How To Use the Tokyo Metro

The Tokyo Metro might at first seem overwhelming just like much of Tokyo, the largest city in the world. The Tokyo Metro is the easiest and fastest way to explore Tokyo. It connects visitors to famous tourist attractions including Tokyo Tower and Tsukiji Market – newly opened as Toyosu Market. Now, at first glance, the metro map may look chaotic and complicated but with a little know-how about how to use the Tokyo Metro, you’ll be zipping from place to place in no time.

Tokyo Metro Lines

Tokyo Metro Lines

There are two subway systems in Tokyo; the Tokyo Metro and the Toei Subway. The most important details to remember when using either network are the station name, number, and line color. Tokyo’s stations are clearly signified by overhead signs which direct commuters to the different lines.

Below are the subway lines with their specific color codes.

Tokyo Metro Tickets

Tokyo ticket machines are easy to use and have translations in many languages including English. Ticket machines are located at every metro station. Rather than buying a ticket to a specific destination, tickets are purchased on the basis of the fare of the journey. Besides the ticket machine will be a fare chart detailing how much it will cost to reach your destination. Once you have found the correct fare, select it on the screen.

If you plan to use public transport in Japan, we strongly recommend purchasing a prepaid IC card to save yourself time, energy, and money. Simply top-up your card at a kiosk, machine, or your phone, and enjoy the flexibility of paper-ticket-free travel. Usable on subways, buses, trains, and even vending machines, your IC card is your ticket to effortless Japan travel.


Like all subway systems, Tokyo metro trains offer limited seating. Trains are busy and most commuters will have to stand. There is priority seating for the elderly, disabled, very young children, and pregnant mothers. These seats are identified by a priority sticker which is also written in English. Expectant mothers can get a special key chain from station staff to signify that they are pregnant. It’s important to offer your seat to any passenger with this chain.

Cultural Customs on Tokyo Metro

Manners are very important in Japan and tourists are expected to respect them whilst on public transport. Mobile phones should be kept in silent mode and should not be used whilst on the train, particularly during peak times. Food and drink should not be consumed on any public transport as it is seen as rude.

Tokyo Metro train

Women Only Cars

During peak times, there are specific cars where women can choose to ride. These cars are for women only and are identified by a sign that is written in both Japanese and English. These cars are active before 9.30 in the morning for daily commuters.

WiFi in the Tokyo metro

If you need to access the internet whilst underground, all Tokyo metro stations have free WiFi. This is particularly useful if you need to find out where to go.

Tokyo Metro Guide

Visitors will find a Tokyo Metro Guide which is available at all metro stations. This guide includes discounts on tickets, a useful subway map, and further information about how to use the Tokyo Metro.

Got a question? Get in touch!
We respond to 90% of inquiries within one business day.
Still deciding? Send a message, we're here to help!
Don't forget to ask us about our secret discounts ;-)