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Trains in Tokyo: The Best Way to Travel the World's Greatest City


JR East Train at Akihibara Station | Image Courtesy of Tim Adams/Flickr

When visiting Tokyo for the first time, it's essential to visit the best tourist spots and also, enjoy the city like the locals. They say that to be a traveler, one must not be a tourist, and instead 'do what the locals do.' Because by doing such, you don't only get a chance to try new experiences but also, discover the most unique and interesting things to do from a local's perspective.


In a crowded, fast-paced city like Tokyo, the best way to get around and travel the world's greatest city is by train and subway. Tokyo's railway system is considered to be the most efficient in the world. And, almost every location in the metropolitan area can be accessed by riding these trains.



Tokyo's Most Useful and Prominent Train Line: JR Yamanote Line


You'll be riding a train 70% of the time you'll be in Tokyo. But, there's nothing you should worry about. Tokyo's trains are known to be punctual, frequent, and provide the fastest way to travel from one city to another. The largest passenger railway in the world known as East Japan Railway Company or JR East operates in Tokyo.


The most useful and prominent among Tokyo's numerous train and subway lines is the JR Yamanote Line. It's highly-expected that you'll be riding this line a lot because it runs around Central Tokyo and is connected to all major city centers. It's popularly known as the 'Common Loop Line' or 'Loop Line.'


These are the six major stations of the JR Yamanote Line where most suburban trains commence:


  • Tokyo Station, which is Tokyo's central station

  • Shinagawa Station, the capital's emerging railway hub

  • Ueno Station, your gateway to Ueno's parks and museums

  • Ikebukuro Station, one of the busiest stations that is only 5 minutes away from Sunshine City

  • Akihabara Station, the entrance to the dream destination of anime and manga fans

  • Shinjuku Station, the busiest station in the world and way to experience Tokyo nightlife

  • Shibuya Station, the gateway to every fashion lover's shopping paradise



Tokyo's Subway Systems

Two subway companies operate in Tokyo -- the Tokyo Metro and the Toei Subway. The two systems are interlinked and there's not much of a difference between the two. Both are convenient to use to visit major sightseeing spots in Tokyo. You can opt to use the subway only, ride on a JR train, or use both.



Other Means of Transport

While the train and subway systems are a great way to get around the Japanese capital, there are other means of transportation you can take to efficiently explore Tokyo.


By Bike - Cycling is another means of transportation in Tokyo that's flexible and eco-friendly. However, beware of traffic rules and steep hills.


Riding A Taxi - It's practical but be ready to shell out a good amount of money because it's quite expensive. While you won't have a hard time hailing one, be prepared because most drivers don't speak English.


By Bus - This is a good alternative to trains but you have to know which bus to take to reach your destination; otherwise, you'll end up getting lost.


By Foot - It's the best and cheapest way to explore Tokyo. You can opt to join walking tours in Tokyo or take a self-guided walking tour by yourself.


Better to take the former and get the opportunity to know more about Japan's history, food, religion, and culture as well as first-hand stories from locals. By joining a free walking tour, you can get expert-tips from locals, meet fellow travelers, and uncover the city's best-kept secrets!


Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!


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