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I'm traveling to Tokyo this August and I've been wondering what's the cheapest form of public transportation in Tokyo.

Last time I went to Tokyo I made a PASMO card and paid whenever I took a train, but I have a feeling that it's not optimal.

Since this depends on where I want to travel I'll share my schedule as detailed as possible.

I'm going to stay in a guest house in Warabi, and I'm going to go to the suidobashi station every weekday to visit a language school.

    1. Arrival at Narita, getting to Warabi Station
    1. Ginza
    1. Tokyo Big Site, then Akihabara
    1. Shimokitazawa
    1. Minamiaoyama
  • 15-16. Tokyo Big Site
    1. Hachioji, then Ikebukuro
    1. Back to Narita

I'm also planning to go to more or less every major station at least once. Is there such a thing as a one month railpass for Tokyo, and is it worth the price if I take the train an average 5 times a day?

Alternatively, can I rent a bike for a month, and if yes, how viable is it opposed to public transport? I'm worried that August would be too hot to cycle for longer periods.

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Is there such a thing as a one month railpass for Tokyo, and is it worth the price if I take the train an average 5 times a day?

No, as far as I know there are only commuter tickets, which are valid only for a specific route. Note also that there are multiple companies that operate public transportation in Tokyo, and each has their own tickets; there are tickets valid for multiple or all operators, but it's rather intransparent. PASMO or SUICA seem to be the most convenient. If you in fact use the train 5 times a day, then 1-day passes like the Tokyo Combination ticket or the 3-day Tokyo Subway Ticket (for tourists) may be worth it, but pay attention to what operators they are valid for!

http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/1day/index.html

http://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/value/travel/index.html

Alternatively, can I rent a bike for a month, and if yes, how viable is it opposed to public transport?

I think it's an awesome way to get to know the city, and central Tokyo is pretty compact. Look at a map to see where you'll want to go and get a feeling for the distances.

I'm worried that August would be too hot to cycle for longer periods.

That depends on your fitness and tolerance for heat and sweat. But yes, August tends to be hot and humid.

  • My fitness shouldn't be an issue, and I'm tolerant when it comes to heat, so I guess it's not that much a problem. How about driving (or cycling) on the left? Is it hard to get used to or am I fine if I cycle a bit slower? – Chris Jul 23 '15 at 14:45
  • @Chris: I haven't found it hard to get used to. You won't be cycling very fast in any case, as traffic tends to be dense. – Michael Borgwardt Jul 23 '15 at 15:22
  • The trek from Warabi to central Tokyo may be quite long (time wise) for a daily bike ride. By train, it is 40 minutes to suidobashi; and Google says it is just 17 km by car. I don't know how long that would take with the traffic and stop lights. – Kent Jul 24 '15 at 12:16
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A one-month pass from Warabi to Suidobashi is 9050 yen, or 300 yen/day. You can get off anywhere in the middle (Akihabara, Ueno) for free and if you ride farther (Ginza/Shinbashi) the remaining fare is calculated as if you entered at the nearest station (to your destination).

A bonus hint: getting to Big Site by train is expensive. There is some bus service, which is cheaper -- basically from Shinagawa, Hamamatsucho, and Tokyo stations if I remember correctly. It's also possible to walk the Rainbow Bridge, but not bike across.

  • +1. The key word for monthly passes is teikiken (定期券). They're not available everywhere, but most larger stations will have an office where they can issue these. – jpatokal Jul 24 '15 at 12:49
  • I'm going to Big Site to visit the comiket, even the trains are so crowded that I couldn't take a step, isn't it even worse if I take the bus? – Chris Jul 24 '15 at 19:38
  • It really depends on the day, time, and what else is going on. The busses to Odaiba (the island where Big Site is) are less popular than the trains, but much less convenient too. I only recommend the bus if saving money is your main priority. The monorail can get crowded, but it's only 20 minutes or so. On the 15-16, there is probably no uncrowded mode due to the combination of summer vacation, obon, Comiket, and whatever event the Fuji TV network has planned (also on Odaiba). – Kent Jul 24 '15 at 20:14

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