May 22, 2014

using tokyo metro

Anyone who has lived in or been to Tokyo will tell you how amazing the subway/metro system is. Between the two main operators, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway, close to 10 million commuters are carried everyday.

The metro will get you anywhere you want to go in the city. The system spans across the entire city on 13 lines with 290 stations. It is so infamous for its punctuality, that Discovery Asia even has a video of how precise the conductors are.

It looks daunting at first but once you get the hang of it, the system is very easy to use. Every station has a ticket vending area. Look for this near the turnstile gates.

Large maps above list all the different lines and stations. The price of a ticket from your current location to the station you would like to go to, is listed alongside the station name. In most Asian countries the public transit system is charged by the distance travelled rather than a fixed fare per ride.

The machine has a English menu option at the top right hand corner. Follow the instructions and select the price you saw on the map for your destination. The most expensive ride is ¥280(about $2.80). You can pay with bills or coins, and once you have inserted the correct amount your ticket will print and any change due will fall out.

Insert the ticket in the slot above the arrow, the yellow part, at the gate. It'll shoot out to the end to meet you as you pass by. Make sure to grab it because you need it to open the gates at the station you are exiting from.

There are also passes you can buy for unlimited travel for 1, 2, or 3 consecutive days. I always grab these at the airport so I don't have to worry about buying tickets each and every time.

On most days, I just pick a station at random, take a train there and just walk out of the station and explore. The metro is going to be a luxury that I'll really miss once I leave.

My only piece of advice is to avoid it during the morning rush hour. Yesterday I took it at 8:15am and the 6-7 people surrounding me got to know me, physically, better than my doctor does at my annual check-up. Luckily, I decided to take the women's only car. Yes, they have women only areas, marked on the ground of the platform so you know where to wait. I used to think it was ridiculous to have a women's only car on a subway train, but experience has proved me wrong.

Japanese people are likely the most polite people in the world. All of that goes out the door when it comes to rush hour! They may all look thin and tiny, but they sure pack a punch when it comes to getting on and off the train.

With that said I still think it is amazing because of how convenient and reliable the system is as a whole.

- Min

Tokyo Metro is by far my favourite public transit system and subways are my favourite way to get around. What is your most preferred mode of transportation?


  1. Love Tokyo Metro! Although I know it could be confusing for some since there are a few of the same stations, but in different coloured lines. I need to visit Tokyo. Again. Now.

  2. The subway looks so bright and clean!

  3. Japan's subway and public transportation systems are impressive! They are so consistently on time that if they are late you can get a slip of paper indicating there was a delay which you can present to your employer. In my case I wasn't even docked pay!