Tokyo Rail Map Apps
- By ishikura update
Tokyo has the world’s most extensive urban rail network. Its many trains, subways, buses, trams, and monorails are operated by a number of different companies. If you’re traveling in the Tokyo area, it’s faster and more convenient to use trains instead of buses or cars. Trains in Japan come on time and every few minutes in central Tokyo, making it easy to meet your schedule.
Two train companies are dominant, JR (Japan Rail) East and Tokyo Metro, and the most convenient for traveling around Tokyo. JR East and Tokyo Metro each provide their own train maps. You can download their railway maps from the following links. They also provide their maps at the station, but the provided maps are usually in Japanese. Get one in English ahead of time.
Your trip can be delayed by finding the wrong platform, forgetting to change lines, not knowing which station is yours on the map, or getting the JR and the Metro confused. Navigation apps are useful to help you with this. They can also tell you how long it will take to get to your destination, and how much it will cost. “Navitime for Japan Travel,” is a great mobile app that helps you navigate by train.
Navitime for Japan Travel can be downloaded from here:
Let’s use Navitime. First, pick the departure point and the destination on the map. This example shows how to find a route from Narita Airport Terminal 2 3 to Akihabara station. Click Search to show the result.
It will give several candidate routes. The results include the cost of train tickets and taxi fees (approximate), so you can compare and choose the best option based on travel time and fee to the destination. In this example, the app recommends the Keisei Narita Airport Line Skyliner from Narita Airport Terminal 2 3, changing to the JR Yamanote line at Nippori station, then arriving at Akihabara.
“Suica” is a pre-paid e-money card used to pay train fares. You do not need to buy a train ticket. Just touch your Suica card to the ticket gate and the fare is automatically deducted from your Suica account. The Suica card is popular not only for buying a train ticket, but also for making purchases on board trains and at convenience stores, vending machines, and coin lockers near the stations, and everywhere in Tokyo is near a station. You can even pay for a taxi. Don’t forget to put enough money on your Suica card. Please also read about How to buy Suica.