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October 5, 2017

Visit Tokyo: Public Transportation


One of the things I love about visiting Tokyo is the public transportation system.  It is very easy to navigate and you never have to wait very long for the next train to pull up.

Tokyo Monorail
While in Tokyo, we used the Tokyo Monorail to get to and from Haneda International Airport, Yurikamome to get to Odaiba (an automated transit system), the Keio Line, and the Tokyo Metro.

Yurikamome
Yurikamome

The primary mode of transit for us, however, was on the JR-East.  We used the Tokunai (Tokyo Metropolitan District) Pass frequently, which allows for unlimited rides on local and rapid JR East trains (excluding reserved seats) within the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo.


The Tokunai pass made it extremely easy and cheap to get around Tokyo!

Most of the lines have one- or multi-day passes, so if you plan ahead you can save a lot of money! Buying tickets at the kiosks at the stations was quite easy, since there is an "English" option on the menu. And if you have any questions on how to get to a certain station, the employees are extremely helpful (they will use their best English or point to maps or in certain directions to guide you).

But thanks to Google Maps, it's so easy to figure out which line to catch!



Elevators are few and far between at the train stations, which meant strollers were a rare sight as well. Parents would often be seen using baby carriers to hold their infants.

Although we loved catching the trains, I admit it was quite exhausting walking up and down the stairs to get to and from the platforms (if I saw an escalator nearby I went straight for it!). Because the trains show up frequently, seats near the platforms are rare, and if you're lucky enough to get a seat on the train, the rides are usually very quick so you won't be sitting very long (although I welcomed even a few minutes of sitting to rest my tired and aching feet!).

And yes, the train stations can be very chaotic, especially during the week when riders are commuting to and from work.  I had some anxiety thinking I'd get separated from my kids in the chaos or that one would get stuck on the train after the rest of us disembarked, but everything went smoothly!

The transportation system is one of my favorite things about Tokyo!


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