Tokyo Subway

Tokyo subway lines total thirteen in all, and connect the city’s centers and districts via numerous lines including the popular JR Yamanote Line. JR Yamanote Line is the quintessential Tokyo subway line and one that encircles the entire Tokyo area. It showcases the largest number of pushers on Tokyo subway lines due to its extremely active service. It also hooks up with less busy lines that span central Tokyo. One important key point is that the subways and trains do shut down at 12 a.m. and open again at 5 a.m.

Two major companies lead the operations of the Tokyo subway system (Tokyo Metro and Toei), with the most important centers being Shitamachi, Ginza, and the internal Yamanote loop. Suburban Tokyo subways flow into one of the major stops of the Yamanote line which are Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Tokyo, and Shinagawa. Essentially, one can hit all central locations via the Tokyo subway.

Using the Tokyo subway system isn’t rocket science, but it does take some basic navigational skills. The subway is often compared to the New York subway, though the exception is the pushers on the Tokyo subway, who’s job is to cram the last hands, feet, and other lingering body parts into the doorways and make certain they are shut tight. People pushers on Tokyo subway might seem alarming to first-time visitors, but it is done in a harmless and casual way and the pushers are calm and amiable, not aggressive or violent. Their job is necessary to keep the industrious system efficient.

There are several ways to purchase Tokyo subway fare. The Tokyo subway pass is the most popular method for some. Keep in mind that the Tokyo subway is best utilized for trips within central Tokyo while the trains are best used for traveling the greater area. There are a slew of day passes available, which can be purchased from vending machines or directly from train stations. They can be used from initial morning service until the final train at night.

Anyone needing limitless use of all subway lines can buy the Tokyo Free Kippu, which also includes unlimited trips on JR (Japan Railways) trains within central Tokyo for one day only. This pass is also valid on streetcars and subways owned by Toei. For unlimited rides on the Tokyo subway only, on both the metro and Toei lines, the One-Day Economy Tokyo Subway Pass is available. The Tokyo Metro Open Ticket is available as a one or two day pass. The pass holder can only use the nine Tokyo Metro lines, but none of the four Toei lines. This pass is available in a Toei version where the passenger can use the Toei lines, but not the Tokyo Metro lines. Anyone strictly needing unlimited train trips on the JR train can buy a Tokunai Pass. The Holiday Pass is another option for tourists and involves detailed use that should be further explored.

There are even more options for a Tokyo subway pass and Tokyo train passes for both central and Greater Tokyo called PASMO and Suica, which are prepaid cards. Suica can be purchased in combination with airport shuttles upon arrival. The Japan Rail Pass can be ideal when riding Tokyo trains extensively but be sure to read all the fine print before purchasing it for your vacation. Popular day trips from Tokyo include the trip by Toden Arakawa street car, or tram to Yokohama from Tokyo. A ride on the historic Toden Arakawa is an attraction entirely its own, a world away from the bustling subways, and reveals a bit of Old Japan through both its riders and stops.

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