Category: Japan Travel


Traveling Through Tokyo and the Importance of Timing

When you first arrive in Tokyo, you might be tempted to hire a taxi from the airport to your hotel. If you do, be prepared to fork over a lot of yen. The better option by far is to take the train. Just follow all of the Japanese passengers–they’ll be heading the same way.

Tokyo is a lot like New York City. You’ll rely on the train to take you most places and only use taxis when absolutely necessary.

The Lines

There are five main JR lines within Tokyo that you should know.

Yamanote Line

This train line runs in a circle and connects all of the major city centers.

Keihin-Tohoku Line

This train line runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the eastern half.

Chuo/Sobu Line

This train line runs across the Yamanote Line and provides slower, more local service.

Chuo Line (Rapid)

This train line connects Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station and provides fast, constant service.

Saikyo Line

This train line runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the western half.

Tokyo is 845 square miles in size, which makes it impossible to walk across. You need to know your way around, but you also need to know what times you can rely on the trains. The trains stop around 1 AM, so your last ride should start at 12:30. If you miss the train, you face an expensive taxi ride back from wherever you are.

For example, a taxi from the Roppongi district to the Ueno district runs about $60 USD. Comparatively speaking, you can purchase an unlimited use ticket for the subway lines in Tokyo for 1,590 yen, or around $15 USD.

Prepaid IC Cards

Another option is to purchase a prepaid card; the prepaid IC card. These are one of the most recommended ways to get around Tokyo due to their convenience. The price is around the same as that of a single-use pass, but a prepaid card lets you use any bus or train just by swiping it over a card reader.

Other Options

A final option is to consider renting or purchasing a bicycle during your stay. Travel by bicycle is common in Japan, and it is a great way to navigate the winding streets of Tokyo. It also provides an excellent way to see the city up close and personal that public transportation just doesn’t have.

Whether you visit Tokyo for business or for pleasure, make sure you know how to get around the city without paying a huge fare–or worse, finding yourself stranded.

Phrases to Know

One of the most difficult aspects of navigating Tokyo is the vocabulary. If you do not know what phrases to look for and listen for, it can be hard to find your way around. Here are a few of the most common words you are likely to encounter.

Basu

This word is simple. It means “bus” and is pronounced how it is read.

Kuruma

“Kuruma” is the Japanese word for “car.”

Jitensha

This word means “bicycle.”

Densha

This word is one you will encounter often. It means “train.”

Takushi

This word means “taxi.”

Take the time to learn a few basic Japanese phrases and you will find it much easier to make your way around the city. Learn to ask for directions (and learn a few key phrases to listen for) and you will enjoy your trip to Japan much more than if you spend most of your time lost.

Images via Wikimedia, Pixabay

Moving to Japan: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in moving to Japan. And if you’re interested in moving to and living in Japan, then you’ve come to the right place! Japan is a spectacular and beautiful country with a fascinating culture and history, modern cities, gorgeous countryside, and very friendly people. Oftentimes, picking up and moving can seem like the hardest thing in the world, so we’re here to help you figure out everything you need to know about moving to Japan!

reasons to move to japan

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The Best Cherry Blossom Festivals Around the World

While cherry blossoms (さくら, sakura) are recognized around the world as a symbol of Japan, Japan isn’t the only country that celebrates their ephemeral blooming. With cherry blossom festival season in full swing, the beautiful blooms will last only for only a few weeks before falling to the ground and remaining bare for another year. In Japan, cherry tree viewing is known as 花見 (hanami), which literally translates to (more…)

Why Should You Learn Japanese to Live or Travel in Japan?

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Why should I learn Japanese? I asked myself as I tried to decide what foreign language to study for my undergraduate degree requirements. I had learned a lot about Japan from a good friend and everything I had heard intrigued me, but I was still hesitant. What would I use Japanese for? Doesn’t it take a lot of time to learn? What about those 2,000+ kanji? Maybe Spanish would be easier…

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21 Essential Japanese Travel Phrases

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Are you planning a trip to Japan soon?

Worried you won’t have time to learn Japanese before you go?

While learning Japanese might seem daunting, rest assured that you can get by on your trip with the Japanese travel phrases below, along with hand motions and a lot of bowing. You might run into people who speak English, especially in cities like Tokyo, but don’t count on it. Using Japanese, even if it’s only to say “please” or “thank you”, goes a long way–people will appreciate your efforts.

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15 Ways to Travel Japan on the Cheap

travel japan cheap

You may have heard how expensive it is to travel in Japan. Paying for the flight, then accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment, when added up, isn’t cheap.

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