Tokyo’s a city with incredible complexity and endless discoveries. This city is an experience. This post is meant to help people get to the places they want to go in order to have those experiences.
Google Maps is very accurate in Tokyo for car routes, subways, trains, and buses. The subways and trains usually on-time. Google Maps also tells you how much it will cost. I highly recommend it as your navigator around the city. Below is the map you can load on your phone:
This post is a step by step guide to using this free map of Tokyo’s accessible stations. It includes 225 Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway, and JR Yamanote stations. These are the three main companies that will get you where you want to go in metropolitan Tokyo.
This guide includes:
- General notes on stations
- What the map includes
- Reading the information
- Cool tools
- Loading the map onto your phone
1. General Notes
The good news is, most stations in Japan do have lifts at some part of the station. the larger ones often have washrooms as well.
Protip from Onehotprocessor via Reddit: The yellow guiding lines throughout stations often guide you to the lifts too!
The station attendants can help you get around, and help you get on the train. Do reach out to them. People in Japan are often polite and helpful, but few speak English. If you have a smartphone, it’s best to bring a translation app such as Jsho for Android or Yomiwa for the iPhone.
Useful phrases include:
Excuse me. Where is the lift?
sumimasen, rifuto wa doko desu ka?
Excuse me. Can you help me?
Excuse me. Can you help me get onto (enter) the train?
sumimasen, densha ni haitte-tetsudatte-kuremasuka?
ありがとうございます / ありがとう
arigatogozaimasu / arigato
Metro and train stations have staff assistance for ramps and guidance to trains. Many platforms have wide gaps, and it’s much safer to have a ramp. You can ask an attendant at the station, but there are also phone lines for the JR Yamanote Line and Tokyu train company. Below are the numbers for English service:
- JR Train Phone (English) can arrange help at the station in advance
Tel: 03 3423 0111 (Open weekdays 10:00-18:00)
- Tokyu Corporation Train Phone (English) arrange help at stations in advance
Tel: 03 3477 0109 (Open weekdays 09:30-17:30)
2. What this map includes
The above photo is what you see when you load the map. Let’s start with what you’re looking at. Below is a brief explanation of the icons:
- Blue Icons: Wheelchair Accessible (lifts in both directions)
- Note: Includes stations that may not be interchange-friendly, but have exits
- Yellow Icons:Semi-Accessible (lifts in 1 direction, many escalators, etc.)
- Red: Not accessible stations (i.e. no lifts)
- Green Stars: Sightseeing spots & popular destinations
- All Tokyo Metro Stations
- All Toei Subway Stations
- JR Yamanote Line (goes in a circle around Tokyo)
3. Reading the information
If you click on one of the stations, you will instantly see information in a text box. As many stations in Tokyo have more than one line, it’s important that you ensure there is an accessible lift for the line you are riding.
If you are transiting stations, ensure that you can transfer between the lines you need. There is a list of subway stations and their maps here.
Below is an explanation of the information in the text box:
Station Name: (Subway Letter) (Subway Letter*) (Subway Letter**)
(C) – This line has accessible exits.
(M*) – This line has an accessible exit for one direction only, or is complicated.
(H**) – This line does not have accessible exits.
Line Name (Station Code) – Accessible Exit
Additional Comments (i.e. transfer to other lines, etc.)
For Interchange Stations: Link to Station map
An example is:
Otemachi: (M*) (T) (C) (Z) (I*)
Marunouchi (M18) – Multiple Escalators
Tozai (T09) – Exit B2
Chiyoda (C11) – Exit C2, E1
Hanzomon (Z08) – Exit C2, E1
Mita (I09) – Lift is quite far
4. Cool Tools
This map also has a few built in search features. You can search the following:
- Your station by typing in the station name
- Stations on an entire train line by typing in the train name. You will see all the stations along the line circled in white.
5. Saving on Mobile
Now, from your computer, you need to copy the map to your own account. If you do reuse it, please kindly credit me as the author.
Next, follow the steps below.
That’s it! I hope this helps you on your journey through Tokyo’s subway system.
General Subway and Train Tips:
- Get a Pasmo or Suica Card. These are electronic cards that you can load with money and swipe at the gates. It saves a lot of hassle buying tickets, especially at busy stations or transfer points.
- Tokyo has several train and metro companies, but trust Google Maps to tell you whether you need to transfer or just stay on the train.
- Ask for help if you need it. People are very nice.
Riding the train is part of the Tokyo experience, and I wish you a memorable and adventerous one!
You can also check my post on Accessible Tokyo for wheelchair accessible taxis, accommodation, and other tips.
If you liked this post, please kindly share and help others have a great trip!