to ask before you order anything! A consumption tax of 5% is included in prices but there can be an additional 10 - 20% service charge added in high-end establishments, nightclubs, bars and dance clubs.

Is Tokyo a safe city?

Tokyo is remarkably safe and Japan has long been known as one of the world`s most crime-free countries. Crimes against visitors are practically unheard of and lost belongings are generally turned into local police. Keep your wits about you and practice street smarts when out sightseeing.

I don`t speak Japanese will there be many people who speak English?

Japanese is the language spoken in Tokyo, but English is widely spoken throughout the country with announcements on public transportation frequently made in Japanese and English, most signs include roman characters or an English explanation. Most Japanese people study English in junior high and high school so you are best seeking out younger people who may be able to help and translate for you.

It is best to have your destinations written down in Japanese so you are able to show this to your taxi driver or people on the street. People are always willing to help whether they can speak English or not.

We recommend you get a good English - Japanese guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1 - 10.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

If you need emergency services while in Japan dial 110 for the police or 119 to call an ambulance or report a fire.

If you require any other medical assistance please call the Tokyo English Life Line tel-03 3403 7106.