How to use the transportation system in Tokyo?

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Tokyo is one of the world’s largest cities with almost 14 million inhabitants of the inner core, if you take outer Tokyo this increases to 38 million! Yet they have one of the world’s best transport systems. Which I have been so lucky to have tested, when I went down to run a marathon in Osaka. I’ll keep it simple for you and share with you my experiences.

I explain the transportation in Tokyo:

1. The best way to travel around Tokyo is by train and subway.

In Japan they have slightly different public transport than we have here in Norway, where in Norway we have delays and settings, you can in Japan set your watch after the train.

2. Save time and money, use a travel card.

Don’t spend time buying a single ticket every time you travel, rather get a Suica or Pasmo card that you fill with travel money!

3. Suica or Pasmo?

There is very little that separates the two, as they can be used interchangeably. Pasmo belongs to Tokyo Metro and can be obtained at the metro stations, Suica belongs to JR east and must be picked up at JR station. Both require a 500 yen deposit which you will receive when you return the card.

4. The third alternative is ‘Welcome Suica’, which was released in September 2019, especially for tourists.

It seems like a regular Suica card, but you don’t have to pay a deposit and the card is only valid for 28 days.

5. It’s more than just travel cards.

Suica / Pasmo can also be used for trading in several different places including  7-eleven, just tap the card where available! Isn’t that wonderful?

6. Can also be used outside Tokyo.

When it was believed that the glory of a travel card couldn’t be better, it turns out that not only is it used in the capital, it can also be used in many places in Japan, including Osaka (Where I went to run a marathon) and Kyoto! Just look for the Suica / Pasmo symbol where it is supported.

This is in stark contrast to what we had in Oslo. Everyone remembers Flexus’s failure ticket system, which cost taxpayers NOK 600 million, but which never came to fruition.

But howdoes a Suica card look like? No worries! I took a picture of it, at least the tourist version:

Welcome Suica


Image courtesy of Vidar Pratumchai Børresen
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