- Japan’s train system is the most impressive in the world, and train’s are almost always exactly on time. The train system is quite foreigner-friendly with English signs and station staff that have at least a basic understanding of English. There are a variety of trains and subways available in Tokyo beyond the local system, including the famed Shinkansen, monorails for travel to Haneda Airport, and the Narita Express for direct transport to Narita’s Airport terminals, among many others. Tokyo’s main train station hubs include Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Shinagawa, Shinjuku (the city’s largest station), Tokyo, and Ueno, where trains from all over the country connect travelers to local Tokyo destinations.The bus system varies throughout Japan but in Tokyo (and some other major cities), all passengers pay a flat 200 yen (approximately US$2.00) for a destination anywhere along the bus route. Buses can take longer than most other forms of transportation due to the many stops they make, but they are a great (and inexpensive) way to familiarize yourself with the city. Buses are likely to be the least foreigner-friendly means of transportation, but by and large bus drivers will go out of their way to help you find your way and to point out your destination once you’ve arrived.
Taxis are naturally of great use in Tokyo, and this is simply represented by the fact that the city has more than 60,000 cabs on the road. Most taxi drivers understand limited English, and the vast majority of cabs now have GPS systems that can get you to your destination by providing the driver with your intended address, and, in some cases, your destination’s telephone number. The vehicles are very clean and efficient, and while expensive, taxis tend to be one of the most convenient public transport options available.
All of Japan’s public transport options are very clean (in some cases almost sterile), and are largely free of both accidents and crime. Taxis have started to add closed circuit cameras to the interior of their vehicles to help discourage would-be attackers after a spate of hold-ups in recent years.