Getting Around

Public Transportation

Public transportation in Tokyo is dominated by an extensive network of clean and efficient trains, subways and buses run by a variety of operators. The train lines operated by JR East and the subway lines are most convenient for moving around central Tokyo. Taxis are very expensive (minimum charge is generally ¥710). Japan Railways (JR) is the railway network in Japan accounting for approximately 70 percent of the entire network. The rest of the network is run by private companies that mostly operate local lines in urban areas.

Train Maps

Route Finders

Suica/Pasmo Cards

Suica is the rechargeable prepaid card for JR East, and Pasmo is the rechargeable card for Tokyo's railway and subway companies other than JR. Both Suica and Pasmo can be used to pay fares for virtually all buses and trains in the Greater Tokyo region, including JR trains, subways and buses, but excluding the Shinkansen. The initial cost of the card is ¥2,000 (¥500 refundable deposit).

English guides:

How to Ride the Bus

There are few English displays or announcements on city buses, so make sure you have a memo of where you would like to go, and ask the driver to make sure you are getting on the right bus. Most buses in Tokyo have a flat fare system, and you are to enter through the front door, pay a flat fare when entering, and exit through the rear door. If you do not have the exact fare, use the change machine on the bus to get small coins. When your stop is approaching, press one of the buttons on the wall to signal the driver that you wish to get off at the next stop.

Student Commuter Pass

Students can purchase a student commuter pass 通学定期券 (tsugaku teiki-ken) to commute to and from the university by public transportation. This pass will give you unlimited use within a fixed period/route.

How to Obtain a Student Commuter Pass:

  1. On the first day of class you will receive a statement of tuition and fees through TUmail.
  2. Pay your tuition and fees, and then go to the Bursar’s Office (1F Azabu Hall) with your TUJ student ID card and get a semester sticker.
  3. Ensure that your mailing address in Self-Service Banner (SSB) matches your commuting address.
  4. Present your student ID with a valid semester sticker to Facilities & General Affairs (Azabu 1F (or in the TLC (AH209) the first three days of class)) to obtain a Commuter Pass Certificate 通学証明書 (tsugaku shomei sho).
  5. Take the Commuter Pass Certificate to a train/bus ticket office and fill out the ticket request form to purchase your commuter pass.

Bicycles

Bicycles are a popular form of transportation in Japan. Basic everyday bicycles cost around ¥10,000, while used ones are available for less. More advanced models with multiple gears, for example, are more expensive.

Bicycle Crime-prevention Registration

In order to fight bicycle theft, crime-prevention registration 防犯登録 (bouhan touroku) with the police is required by law. You can be arrested and/or fined up to ¥20,000 for riding on a bicycle that is not properly registered in your name.

Registering a New Bicycle

When purchasing a new bicycle, the registration process will likely be handled by the store. Make sure to bring the following items, and keep the receipt of registration given by the shop. You will need it when you change your address, re-sell the bicycle, request disposal, or in the event that you need to report a theft to the police.

  1. ¥500 registration fee (valid for 10 years)
  2. Personal identification
  3. Proof of address

Registering a Used Bicycle

If you receive a used bicycle from a friend or acquaintance you must re-register the bicycle under your name at the local police station (most bicycle shops also handle crime-prevention registration). You will need to bring the following information with you to register a used bicycle.

  1. The bicycle
  2. ¥500 registration fee (valid for 10 years)
  3. Original registration receipt
  4. Note from the original owner saying they have given/sold you the bike
  5. Personal identification
  6. Proof of address

Road Rules

Below are key traffic rules you should be aware of when riding a bicycle in Japan.

  • Bicycles must be ridden on the left side of the road.
  • Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks if the sidewalk is designed to allow bicycle use, or if the rider is under the age of 13, aged 70 and older, or physically handicapped.
  • When riding on the sidewalk, bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and go slow on the side closest to the road.
  • The following actions are prohibited: riding under the influence of alcohol, riding with more people than the bicycle is designed to carry, riding alongside another bicycle, riding while holding an open umbrella, and talking on a mobile phone while riding.

Parking

Bicycles/motorcycles should not be left on streets or sidewalks unattended because they impede the safe passage of pedestrians and could hamper emergency response efforts in times of disaster. Bicycles parked in designated “No-Parking Zones” will be removed and kept at the bicycle pound for up to one month. A fee will be charged to retrieve your bicycle (¥2,000 or ¥3,000 depending on the city/ward). Make sure you find a dedicated parking area located near most railway stations and shopping centers (usually a small fee is required).