Is the (24, 48, 72-hour Unlimited-use) Tokyo Subway Ticket for You?

In another blog post I talked about how to buy and use the JR Pass and how it allows you to travel across Japan unlimited times for a fraction of the cost of a regular shinkansen (bullet train) ride. It’s a little expensive though, and it may not be worth getting the JR Pass if you’re only staying in Tokyo.

Thankfully there’s a good (and way more affordable) alternative to the JR Pass if you’ll just be staying in the city, and yes it’s unlimited too – it’s called the Tokyo Subway Ticket. If you’re planning to roam around Tokyo, this ticket will be your golden key to efficient and convenient transportation.

Tokyo Metro Subway train bound for Shibuya
A Tokyo Metro train bound for Shibuya

What is the Tokyo Subway Ticket?

The Tokyo Subway Ticket is a special pass that grants you unlimited access to both the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines (these two lines are enough to get you to the major attractions in Tokyo) for a fixed duration. This means you can hop on and off as many times as you want without worrying about individual ticket fares or the hassle of buying multiple tickets.

Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway_Tokyo Subway Ticket unlimited

Armed with a 24-hour, 48-hour, or a 72-hour Tokyo Subway Pass, you basically have unlimited access to most if not all of Tokyo’s popular tourist destinations – it’s basically only up to you how you maximise your use of the subway pass.

NOTE: If you plan to visit cities and regions across Japan with a JR Pass (unlimited train travel across the country), you may no longer need this Tokyo Subway Ticket because JR Pass usually is already enough to go around Tokyo (albeit your travel across the city is limited to JR lines, which usually is enough). Check out my guide to the JR Pass for more info. 😉

Where can you go with a Tokyo Subway Ticket?

If you are in Tokyo for a visit and you basically just want to see all the major attractions and popular spots in the city, you can already achieve this just by having the Tokyo Subway Ticket. The unlimited Tokyo Subway Ticket gives you access to the Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines.

Tokyo Metro_Ginza Line_Shimbashi Station
Tokyo Metro’s Shimbashi Station (Ginza Line)

Tokyo Metro Line – includes the following lines:

  • Ginza (G) Line – gives you access to Asakusa Station, Ueno Station, Ginza Station, Shimbashi Station, Kasumigaseki Station, Akasaka-Mitsuke Station, Aoyama-Itchome Station, Omotesando Station, and Shibuya Station.
  • Marunouchi (M) Line – gives you access to Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo Station, Ginza Station, Akasaka-Mitsuke Station, Shinjuku-Sanchome Station, and Nishi-Shinjuku Station.
  • Fukutoshin (F) Line – gives you access to Ikebukuro Station, Higashi-Shinjuku Station, Shinjuku-Sanchome Station, Meiji-Jingumae Station, and Shibuya Station.
  • Hibiya (H) Line – gives you access to Ueno Station, Naka-Okachimachi Station, Akihabara Station, Ningyocho Station, Tsukiji Station, Ginza Station, Toranomon Hills Station, Kamiyacho Station, Roppongi Station, Ebisu Station, and Naka-meguro Station.
  • Chiyoda (C) Line – Omote-sando Station, Meiji-Jingumae Station, and Yoyogi-uehara Station.
  • Yurakucho (Y) Line – Ginza-Itchome Station, Shintomicho Station, Tsukishima Station (popular for its Monja Street), and Toyosu Station.
  • Hanzomon (Z) Line – gives you access to Oshiage “Skytree” Station, Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station, Suitengumae Station, Mitsukoshimae Station, Otemachi Station, and Shibuya Station.
Tokyo Subway_Oedo Line_Ticket Vending Machines
Ticket vending machines at Oedo Line.

Toei Subway Line – includes the following lines:

  • Oedo (E) Line – gives you access to Tochomae Station, Shinjuku-Nishiguchi Station, Higashi-Shinjuku Station, Kasuga Station, Hongo-sanchome Station, Ueno-okachimachi Station, Ryogoku Station, Tsukijishijo Station, Shiodome Station, Hamamatsucho Station, Akabanebashi Station, Roppongi Station, Aoyama-Itchome Station, and Shinjuku Station.
  • Asakusa (A) Line – gives you access to Oshiage “Skytree” Station, Honjo-azumabashi Station, Asakusa Station, Kuramae Station, Asakusa-bashi Station, Higashi-nihombashi Station, Ningyocho Station, Nihombashi Station, Takaracho Station, Higashi-Ginza Station, Shimbashi Station, Daimon Station, Mita Station, and Sengakuji Station.
Tokyo Subway_Toei Asakusa Line signage inside train
The journey guide inside the train along Asakusa line.

I don’t know why the Tokyo Travel Map barely exists online – fortunately I was able to find this Tokyo Travel Map in Ueno Station that basically sums up all the lines and stations mentioned above. 🙂 After roaming around the city using the Tokyo Metro and Toei lines, I found that below Tokyo Travel Map is just a slight concentration of the bigger picture to focus on the tourist spots covered by the Tokyo Subway Ticket – in reality, the coverage is much more extensive than below tourist map. (If you need the complete Tokyo subway map, check out the official Tokyo Subway Map)

Tokyo Travel Map_Subway Map

Benefits of getting a Tokyo Subway Ticket

  1. Flexibility: The Tokyo Subway Ticket allows you to travel unlimitedly within the designated time frame. This means you can hop on and off the subway as many times as you want, making it convenient for exploring multiple areas in a day or revisiting your favorite spots without worrying about additional costs.
  2. Time-saving: Tokyo’s subway system is known for its efficiency and punctuality. By using the Tokyo Subway Ticket, you can bypass long queues at ticket machines and quickly access the subway platforms, saving you valuable time to explore more of the city.
  3. Cost-effective for longer stays: If you’re planning an extended stay in Tokyo, such as a week or more, you might consider the Tokyo Subway Ticket as a cost-effective option. While it offers 24, 48, and 72-hour passes, if you plan to use the subway frequently throughout your trip, you can purchase multiple passes consecutively, ensuring continuous access without breaking the bank.
  4. Accessibility to popular attractions: Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines provide access to many of Tokyo’s renowned attractions, including Shinjuku, Shibuya, Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ginza. By utilizing the Tokyo Subway Ticket, you can easily reach these hotspots and maximize your sightseeing opportunities.
  5. Get discounts with Chika Toku: You can enjoy exclusive discounts and offers at select establishments throughout Tokyo by simply showing your ticket. Chika Toku is a special program that provides discounts and deals to Tokyo Subway Ticket holders at various shops, restaurants, and attractions near subway stations. It’s an excellent way to not only explore the city but also save some extra yen along the way.
    To take advantage of the Chika Toku program, simply present your Tokyo Subway Ticket at participating establishments. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the array of benefits available, such as discounted meals, shopping deals, freebies, or even priority access at certain attractions. Keep an eye out for the Chika Toku stickers or signs displayed by participating businesses. It’s important to note that the specific discounts and participating establishments may vary over time, so it’s a good idea to check the official Tokyo Metro and Chika Toku website or inquire at the ticket counter for the most up-to-date information on the Chika Toku program during your visit.

How much is a Tokyo Subway Ticket?

Check out the pricing table below for easy reference. These prices are incredibly reasonable considering the convenience and freedom they offer while exploring Tokyo.

Ticket TypeAdultChild
24-hour Ticket¥800¥400
48-hour Ticket¥1,200¥600
72-hour Ticket¥1,500¥750
Updated price table as of January 2024

Where to buy Tokyo Subway Ticket

  • Ticket Machines at several subway stations: You can find dedicated ticket machines labeled “Tokyo Subway Ticket” at most Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway stations. These machines allow you to purchase the Tokyo Subway Ticket directly on-site. Look for the machines near the ticket gates or ask the station staff for guidance.
    Aside from getting your Tokyo Subway Ticket, you can also get more information at the Tourist Information Offices located at Ueno, Ginza, Shinjuku, Omote-sando, Tokyo, and Shibuya stations).
Buying unlimited Tokyo Subway Ticket (with prices) from machine at the station.
  • Online Platforms: Numerous online platforms and travel websites offer the Tokyo Subway Ticket for purchase in advance. This option allows you to secure your ticket before your trip and avoid having to queue at the train station. If you need recommendation, you can get your Tokyo Subway ticket online via Klook.
    When I got a ticket from Klook, claiming the actual physical ticket was easy – I just went to the Tokyo Metro Station Office desk and showed them the QR code provided by Klook, and they quickly went ahead and gave me my 72-hour Tokyo Subway Ticket.
Tokyo Metro Station Office
Look for the Tokyo Metro Station Office desk at the train station to present your QR code and claim your Tokyo Subway Ticket.

Other places in Tokyo where you can buy your Tokyo Subway Ticket are: BIC Camera, LAOX, and Yamada-Denki. Check out Tokyo Metro’s website for the complete list of places where you can get your ticket. Note that it’s always a good idea to check the official Tokyo Metro or Toei Subway websites for any updates or changes regarding ticket availability and purchasing methods.

Read more: How to get from the Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo and back via the Narita Express

Is a Tokyo Subway Ticket worth it?

In most cases, absolutely! If you’re planning to explore Tokyo extensively, especially if it’s your first time, the ticket is a fantastic investment. Not only does it offer convenience and savings, but it also provides peace of mind, knowing that transportation logistics are taken care of.

The most significant advantage is the convenience it brings. With unlimited access to the Tokyo and Toei Subway lines, you can seamlessly travel between popular tourist spots and hidden gems without worrying about extra costs. It saves you time and money, allowing you to make the most of your Tokyo adventure.

The only time a Tokyo Subway Ticket is not worth it is if you have a very limited itinerary, meaning you will just use it a few times for the whole validity of your pass. Note that the more you use your Tokyo Subway Ticket the more cost effective it is.

Pasmo Passport Card being topped up
If you only plan to use the Tokyo Subway for a few times, consider just getting an IC Card (Pasmo or Suica card) instead and just pay-per-use as it could be cheaper this way.

Additionally, if you plan to extensively use other modes of transportation like buses or taxis, the ticket’s value may diminish. It’s essential to consider your travel plans and weigh the pros and cons to determine if it suits your needs.

Tokyo Subway Ticket vs JR (Japan Rail) Pass, which to use for travel within Tokyo?

The Tokyo Subway Ticket is not valid in JR Pass (Japan Rail) lines (and vice versa), the latter being very popular among tourists as well, which begs the question: which pass to get for travel within Tokyo?

Tokyo_JR_Shibuya Station crowd
While JR trains serve Shibuya…

I hate to say this, but it really depends on your travel goals. The Tokyo Subway Ticket is a lot less cheaper than the JR Pass, but the Tokyo Subway Ticket only gives you access to the main tourist destinations in Tokyo and should be enough if you only plan to stay within the city and just want to be able to see and experience all the tourist spots Tokyo has to offer. The JR Pass gives you access not only to the tourist areas of Tokyo, but also unlimited access to different regions of Japan including the famed bullet trains or shinkansen but it’s way more expensive so you should only get the JR Pass if your itinerary calls for it and ensures that you get your money’s worth.

Tokyo Metro_Hanzomon Line_Shibuya Station_Hachiko Gate
…you can also take the Tokyo Metro to Shibuya. Pictured here is the Shibuya Station along the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon (H) Line.

Tips when using the Tokyo Subway Ticket

  • Your ticket is activated upon your first use. This means the validity period starts from the moment you enter the ticket gates at a subway station, so plan on when you want to activate your ticket to maximize its value.
  • Take note of the expiry date stated on the back of your ticket to avoid any inconvenience.
  • Always check the Tokyo Subway map and plan your routes in advance to make the most of your ticket. Consider the proximity of the stations to your desired destinations and chart out an itinerary that optimizes your time and exploration.

Do you have any questions, or have any tips to share on getting a Tokyo Subway Ticket? Feel free to comment down below! 🙂

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply