In recent years, Japan has become very accessible.
It is a 12-hour direct flight to Tokyo, from Brussels or Paris on some of our partner airlines, or you may have a short lay-over of under 5 hours from other cities. The airports of Haneda and Narita are less than an hour away from the center of Tokyo.
The Japanese capital is a gigantic city. The simplest way to reach the various Olympic venues or the main districts of the city is the public transport network.
It's all very logical !
Very reliable, efficient, always fluid, perfectly clean and safe, the subway will be the ideal mode of transport during your stay in Tokyo. Despite its apparent complexity, everything has been designed to make your travel easier. The lines each have a color, associated with a letter (the initial of the line) and a number according to the station: purple Z 01 will therefore be Shibuya on the line Z Hanzomon Line...
IN YOUR POCKET : THE SUICA CARD
The most convenient solution when travelling will be your SUICA prepaid card. This electronic card is essential and makes public transport (metro, bus and local trains) very easy to use. Thanks to this virtual wallet, debited at each pass, you will travel faster in Tokyo but also in all the cities of the archipelago. Since it is prepaid, it is ready for use. It can only be recharged with coins or banknotes but not by credit card. You will need to give a deposit of 500 Yen to receive your Suica card, which will be refunded when you return the card.
To make the traveller's life even easier, the Suica card allows you to make small purchases on board the trains, in vending machines, mini-markets and restaurants displaying its symbol. It can also be used to pay for taxis, to use automatic lockers in stations and it’s valid for 10 years!
How does it works ?
In Tokyo, buses may not be the easiest mode of transport, compared to the subway network, but they will allow you to travel around the city and discover it like a real Tokyoite. Be aware that on the bus, you pay as you EXIT and get off at the front!
Available or busy ?
Taxis are absolutely everywhere in Tokyo! It is a means of transport that can be a little on the expensive side, but they remain very practical over short distances or in the evening. The service is impeccable, and the doors open and close automatically, so you don't need to slam them shut when you get out of the vehicle! You should know that the taxi is kusha (available) when its red light is on and turns to green or chinsô (busy) when it is carrying passengers. Most now accept credit card payments and to make sure you arrive safely, it is probably best to have your destination address written in Japanese. Your hotel's calling card will make your return easier!
The Japan Rail Pass : your key to Japan !
If you have to take the train to explore other must-see sites in Japan, your JR Pass will be your best ally! There are several railway lines in Japan and the best known, Japan Railways, covers the entire territory from the largest cities to the most remote stations. This company owns the famous Shinkansen (high-speed train). Comfort, safety, punctuality, the highly developed network and the frequency of its trains make it the best way to discover the country and travel from city to city. For example, a train links Tokyo to Kyoto every 30 minutes in 2h30, so you have plenty of trains to choose from!
Trains are hardly ever late: The average delay is 18 seconds and Japanese companies apologize even when the delay exceeds one minute!
IN YOUR POCKET : THE JR PASS
Your key to the network is the unlimited JR Pass! Once you have it, you will no longer have to pay for a ticket on the JR lines. The JR Pass is a transport package for Japan Railways in Japan. It gives you unlimited access to the Shinkansen, connecting the main cities of the country for a period of 7, 14 or 21 days. It also gives you access to many local lines, buses and boats (ferries only for Hiroshima) of the JR network.
What you need to know about the JR Pass:
You will receive a voucher that you will exchange on site (in a JR office at the airport or at the main stations) for a JR Pass. After the exchange, you will activate it by setting the valid-from date indicated in your itinerary. You will no longer have to buy train tickets after that. Often, trains have coaches dedicated to reserved seats ("shitei-seki"), while others have free seats ("jiyu-seki"). This is the case with the Shinkansen. If you wish to reserve a seat, you can go to the station reservation counters, called "Midori no Madoguchi". Online booking sites are usually in Japanese, so things can be more complicated this way! When you have a JR Pass, you do not need to go through the gates in the stations, but to the side, showing your JR Pass to the controller as you walk by.