Navigating around Tokyo subways and trains

For the standard tourist, the Tokyo subway can be a nightmare. Just take a look at the above subway map! The stations themselves can be as equally confusing. Ever hear about that man that took 40-minutes to find the correct exit at Shinjuku station? Well not to fear, I can help you out.

First off, you should download the “Japan Travel – Route, Map, JR” app by Navitime Japan. This is really the only step you need. This app allows you to enter all the stations in English, or Japanese, and arranges your journey in a mannerly fashion. You can also select journeys that are quickest, cheapest, or have the least amount of changes.

I use this app almost everyday and have never had any problems, except the one time I didn’t update it after living in Tokyo for half a year. The key to this app and navigating your way around the station are the train line colours. The app uses the same colour code as the train and all the signs you see, so all you have to do is follow those signs with the train line’s name and colour. It’s surprisingly straightforward.

If you don’t have any Wi-Fi, maybe try stopping at a convenience store. Most have a free Wi-Fi, as do major stations. If that falls through then don’t forget the JR Yamanote line is a city circle train. Hop on this and it should be able to take you close to your destination. It runs frequently too, once every three minutes or so.

So with one little app you should become a pro at finding your way around the subway. If you disagree or have any problems, leave a comment!

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