Using the metro in Tokyo 東京メトロの使用方法

Easily take the metro in Tokyo

It is impossible to do without the subway to explore a city as large as Tokyo. If the network map may seem intimidating at first, it is nevertheless easy to navigate and use the metro and train lines of the Japanese capital. Here's a little user guide for the Tokyo metro ...

How to get around by metro in Tokyo

First of all, it is important to learn about the geography of the city, to better understand the simplified metro map. All stations are written in both Japanese and English. Each station is also designated by a round circle in the color of the line, surrounding the initial of the name of the line used as well as the number of the station.

Example: C03 - Meiji-Jingumae, indicates that Meiji-Jingumae station is the "3rd station" of the "Chiyoda sen" subway line.

Practical information: Tokyo metro map, to consult and download.

Finally, if on a map, the distances seem reasonable, this is often misleading given the size of the city... This explains why the metro is so useful!

In Tokyo, it is often advisable to stay near the JR Yamanote line, which is one of the most convenient on the network. Circular, it covers and connects the key areas of the city, such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ueno, Ikebukuro etc. It is also very reasonable and can be used free of charge by holders of an activated JR Pass.

Discover all our practical advice for the JR Pass and the train in Japan

Métro à Tokyo

©IQRemix, flickr

Station de métro à Tokyo

©Caribb, flickr

Station de métro à Tokyo

©Kansai-good, Wikimedia Commons

Suica and Pasmo prepaid cards

If you plan to stay in Tokyo for a while (more than a few days), we recommend you to get a rechargeable PASMO or SUICA prepaid card. Available on our website, these small chip cards will save you time and make your travel easier.

To use them, you just have to load money on them, via an automatic terminal (the same as for buying tickets). Place your card in the designated area on the terminal, then choose "Charge IC card", then select the amount you want to put on the card. 

Good to know: you can only reload with cash!

Now you just have to pass your card over the gates to use the subway. The amount (in yen) spent for the trip, as well as the amount remaining on the card, is indicated each time at the gates.

If at the end of a trip, the gate turns red and refuses to open, don't panic! It means that there is not enough money left on your card. The Japanese have thought of everything and have set up a "Fare Adjustment" terminal to facilitate the operation.

In case of difficulty, you can simply go to an automatic terminal. In both cases, you will be able to add the complement on your card and leave the metro.

Read also: The Tokyo metro more accessible to tourists

Carte Pasmo

©STML, flickr

Carte Suica

©Rachel Lovinger, flickr

Borne de validation Suica

©ykanazawa1999, flickr

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Rules to follow in the Tokyo metro

Very safe, always on time and very clean, the Tokyo subway works extremely well! 

Wifi is often offered and toilets, always very clean, are available. As often in Japan, the knowledge of how to live together and the respect of others is very important!

There are some rules of good behavior to know and respect in the subway:

  • You have to walk to the left in the corridors, stairs, and escalators.
  • It is important to abide by the platform rules while waiting for the metro, respect the markings on the ground, and let the passengers exit the arriving train first.
  • The train must remain a quiet and clean place: not to speak loudly, no phone calls, and no eating or drinking in the cars.
  • Backpacks, if they are too large, should be placed on the racks high above the seating positions.
  • Be careful to respect the reserved seats (disabled, seniors, pregnant women, etc.) indicated at the end of the cars.
man sitting in the subway

©Victoriano Izquierdo, unsplash

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