Getting Around Tokyo: Trains And Metro

Tokyo has what is considered to be the most extensive mass transit system in the world, and not only is it extremely clean, efficient and safe, is also one of the most confusing systems in the world given the fact that several different companies and systems actually operate within the city. The first and foremost is the JR (Japan Rail) East network, followed by two different metro networks, not to mention various private lines, and considering different maps show different systems it can be extremely mind-boggling for the first time traveller looking to get from their Tokyo hotel to a restaurant or garden, or from one of the shrines back to which ever all-inclusive Tokyo hotels were best suited to their needs. It is especially confusing during rush hours given the fact that the trains quickly become crowded, making it something of a challenge for individuals who have never used the metro system before.

The main rail line for Tokyo is the JR Yamanote Line, which is a continuous loop around central Tokyo, and everything inside of the loop is considered to be the core of the city. Almost every single JR line as well as most of the private lines start at a station somewhere along the Yamanote Line, so regardless of which Tokyo hotel you are bound for you are going to be connected in some way to the core metro line. JR lines are colour-coded, with the Yamanote being green. The JR Chio is orange and the Sobu is yellow, both of which run side-by-side.

Above and beyond the trains that you can take from Tokyo hotels to destinations throughout the city, there is also the metro network to consider, which is exceptionally useful for getting to and from the core of the city. The Tokyo Metro has nine different lines, but there are also the Toei and TWR metro companies, as well as the private company Rinkai, all of which use the same lines but are privately run. There are also private commuter lines that radiate out from the main loop into the suburbs of Tokyo, and while they are useful for day trips outside the city and are slightly cheaper than the JR lines, it can add more confusion to an already chaotic system. The easiest way to get from one point to another is purchase a JR Pass, which gives free access to all of the Japan Rail trains, and the other companies also offer prepaid cards or smart cards, which basically allow a certain amount of uses depending on how much money you are willing to put on the card. While somewhat confusing at first, the trains and metro literally run all through the city, making transportation a breeze once you learn the system.