Access

Tokyo can be accessed from Narita by a variety of train lines and highway buses/limousines. The two most used trains are the N’EX (Narita Express) and the K’SEI (Keisei) Skyliner. The N’EX can be used for free with a JR Pass, just ask for a reserved seat at the ticketing counter or the “Green Window” (Midori no Madoguchi). Both lines can be found in the basement level of Both Narita Terminal 1 and 2/3.

From Haneda airport, Tokyo can be accessed via…

Luggage

Luggage can be temporarily stored at stations in coin lockers. These lockers vary in type from coin operated to those that can be used with a Suica IC card. Average cost is from 200 to 500 JPY for 1 day. You must empty the locker before 11PM otherwise the contents will be confiscated. Most accommodation (apart from AirBNB) have a luggage forwarding service so use that to your advantage in long distance situations.

IC Cards

pasmoNearly all of Japan now uses IC cards to conduct transportation payments using a tap-and-go NFC system. You can also use these cards to make purchases at select vendors and vending machines.
There are a LOT of different cards, each which come from a particular region in Japan. The only IC Card that works in nearly all places is the Suica. Purchase the Suica from the train station’s ticketing machine at JR stations. The Suica is charged with the same machines, and your balance will be shown every time you pass an electronic ticketing gate.

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The alternative is the PASMO, which also works in most regions of Japan, and is purchased using the ticketing machines at Tokyo Metro stations.

There are other cards that are used less commonly throughout all the regions of Japan. For example, the manaca from Seven Eleven and the PiTaPa from Kansai.

You do not have to purchase two different cards to travel between JR and Metro lines. Each IC card works on multiple modes of transport. It is basically like a prepaid NFC credit card.

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SIM Cards

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Until just recently, visitors would have great difficulty in obtaining a prepaid SIM card for mobile/voice because of the telephony monopoly held by DoCoMo, KDDI, and Softbank. But the rules have relaxed somewhat and mobile sims are now available to visitors at both the Airports and also major electronics outlets.

The recommended SIM card would be the U-MOBILE prepaids which can be obtained at both Narita and Haneda Airports, as well as nearly all major outlets such as Yodobashi or Bic Camera. The SIM pack that can be obtained at the airport is slightly better as it comes with a complementary blotting paper which is excellent for a Japanese summer. It also mentions a limit of 200Mb/day, but the throttled speed is still comparable to ADSL1 and you can comfortably still use most data apps without hindrance. This is in contrast to b-mobile’s throttle speed to almost 56k which makes it unusable if you go over the hard 2Gb limit. [Note: The vending machines for U-MOBILE require you to put in exact cash. Make sure to have these denominations before purchasing]

 

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