Train Travel in Tokyo
Find out about travelling on Tokyo's rail transport network, including the shinkansen, urban trains and underground service...
The most popular mode of transport in Tokyo is the train network, and many signs are in English. As there are many different train and subway companies, commuters sometimes have to walk to another platform or train station to make a connection. Several train companies may operate out of a single station, and have their own ticket machines and platforms.
- For general information about how to use the train system in Tokyo: Click here
There are two websites that provide train timetable and fare information across networks:
- For timetable and route information from Hyperdia: Click here
- For route information from Jorudan: Click here
Train and Subway Maps
- For a detailed map of the JR-East rail network: Click here (PDF)
- For a detailed Tokyo Subway route map: Click here
Buying and Validating Tickets
Different companies operate their own ticket vending machines within stations, and an English-language fare chart is maintained at stations for reference. The vending machines have an English-language option, and provide a variety of ticket options including cards, rail passes and single journey tickets.
Tickets for a single journey are valid for a certain distance according to their price, rather than for a specific route. If a passenger exceeds the distance permitted by the price of their ticket, they can use a fare adjustment machine at their destination stop to make up the difference.
To validate a ticket, simply insert it into the platform gate on the way to the platform.
Train Fares for Babies and Children
Most train companies allow babies and children who are less than six years old to travel free of charge.
Children who are between six and 11 years old are charged half the adult fare. Children aged 12 and above are charged the same fare as adults.
- For further information about fares from JR-East: Click here
- For further information about fares from Tokyo Metro: Click here
- For further information about fares from Tokyu: Click here
Passengers with Disabilities
Provisions have been made for passengers with disabilities by various train lines and stations, but they are not universally consistent. While ramps and escalators are available at major metro stations, smaller stations may not feature them, and disabled people may find it more difficult to travel at peak times. The Shinkansen (bullet trains) are fully wheelchair-accessible, but disabled passengers may need to make reservations in advance to access special facilities. In any eventuality, train and station staff can help by providing physical support and information.
- For more information on getting around for those with a physical impairment: Click here
Train and Subway Companies
East Japan Railway Company (JR-East): Tokyo's main train company operates several routes including the Yamanote line.
Keikyu Railway: Connects Haneda airport and Tokyo.
- Keikyu Railway
Route map (PDF)
Tel: 03 5789 8686, Monday to Friday 07:30-21:00, weekends 09:00-17:00
Keio Railway: Operates the Skyliner service to Narita airport and also some routes in the outer areas of Tokyo, including Shinjuku and Shibuya.
Keisei Electric Railway: Connects Narita and Haneda airports and downtown Tokyo via Ueno, Asakusa, Nippori and Shinagawa. They also have lines in Tokyo and east of Tokyo, including Chiba and Funabashi.
Monorail: Connects Haneda airport with nine other stations in south Tokyo.
Nippori-Toneri Line: Operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, this line connects Nippori to Koya, Kohoku, Yazaike and Toneri.
Odakyu Rail: A train service from Tokyo to Hakone and the west of Tokyo. Some stations include Shinjuku, Otemachi, Yoyogi-Koen, Omotesando, Hakone-Yumoto, Enoshima, Odawara and Kayama.
Seibu Railway: Connects Ikebukuro and Seibu Shinjuku with west Tokyo. Areas served include Chichibu, Kawagoe, Tokorozawa, Ogawa and Haijima.
Tobu Line: Connects Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Asakusa to the Nikko and Kinugawa areas.
Toei Streetcar: The route starts at Wasedo and ends at Minowabashi. Operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, it covers some areas around Nippori, Ikebukuro and Machiya. It is also called the Toden Arakawa Line.
Toei Subway: This is a very large subway network operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Tokyo Metro: The largest subway network in Tokyo, it generally connects stations inside the Yamanote line.
Tokyu Lines: Operates primarily in south Tokyo and connects Kamata, Shibuya, Oimachi, Gotanda and Meguro.
Yurikamome: Small train line which operates in Ariake and Odaiba and connects Shiodome, Shimbashi, the Telecom Center and Toyosu.
The Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
The shinkansen is a high-speed train run by Japan Railways, and is shared by JR East, JR Central and JR West. It has two main routes.
One route travels between Tokyo and Kagoshima which is southwest of Tokyo. The shinkansen takes about two hours and 25 minutes to get to Osaka. Some stops along the way include Kozu, Atami, Nagoya, Toyohashi, Shizuoka and Kyoto.
Another route travels from Tokyo to the north and then splits to Niigata, Shinjo, Aomori, Akita and Nagano.
- Route map JR-East (north of Tokyo)
- Route map JR Central (west of Tokyo)
- Route map JR West (west of Osaka)
Discount Train Tickets
Discount train tickets are available for those planning to cross multiple rail lines, use different types of trains on one journey, travel outside Tokyo, or travel extensively over the course of several days. Several important types of discount passes are outlined below, although more may be available at Tokyo stations.
Japan Rail Pass: This pass allows travel on all six Japan Railways Group companies (JR East, JR West, JR Central, JR Kyushu, JR Shikoku and JR Hokkaido) including the shinkansen trains. Some restrictions apply and it is available as a seven-day, 14-day or 21-day pass. The pass must be purchased before arriving in Japan, as it is tailored to tourists and is not sold within Japan.
JR East Pass: Allowing unlimited travel on JR East railways, the pass is available as a five-day and 10-day pass, or as a flexible four-day pass. It is economical for travelling north of Tokyo to cities such as Aomori, Sendai and Niigata as it includes shinkansen trains.
JR Seishun 18 Pass: The pass allows unlimited travel on all JR lines in Japan for a period of five days. There are restrictions: it cannot be used on shinkansen trains, limited express trains (those that make fewer stops for reasons of speed), or trains with sleeper cars.
Keisei Skyliner and Tokyo Metro Pass: This combines the price of a Skyliner ticket from Narita airport with a one- or two-day unlimited Tokyo Metro pass. It must be bought at the Narita airport Keisei ticket office. It does not include travel on JR trains or Toei subway lines.
PASMO Card: PASMO is a card that serves as a flexible transport ticket, and can even be used instead of a credit card or money in certain stores. It can be recharged at vending machines in Tokyo stations, and is also usable on buses. If using a PASMO card on a bus, be aware that it can be debited before a ride or after a ride, and failing to scan the card the correct number of times may result in extra fares.
Suica & Monorail Pass: This offer combines the prepaid Suica card with a ticket on the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho. There is the choice of either a one-way or round trip, and savings can be substantial. However, restrictions apply and the ticket must be bought at the ticket office at Haneda International airport between 11:00 and 18:30 (most international flights arrive after this office is closed)
Tokyo Metro One-Day Open Tickets for Lines in Tokyo: There are three offers for one-day unlimited travel. All offers can be bought at Tokyo Metro automated vending machines. One ticket offer includes travel on the nine Tokyo Metro lines only, the second offer includes travel on all Tokyo Metro lines as well as the four Toei subway lines, and the final offer is the same as the Tokyo Tour Ticket (Tokyo Furii Kippu): unlimited one-day travel on almost all modes of transport in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
- For information about other Tokyo Metro offers that must be purchased at Narita airport: Click here
Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokunai Pass): This pass allows one-day unlimited travel on all JR East lines within the Tokyo metropolitan area. It is not valid on other companies' trains, subways, streetcars or buses.This ticket can cost more than buying individual tickets separately.
Tokyo Tour Ticket (Tokyo Furii Kippu): The ticket permits one-day unlimited travel on all JR East lines as well as other companies' subways, streetcars and buses within the Tokyo area. This ticket can cost more than buying individual tickets separately.