Tokyo, Japan’s capital, has been one of the most of sought after cities by Filipinos for a number of reasons. One-of-a-kind cuisine, scenic locations, and a rich culture. But with so many things to do and places to explore, there’s always the reliable and efficient subway system to get travelers around the city and in nearby places as well.
According to Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd. (Tokyo Metro), operator of Tokyo’s subway lines, about 347,800 Filipino tourists visited Japan in 2016; indicating an increase of 29.6% compared to the previous year.
Seeing Philippines as an active market, officials of Tokyo Metro, as represented by Atsushi Kamimura, manager for demand generation and Eiji Souri, manager for public relations recently visited the country and participated at the Travel and Tour Expo to let would-be Filipino tourists know more about the services offered by their subway system.
“Lately, we have many Filipino tourists to Japan. We want to have more Filipino repeat tourists to visit Tokyo to enjoy famous tourist spots using Tokyo Metro,” Souri said in a press conference held at City of Dreams in Pasay City last month.
“Tokyo Metro has many lines for easy access inside Tokyo,” Souri also said.
Tokyo Metro operates nine subway lines and 179 stations. With a network that has a total of 195.1 kilometers, about 7, 070,000 people everyday.
“Of seven of these lines, joint extension operations are implemented with other companies. With the joint extension operation, destinations are included. This network has a total of 532.6 km. The joint extension lines lead to famous site seeing spots such as Nikko, Hakone, and Yokohama,” Souri noted.
Meanwhile, here are some reasons why Tokyo Metro is one of the best modes of transportation you can choose to go around Tokyo:
1. It is reasonably priced for tourists.
Tourists can avail themselves of the Tokyo Subway Ticket, which allows passengers of unlimited travel on the lines of Tokyo Metro and Metropolitan Subway. It comes in three types: 24-hour ticket that costs ¥800; 48-hour ticket that costs ¥1,200; and 72-hour ticket that costs ¥1, 500.
Buying an unlimited ticket lets passengers save money instead of buying ticket per station. Moreover, according to Kamimura, the cost of using the subway lines is cheaper than that of a taxi fare.
Not only does it saves you cost, but also time as you don’t have to line up for the ticket vending machine at each station you’re headed to.
These tickets are available for purchase at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, and Tokyo Metro ticket information offices. A non-Japanese passport is needed upon purchasing.
2. It’s always on time.
Tourists can smoothly follow their itineraries without the hassle of worrying about long train intervals as Tokyo Metro’s trains always arrive on time.
“I can emphasize that our time schedule for trains to arrive are very punctual. Most of the train lines are scheduled at an interval of every five minutes, especially the Ginza line, wherein the train comes every two to three minutes,” Kamimura noted.
3. Free Wi-fi!
Whether you’re searching about your next destination or posting travel photos, there is a free Wi-fi connection at every station of Tokyo Metro. As Kamimura noted, they are currently working on installing free Wi-fi connection inside subway trains.
4. It is safe and comfortable.
According to Kamimura, all of their trains use LED lights, and are therefore well-lit. Tokyo Metro regularly introduces new trains, too.
Souji added, “Japan is a safe country and Tokyo Metro as well. You can see passengers sleeping. Tokyo Metro runs smooth, and has air conditioning.”
5. It uses useful English instructions and welcome boards.
Recognizing that language is often a concern of Filipinos traveling to Japan, Kamimura said that they have installed English welcome boards.
These boards show useful information for tourists such as route guides, maps, major tourist spots, and more.
These boards can be found at the following stations: Ueno, Shinjuku, Asakusa, Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Shimbashi, Akihabara, Ginza, Roponggi, Omotesando, Shibuya, Meiji-jingumae (HARAJUKU), Shinjuku-sanchome, and Oshiage (SKYTREE).
Souri added, “You can ride the train without worry as there are English instructions and display inside the train and the platform.”Flyers containing a guide on how to use the subway are also available at each station.
6. It has designated information offices.
To further assist tourists with their needs, Tokyo Metro has designated information offices manned by English-speaking staff at Ueno, Ginza, Shinjuku, Omotesando, and Shibuya stations.
“We spend a lot of time training the staff employees that’s why they can answer your questions properly,” Kamimura noted.
7. It has long operating hours.
Tourists can spend a long day exploring the city without the concern of having to head back early as Tokyo Metro operates the whole day. It opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 12 midnight.
8. It has a convenient mobile app.
For technology-savvy travelers, Tokyo Metro has mobile applications for IPhone and Android users available for free. Called “Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourists,” the mobile app features important information such as main routes and fare costs.