How to travel on your own in Tokyo
It’s easy, instead of joining the tours, explore Tokyo on your own. It’s fun and you get to explore it at your own time. All you need is the JR Map (as above or use the apps). You will be using the Yamanote Line (YL) and the Tokyo Metro (Subway Lines) to all places of interests in Tokyo.
You do not need to purchase the JR rail pass unless you plan to stay for 7 days or more and planning to exploring outside of Tokyo.
However it’s advisable to purchase your transfer to and from the airport to Tokyo city online before you leave your country,as discounts are given only for online purchases. After your purchase online, get the voucher,bring it along and on arrival go to the basement of the arrival hall, for the JR office/counter to exchange for your tickets.
Here are the options for the transfers:-
Narita International Airport
–N’EX 53 mins to Tokyo Station. N’EX goes straight to Tokyo,Shinagawa,Shibuya,Shinjuku,Ikebukuro and Yokohama.
–Keisei Skyliner Express 36 mins to Nippori, 41 mins to Ueno.
–Airport Limousine Bus Which will takes about 60 mins and more to all Main stations,Hotels,Tokyo Disney Resort and other sightseeing areas.
So Before your Departure to Japan, plan on your prefer Airport Transfer, purchase the voucher online and exchange it for the ticket on Arrival.
When you reach Tokyo city, proceed to your hostel or hotel, please do pre-book before your departure as accommodations around Tokyo is always fully booked in advance. Most hotels check in time is strictly 3 to 4pm thus if you had arrived earlier you could request for luggages storage.(its available at all hotels).
Have you plan where to visit ? Choose your interest from below and go to the Station, there’s directions at the Station(which exit to which place of interest) Or you could ask the Station master/information counters which is available in a number of tourist places.
Yamanote Line-(YL) is a circular line which connects Tokyo’s major city centres. It’s convenient way for getting around Tokyo place of interests.Do note that there’s a number of ways(different train lines) to get to your destination.To get to your destination use HyperDia | Timetable and Route Search
Explore Tokyo by Trains
Akihabara–(YL) Electric town, streets filled with gadgets,manga,anime,games arcades,hentai toys,gachapon shops,maid cafes,apple store,Yodobasi camera.
Asakusa–(YL) to Kanda stn.change to Ginza line to Asakusa Station. Sensoji-a Buddhist temple.Nakamise Dori-shopping arcade.Hanayashiki-Japan oldest amusement park (1853).Tokyo Skytree.Asakusa Engei Hall-theatre traditional performers.Ryokan-Japanese Inn.Geisha.Old izakaya and yakitori restaurants
Ginza–Ginza Line. Biggest luxury shopping district for Brands.Nightlife-bars, lounges and nightclubs,Ginza Neon,Upscale hostess clubs,Pedestrians’ Paradise-Chuo dori street, Mikimoto Boutique(pearl), Marronnier Gate( five floor Tokyu Hands department store.) Hakuhinkan Toy Park(four storey toy store), Ito-ya(luxury stationery store), Kabukiza Theater,Ginza Wako-It’s the oldest building in the area. Fine cuisine restaurants.Sony Building,De Beers building, Mitsukoshi, Matsuya Ginza,Maison Hermes.Art Galleries.
Harajuku–(YL) Youth-oriented shopping and fashion area.Takeshita Street,Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine, Togo Shrine.
Ikebukuro–(YL) Rikkyo University,Sunshine city,Sunshine Aquarium,Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space,Paper Museum,Tokyo Metropolitan Theater.
Imperial Palace–(YL-Tokyo stn) Residence of the Emperor of Japan,Kokyo Gaien (Imperial Palace Outer Garden), Kokyo Higashi Gyoen (Imperial Palace East Garden) and Kita-no-maru-koen Park are all open to the public free of charge.Niju-bashi Bridge. Chidori-ga-fuchi(cherry blossom viewing), Kitanomaru Park, The National Theater,Tokyo Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan Kogeikan(Museum), National Showa Memorial Museum (Showakan),Museum of the Imperial Collections
Odaiba–Tokyo stn (YL) to Shimbashi stn (Yurikamome line) ->Odaiba. A man made island in Tokyo Bay.Shopping and amusement area. Aquacity, Fuji TV, the Rainbow bridge, Telecom Center, Tokyo Big Sight, Palette Town, Panasonic Center, Decks Tokyo Beach, DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, Museum of Maritime Science, National Museum of Emerging Science, Oedo Onsen Monogatari (a nice Onsen experience for foreigners).
Roppongi –Tokyo stn (YL) to Ginza stn (Hibiya Line)–>Roppongi.The city’s most popular nightlife district for foreigners.Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi Hills.
Shibuya-(YL) Youth fashion and culture and the famous crossing in front of Shibuya Station (Hachiko Exit). Hachiko Statue(in front of Shibuya Station), Bunkamura,Koen Dori, Center Gai, Spain Slope, Love Hotel Hill (hotels for couple use for 2 to 3 hours),Shopping: Shibuya Hikarie, Tokyu, Shibuya 109, Shibuya Mark City, Tokyu Hands, Seibu, Loft, Marui.
Shingawa–(YL) One of the busiest stations. Direct train connections to both Haneda Airport and Narita Airport. West side of the station, Takanawa Exit has many hotels-Prince hotel chain, Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa aquarium.
Shinjuku-(YL) World’s busiest railway station (over 2 million passengers every day). A large bus terminal, named Busta Shinjuku (long distant travel) above the station.West exit of Station-skyscraper district, Tokyo’s tallest buildings,lots of premier hotels, the twin towers of the Metropolitan Government Office, public are allow to the observation decks for free.
East exit of the station is Kabukicho (red light district) a town that never sleep with row of department stores.,Shinjuku-gyoen National Garden(cherry blossom,chrysanthemums viewing) , Japanese Sword Museum.
Get online tickets for the :Shinjuku Robot Restaurant, and have a fun and enjoyable Robot show.
Shinjuku is also a shopping paradise: Isetan,Takashimaya,Odakyu,Keio,Lumine,Mylord,Yodobashi Camera,Bic Camera,Yamada Denki.
There’s also the Shin-Okubo (YL) a korean town, where you will find everything Korean !
Central Tokyo– (YL) Tokyo Station,classic outlook of beautiful red brick Renaissance-style.Marunouchi-naka-dori Street, Bank of Japan,JCII Camera Museum,Hibiya-koen Park, National Diet Building,Tokyo International Forum.
Tsukiji Fish Market-The closest JR station is Shimbashi(15mins walk) Or Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line (5 mins walk).Join the Tsukiji tour to get the full experience of the market.
Ueno – (YL) West of Ueno Station is the Ueno Park, it’s very pack in Spring for the cherry blossom viewing and parties. You will see the Ueno Zoo at the park entrance,it’s the 1st zoo in Japan.Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo Cultural Hall); the National Museum of Western Art; the National Science Museum; and Tokyo National Museum. The shopping street- The Ameya Yokocho.
Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea- Fantasy theme park by Disneyland. If you love theme parks. You can choose either one or go for both. Disneyland is more for babies to 12 yrs old. Above 12, I would recommend DisneySea as the rides are more adventures.
Kamakura– Use the JR Yokosuka Line to Kamakura.1 day trip south-west of Tokyo.
Historical temples and shrine,Kamakura Daibutsu(The Great Buddha of Kamakura) at Kotoku-in Temple, Hase-dera Temple, Kosokuji Temple, Amanawa Shinmei Shrine, Goryo Jinja Shrine, Jojuin Temple,Engakuji Temple, Shari-den(Shrine of the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha), Tokeiji Temple, Jochiji Temple, Kenchoji Temple, Zen-Arai Benten Shrine, Meigetsu-in Temple, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Hokokuji Temple, Sugimotodera Temple, Zuisenji Temple, Myohon-ji Temple, The Kamakura National Treasure House Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, Yuigahama Beach, Shonan Beach.
You can get a map,at Kamakura tourist information service (just out of the Kamakura station-facing the road/buses) OR
Kamakura City Tourist Association where they provide Free guided tours too.
Yokohama-Use The Toyoko Line from Tokyo.
Yokohama is Japan’s 2nd largest city and has one of the world largest Chinatown.
Explore Yokohama’s new city center Minato Mirai 21,Sankeien garden,Zoorasia,Ramen Museum,Cup Noodles Museum,Yamashita Park(waterfront),The Osanbashi International Passenger Terminal(International Cruise Center),The Hakkeijima Sea Paradise(amusement park and aquarium),The Kirin Brewery Factory.
Well, hope you will have a fun and enjoyable trip to Tokyo. If you have any questions do post in the comments below or share your Tokyo trip with us.
Just a tip, Tokyo supermarkets (usually at basement of the shopping centres) offers food discounts after 9pm. Lots of yummy cakes,desserts and food items. Enjoy it.