Visiting Japan has been very convenient than ever and for many Filipinos and most international tourists, Tokyo is almost on everyone’s bucket list. But despite the ease, it can be overwhelming at times. Other than the language barrier, the second most significant concern, I think, is how to go around the city and visit the different tourist spots and shopping areas? Or how does one get to this particularly good Michelin starred restaurant? The answer: take the Tokyo Metro.
In this post, I’m listing the different reasons why you should take the Tokyo Metro. First and foremost, this is the most extensive and convenient way to go around the mega city with nine subway lines. Second, with the city hosting the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics just a few years away, Tokyo Metro, being a partner for these two international sports events is making the subway system as convenient as possible for the deluge of tourists.
1 The Tokyo Metro is the best way to go around Tokyo
Tokyo is a big city rich in both history and modernity and for the tourist, it can be a nightmare not knowing how to go from one place to another. Of course, there are taxis but that can be expensive while buses can be confusing. But the Tokyo Metro, thanx to its efforts to be more tourist friendly, can get you to your destination in no time with around 142 stations. These stations are numbered while subway lines are color coded to make it easier even for non English and Japanese readers/speakers. There are also attractions with direct underground connections like Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Skytower, Sensoji Temple, Yoyogi Park and many more.
It’s not only about connecting to different tourist spots but major stations are shopping and dining destinations in itself with a series of shops and restaurants as part of the subway station complex.
2 Tokyo Metro day pass
Visiting Tokyo for a day or two? Or even three days? Why experience the hassle of lining and buying a ticket for every trip when you can buy Tokyo Metro pass in 1, 2 and 3 day for an all you can ride flat rate. This is the best way to tour around Tokyo and well worth the price. When I did visit two years ago, I got the two day pass to maximize my trips.
Do note that there are conditions availing of this Tokyo Metro day pass. First, its only sold for visitors to Tokyo, either local or foreign. Second, this can only be availed as part of a travel product bundle or value packs like accommodations or transport. In my case, I bought mine as a value pack with the Keisei Skyliner at Narita Airport.
3 Tokyo Metro is on time
We all know the punctuality of Tokyo trains and this extends to Tokyo Metro. It’s not only punctual but there are several trains available. During rush hours, major lines have trains every 2-3 minutes. Of course, we also know that it can be VERY crowded during rush hours but to avoid the inconvenience of fully packed trains, better take the subway off peak hours.
4 Tokyo Metro smartphone app
Thanx for smartphones, taking the Tokyo Metro is more convenient as ever! Using android or Iphones? There’s a Tokyo Metro app for your mobile unit! Just download and install and you need not struggle with getting from point A to B. Just input your origin and destination stations and the app will tell you what specific line and which station to transfer, if needed.
This was quite helpful to me When I was in Tokyo, since I installed the app on my android phone. No more hassle of spending precious minutes plotting the convoluted and often confusing subway map with all those multiple colored lines.
Using it is also simple, in three ways: 1) by touching the station name on the route map; 2) by selecting the station name based on nearby major tourist spots; and 3) by entering the station name
More information at the Tokyo Metro site.
5 Tokyo Metro supports different languages
Tourists need not be intimidated when taking the Tokyo Metro as it supports different languages: English and Japanese are available in ticket machines, train stops as well as station signage. Printed subway guides are in seven different languages too. Braille at railing bases are also provided for blind people as well as raised rubber guide strips on the flooring across the subway network.
6 Free wifi in Tokyo Metro subway stations
Yes, no more problems with going online and checking information while at the Tokyo Metro subway stations. Each station has free wifi for your convenience and soon, in the run up to the Olympics in 2020 which Tokyo will host, trains will have free wifi too.
A caveat though: You need to register to use the free wifi and this can be a hassle as I found out when I was there two years ago. I didn’t have any pocket wifi like Skyroam at that time and I was hesitant to use my mobile home network’s data roaming because of the charges. So I had to register several times, providing my email address… and so on and so forth. Although fast and helpful if you don’t have any other options to go online.
7 There’s an English speaking human who will help you
If all else fails, Tokyo Metro has provided English speaking station guides who will assist you in getting that ticket to your destination. They’re friendly and smiling so no need to be intimidated. This is especially important if its your first time to use the Tokyo Metro and don’t know how to go about from deciding which station to take and disembark, costs especially if you’re not familiar with the monetary system in Japan as well as step by step process when taking the subway.
8 Get the Tokyo Metro pass via value packs/bundles
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Tokyo Metro day pass have conditions and are only available to tourists or those living outside of Tokyo both local and foreign. When I arrived in Narita Airport and was bound for Tokyo, I took the Keisei Skyliner but bundled with the Tokyo Metro 2 Day Ticket pass for adults which was on sale at a special price. This not only afforded you with convenience, its cost effective too.
9 Tokyo Metro is safe, easy and comfortable to use
Moving more than 6 million people per day is a highly complex system but for Tokyo Metro, it has made commuting easy, safe and comfortable. It has elevators to bring passengers to different levels of the staion. It has implemented slopes, guide blocks for visually-impaired people and Braille information boards. There’s also an easier to understand information system as well as support during emergencies. Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are even available in all stations. Stations are clean and aesthetically pleasing like Nihonbashi station with “…restrooms were designed to capture the atmosphere of current day Nihonbashi, a mixture of historical Edo period and modern architecture.”
10 Check out this interesting Tokyo Metro video