VIDEO: How to Use the Metro in Tokyo

Using the Metro in Tokyo, Japan, can be a bit daunting. I’ve ridden subways in cities all over the world, from Shanghai to Paris to New York City, but none is more complex than the system in Tokyo. Even the official map of the system looks like so much spaghetti.

An underground station of the Metro in Tokyo
An underground station of the Metro in Tokyo

The single most confusing issue is that not all lines are operated by the same company. Some are owned by private railway companies, while others are operated by the city. Tickets are not interchangeable between the city lines and private companies, so you need to plan ahead. Decide ahead of time which lines you plan to use, in order to purchase the correct ticket.



Once you get the hang of figuring out routes that stick to one operator, the rest is fairly simple. However there is a bit of a learning curve, so I decided to make a step-by-step video of how to use the Metro in Tokyo. Best of all, once you’ve mastered the Tokyo system, Kyoto and Hiroshima will be child’s play.

Though my video is fairly comprehensive, it does not cover things like buying public transportation passes, using the smartphone app, or special support for foreign visitors. For this and more, visit the Tokyo Metro website.

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