Getting around Tokyo

Public transport

In Tokyo, public transport is fast and effective. People are friendly and willing to help, and many signs are in English. JR (a consortium of six companies) runs most of the overground trains in Tokyo while Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway operate most of the subway (underground) lines. For visitors, getting a Suica or Pasmo IC card is ideal if you plan to use public transport in Tokyo. These cards are prepaid and rechargeable, allowing you to ride and transfer among overground, subway and busses.


It's easy to find a taxi in Tokyo, either on the street or at taxi ranks near main stations, though they aren't cheap. Tipping is not customary and could offend. Taxi drivers rarely speak English, so make sure you have your destination written out in Japanese.

Nihon Kotsu (tel: +81 3 5755 2336) is one of the biggest and most reliable taxi companies in Tokyo, and phone operators speak English.


As public transport is excellent and taxis are reliable, there is little need to drive in Tokyo.

Car hire

You need both a national driving licence and an International Driving Permit to drive in Japan. The minimum age for hiring a car varies, although most places won't rent to under-21s. The biggest car hire company, with more than 100 branches in the Tokyo area, is Nippon Rent-A-Car (

Bicycle hire

You can often hire bicycles at suburban railway stations or make use of Docomo Cycle (, a bike-sharing scheme. Alternatively, check out Tokyo Bike Rentals Yanaka (

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Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.