Tokyo is a large city with a very well connected infrastructure, but in a big city getting around can be very difficult for the first time, especially if we don’t speak the local tongue.
Tip1: Use Suica and PASMO IC cards to save your time
Instead of buying separate tickets for metros and trains, buy in IC card so you can easily tap in and out at stations. IC cards run by the name Suica or Pasmo and cost 500 yen, which you can top up. You can get the cards from certain ticketing machines, and use them on all lines across Tokyo and every other city!
If you don’t buy an IC card but stick to ticketing, remember to carry cash with you when travelling with buses; as you get on a buy you will get a ticket and you will pay when you exit. This is also means that the exact price is not indicated as you get in so carry enough loose change at all times. An average ride will cost you about 250-300 Japanese yen.
Tip2: Always plan ahead
To find timetables and connections use Hyperdia it will save you time and headaches when planning your routes. Getting around in Tokyo is not very difficult as all stations have their name written in English.
The train and metro system of Tokyo seems rather confusing at first glance but actually is it a well-planned layout, which makes it easy to reach any part of the city. There are many stations but all signs are written in Latin alphabet so it’s not that difficult to get around the city. The metro line works together with the JR line, which are two separate companies but you can transfer between their trains as you wish. The Yamanote line is a very important JR line that carries millions of people every day, and runs in a loop in the center of Tokyo. This over ground train goes to most major sights of the city such as Shinjuku, Akihabara, Shibuya, Ueno and Tokyo station of the high-speed train, shinkansen. With this train not only you can reach your destinations easily but you can enjoy the view of the city while commuting.
Tip3: Time is money, taxi and transfers
If you’re in a hurry, it is nighttime or traveling with suitcases you can always take a taxi. Taxis are all around the city and easy to get in Tokyo, but rather pricey. Depending on the route you will pay between 30-50 USD for a ride.
Additionally, many hotels have their own transfers to airports and the city center for a reasonable price. From the airport you can take the trains but it might be easier to take a limousine bus. These buses go to all major hotels in the city and cot around 20 USD. Taking these buses are convenient because it drops you off right in front of your hotel and you don’t have to struggle with your luggage in the crowded public transport after a long flight.
In any case, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you get confused or lost. You can always ask the operators, police officers or nearby tourist information booths for direction, they are friendly and eager to help you out!