A how-to guide for the Tokyo subway pass that saves you money and time. The pass is valid in 24, 48, and 72-hour intervals for the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines, which reach nearly 200 stations. Please think of the Tokyo Subway Pass as the equivalent of an all-access pass for the New York Subway, the Toronto TTC, and the London Tube (in our dreams). This means that the pass works for Tokyo city’s extensive subway lines, but not for inter-city trains such as Amtrak, the GO Trains, or the British national railway companies. Please read below for further details. Updated 10 October 2018.
Tokyo Metro Pass Overview
- Tokyo Metro Pass Overview
- Places to Buy Tokyo Subway Passes
- How to Use the Pass
- Other Tokyo Subway Pass FAQs
Tokyo Metro Pass Overview
What’s so great about it?
- Great value for unlimited rides! An average ride in Tokyo is about ¥200 and can cost up to ¥400 for a single trip if you switch from the Tokyo Metro to the Toei Subway lines.
- Can go into any subway station. The central Tokyo subway has 2 major companies: the Tokyo Metro and the Toei Subway. To transfer between the companies is confusing and costly (my commute costed me ¥450 one-way even though I’m in only travelling in my own district). Reading the map is already confusing enough, don’t waste your time figuring out which line you can use!
- Saves you lots of time. Many popular spots such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Tsukiji Fish Market, and Roppongi are not walkable from each other.
- It’s so great, they don’t let locals (even foreign locals like me) buy it. It costs locals ¥1000 to get a Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway pass for just 24-hours. In contrast, travellers get the same pass for ¥800.
- International travellers in Japan (bring your passport, which will be checked)
- Domestic visitors residing outside of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Yamanashi.
Valid Routes: Unlimited ride pass on all Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway Lines
|Ticket Design||Price||Valid for unlimited rides within|
|24 hours from the time of activation (from 8pm to 8pm the next day)
Use if you take 4+ rides over within 24 hours
|48 hours from the time of activation
Use if you take 6+ rides over 2 days
|72 hours from the time of activation
Use if you take 8+ rides over 3 days
Places to buy Tokyo Subway Day Passes
**Note: The Tokyo Subway Pass is available only from certain vendors. In Tokyo, passes can be purchased from Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, at designated hotels, or the list of vendors below. Tickets can be purchased prior to travel with designated travel agencies. Tokyo Metro has a list of companies that sell this pass outside of Japan.
Below is a list of places where you can buy the Tokyo Day Pass after arriving. *Passports will be checked.*
Haneda Airport (International Terminal Visitor Information Center)*1, Narita Airport*. Only sold to overseas visitors on tourist visas. (Passports will be checked)
Images are courtesy of Tokyo Metro.
1. BIC CAMERA and Sofmap (Electronics department store)
BIC CAMERA Yurakucho Store, BICQLO BIC CAMERA Shinjuku East Store, BIC CAMERA Akasaka-mitsuke Station Store, BIC CAMERA Ikebukuro Main Store, BIC CAMERA Shibuya East Store, BIC CAMERA Shibuya Hachiko Store, BIC CAMERA Shinjuku East Store, BIC CAMERA Shinjuku West Store, Bic Drug SHIDAX Shinjuku Central road shop, The Ikebukuro east exit. Camera building and Sofmap Akihabara Main Store
- *Passports will be checked.
2. Laox (Electronics department store)
Laox Akihabara Main Store, Laox AsoBitCity Store, Laox Shinjuku Main Store, Laox WATCH, Laox Ginza Main Store and Laox EXITMELSA Store
- *Passports will be checked.
3. HIS Tourist Information Center
Only select HIS Tourist information centres sell this ticket so make sure you are going to one of the branches below! (Personally, I would suggest oyu go to a BIC Camera instead since most of their branches sell the pass.)
Shinjuku Head Office, Shinjuku 3-chome, Ginza Head Office, Ginza Core and Harajuku
*Passports will be checked.
How to use the pass:
- If you pre-ordered, exchange your voucher for the ticket at designated shops.
- If purchasing in Tokyo, purchase from the stores above (show your passport).
- Once you get the ticket, insert it into the gate at the subway.
- Check the time stamp at the back of the ticket. It should be 24 / 48 / 72 hours from the time you inserted it.
- Enjoy your rides!
- If you take the subway that turns into a train (i.e. to Kichijoji or Mitaka for the Studio Ghibli Museum), don’t worry. Just show the pass to the station attendant and pay the additional fare for the non-covered portion.
- You can insert your ticket up until the expiry time and exit another station after the expiry time.
Can the Tokyo Subway Pass be used for Narita and Haneda Airports?
One of the most common questions I’ve had since I first made this post was how the Tokyo Subway Pass can be used to and from Tokyo’s two main airports of Haneda near Kawasaki City and Narita, which is in another prefecture altogether. Here’s a summary of the answers I’ve provided:
Generally, the pass cannot be used to get to and from Narita Airport.
You can still buy the pass at Narita Airport because you do not need to activate it right away. You can choose to activate the pass whenever you like just by inserting it into the ticket gate.
The reason the Tokyo Subway Pass does not work to go to Narita Airport is because Narita Airport is in Chiba Prefecture, way outside of Tokyo. There are various trains that can conveniently take you to and from Narita Airport into Tokyo (please Google as there are many guides), but all of those trains are not the same company as the Tokyo Metro OR the Toei Subway in Tokyo. For Americans, it is reasonable that the New York Subway pass does not cover Amtrak trains to Boston. For Canadians, the Go Train and TTC are different companies. For the Brits, the London Tube and multiple train companies are different entities.
What the Tokyo Subway Pass can do for people going to Narita Airport is get you to a main station, such as Ueno Station for the Narita Sky Access, or Oshiage (A01) for the Keisei trains. You will need to exit the subway system and buy a separate ticket to the correct train to Narita Airport.
The pass cannot be used to get to Tokyo from Haneda Airport. But the pass can be used part-way to get to Haneda Airport on the Asakusa / Keikyu Haneda Airport Line.
Haneda Airport is much more convenient than Narita Airport because the Keikyu train from Haneda Airport goes directly into Tokyo’s city centre with no transfers required. The Keikyu train is part of the Tokyo Toei Subway’s Asakusa Line (red, with the letter A). Major stations that people usually enter include Oshiage (A20) at the Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa (A18) were Sensoji and the red lanterns are, Nihombashi (A13) which is within walking distance to Tokyo Station, and Higashi Ginza (A11)
If you are going to the city from Haneda Airport, you cannot use the Tokyo Subway Pass to enter the gates at Haneda Airport Station because that station is not a part of the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines. The Haneda Airport Keikyu train becomes part of the Toei Asakusa line at Sengakuji Station (A07). You do not need to exit the train at that station. The train will continue into Tokyo as the Toei Asakusa Line. Personally, I recommend that you just pay for a 1-way direct ticket from Haneda Airport and just activate the pass later.
If you are going to Haneda Airport from Tokyo, you can use the Tokyo Subway Pass to enter the Toei Asakusa Line Stations. The Tokyo Subway Pass will cover your ride until Sengakuji Station where you can stay on the train after. For example, what I used to do is use the Tokyo Subway Pass to enter Toei Nihonbashi Station (A13), where it is valid, and take the train directly to Haneda Airport without transferring. When you exit at Haneda Airport, you will need to pay the additional fair from Sengakuji Station to Haneda Airport because that part of the train is serviced by Keikyu and not Toei Subway. It is not a hassle, as Tokyo has been using the fare adjustment system for decades (I was using it 20 years ago as a kid). Note that if you do enter a station like Nihonbashi, which has the Tokyo Metro’s Ginza Line as well as the Toei Subway’s Asakusa Line, that you get into the right station. As the two companies are officially separate, walking between the two lines also takes some time.
Bonus Trivia Info between Haneda and Narita Airports
This last piece of info is more trivia and doesn’t work well with the Tokyo Subway Pass. There is a Keikyu-Kuko Line that directly connects Narita Airport to Haneda Airport. The travel time is 1.5 hours (assuming you use the Keisei Narita Sky Access, which is an express train). The ride between the two airports is an economical ¥1760 (approx US$20), and I mean it given the distance travelled.
The Tokyo Subway Pass covers the Toei Asakusa Line, which covers 7 stops along this route. This means that in theory, you get those 7 stops free and you would be able to pay the difference. In reality, if you were to break up the fares, it will probably save you ¥300, which honestly is not worth the delays.
Other Tokyo Subway Pass FAQs:
Do I need to use my pass right way?
No, you don’t. You can buy your pass(es) and keep them for later use. They become active the moment you insert them into a valid ticket gate. For example, you can choose not to use them until the end of your trip.
Is this the same as the JR Pass?
No. The JR Passes are provided by the various Japan Rail (JR) companies. This means that you cannot use the JR Yamanote Line for Tokyo, which is run by the JR East company. I personally don’t care about that and never used the JR Yamanote Line when I lived in Tokyo. The JR Yamanote Line is convenient for many major sightseeing places, but almost every JR Yamanote stop you would want to get off at has a Tokyo Metro or Toei Subway Station.
Can I use this in conjunction with the JR Pass?
Since the JR Pass and your Tokyo Subway Pass are separate passes, you can use them both at the same time, but I think it’s a bit of a waste. It means that you’re using up a day for both, but not maximizing either. Generally, I would recommend you start using one after the other is done.
How is this different from the SUICA and PASMO cards I hear about?
SUICA and PASMO are cash cards. You charge them with money, swipe them at a ticket gate and your fare is automatically deducted. This system is convenient for commuters who don’t have to purchase tickets for every trip, but has no discounts. Going around Tokyo in a day could easily cost you more than ¥1500 if you hop on and off frequently. The Tokyo Subway Pass is also an easy insert into the ticket gate to get in and out.
Can I take all the trains in Tokyo with this?
The short answer is no, but you can take most of them to about 200 stations throughout Tokyo. The Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway make up most of Tokyo’s transit system, so the lines will reach all the popular travel spots. (Note: Tokyo Disney Sea is officially located in Chiba and the Studio Ghibli Museum is officially located in Musashino City. Both are very accessible from Tokyo and your subway pass will cover you until the end of the Tokyo Metro / Toei Subway lines).
Why do you say Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway? Are they different?
Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway are the two largest subway companies in Tokyo. Combined, they have close to 200 stations throughout the city and have access to virtually all of Tokyo’s main attractions.
Why don’t you say 1-day instead of 24-hours for the pass?
Your pass is valid for 24-hours from the time of activation. If you activate at 12:00 noon, you can use the pass until 12:00 noon the next day.
How is this different from the Tokyo Metro 24-hour pass?
The Tokyo Metro Day Pass (¥600) is not valid on Toei Subway Lines. The Tokyo Metro 24-hour pass can be bought at automated ticketing machines at Tokyo Metro Stations and they are valid for only Tokyo Metro lines. This means, for example, that you cannot take the Toei Subway Mita, Shinjuku, Oedo, Asakusa lines. The pass is available to locals and also of great value if you plan to take 3 or more rides within a 24-hour period.
How is this different from the Common One-day Ticket for Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway?
It’s the same, except that the Common One-day Ticket for Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway costs ¥1000 for one day only.
Can I buy multiple passes?
Yes. For example, if you are staying in Tokyo for a week, then buy two 72-hour ones and a 24-hour one if you want.
Can I break up the days I use my pass for?
No. The 24, 48, 72-hours are continuous and are counted the moment you first insert your pass. You can see the expiry date and time at the back of the pass. It will be printed. This means that if you are in Tokyo at the beginning and end of your trip, and you want to have two days with a pass, I suggest you buy 2 x 24-hour passes.
If this post helped you, please share with your friends as well! Thanks!
Looking for inspiration on what to eat in Tokyo? Check out my local 20 daily food tips (with a restaurant map).