Tokyo station guide. How to change the trains, Shinkansen, Narita Express and other local trains.

Looking to track#9 and 10 (Tokaido Rapid trains) from track#20 for Tohoku Shinkansen at Tokyo Station (C) JP Rail

Tokyo station is the biggest station in Japan. And most of you use this station to get on Shinkansen, Narita Express or Tokyo local trains. But this station is very complicated because it is too big and too many platforms.

In this post, I would like to explain about this station and how to change the train in Tokyo station.

Overview

All lines on conventional lines have a line color, such as orange color for Chuo line. (C) JP Rail

First of all, please see Tokyo station map on JR East website.

Tokyo station structure is divided into three parts, ground floor, underground (Sobu line/Rapid, Narita Express) and another underground (Keiyo line/local train to Maihama, TDL). I think this is the reason why Tokyo station is very complicated. There are 20 tracks at the ground floor. Another 4 tracks each at both underground floor. There are many trains arriving and departing every minutes. Overall the following trains depart and arrive at Tokyo station:

  • Shinkansen (high speed long distance train running on the designated track)
  • Limited Express trains (the fastest train on conventional tracks)
  • Rapid trains (suburban commute train)
  • Urban commute train

I think many of you will change these trains at Tokyo station.

Ticket gate/Exit

There are more than 10 exits (ticket gate). These exits are divided broadly into two sides, Yaesu and Marunouchi. The exits looking toward the east (lower side on the map) are called “Yaesu (八重洲)”. The exits looking toward the west (upper on the map) are called “Marunouchi (丸の内)”. Each sides have North exit, Central exit, South exit and some more exits. When you exit/enter, just make sure Marunouchi (west) or Yaesu (east). You don’e need to be nervous about North, Central and South. You can move easily after you exit.

At Yaesu side, there are many exits.

For all trains — Yaesu South, Yaesu Central, Yaesu North
For Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen (to Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata) — Yaes South, Yaesu North Central, Yaesu North, Nihonbashi
For Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano, Akita, Yamagata Shinkansen (to Sendai, Shin-Aomori, Niigata, Nagano, Akita, Yamagata) — Nihonbashi

Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen is shown by blue and Tohoku and other four Shinkansens are shown by Green.

When you get on Shinkansen, you need to go through Shinkansen ticket gate or transfer gate. If you get on Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo station Yaesu side, you can use Shinkansen ticket gate at Yaesu south exit, Yaesu central north exit or Nihonbashi exit (north side of Yaesu north exit). These three exits are only for Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen passengers. Be careful! You cannot get on Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano, Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen from these exits. These Shinaksens are completely different from Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. Only Nihonbashi exit can be used for all Shinkansen lines. Otherwise enter Tokyo station from South, Central or North and go through Shinkansen transfer gate. But Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen is completely different line from Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano, Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen. Shinkansen transfer gate is different. There are lots of sign. But please make sure before go through. Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen

At Marunouchi side, it is very simple. Six exits, South, Central and North at both ground and underground. There is no Shinkansen ticket gates. So if you get on Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo station Marunouchi side, you can go through any exits and enter Tokyo station anyway. After you enter Tokyo station, you need to go through one more ticket gate, Shinkansen transfer gate.

If you transfer from any conventional line trains, just go through Shinkansen transfer gate. You don’t need to exit the station.

And also there are one more exits at underground, Keiyo underground Yaesu exit near Keiyo line tracks.

Tracks and platforms

There are 20 tracks / 10 platforms on ground floor and 4 tracks / 2 platforms each at both underground.

Ground floor

You can get on Local commute train, Rapid service and limited express trains on conventional lines at track #1-10.

Track#Name of lineDestination
1,2■Chuo lineShinjuku, Hachioji, Takao
3Keihin Tohoku lineAkihabara, Ueno, Omiya
4■Yamanote lineAkihabara, Ueno, Ikebukuro
5■Yamanote lineYurakucho, Shinbashi, Hamamatsucho, Shinagawa, Shibuya
6■Keihin Tohoku lineHamamatsucho, Shinagawa, Yokohama, Ofuna
7,8■Ueno Tokyo lineUeno, Utsunomiya, Takasaki, Omiya, Mito
Limited Express Hitachi, Tokiwa
9,10Tokaido lineShinagawa, Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Izukyu-Shimoda, Shuzenji
Limited Express Sunrise Seto / Surise Izumo, Limited Express Super View Odoriko / Odoriko, Rapid Moonlight Nagara, Other rapid trains
*Some trains depart from track #7, #8.

There are 4 tracks / 2 platforms for Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano, Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen and another 6 tracks / 3 platforms for Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen.

Akita Shinkansen and Tokaido Shinkansen at Tokyo station (C) James Chuang
Track#Name of lineDestination
14-19Tokaido ShinkansenNagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Hiroshima, Hakata
20-23Tohoku, Joetsu, Hokuriku (Nagano), Akita, Yamagata ShinkansenSendai, Shin-Aomori, Akita, Yamagata, Niigata, Nagano

There is a lot of tracks. But it is not complicated to transfer the trains on ground floor. I think 10 minutes is enough to transfer any trains on ground floor.

Underground Sobu (地下総武) – Narita Express, Rapid Airport Narita

Narita Express at Sobu underground platform

There are 4 tracks / 2 platforms that are located at deep underground, basement fifth floor. If you take the trains to/from Narita airport, you will use these underground tracks.

Track#Name of lineDestination
1,2■Yokosuka lineRapid train to Yokohama, Ofuna, Yokosuka, Narita Express from Narita airport to Shinagawa, Yokohama, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Omiya,Limited Express Shiosai/Ayame from Choshi, Kashima-Jingu
3,4■Sobu lineRapid Airport Narita to Chiba, Narita airport, Narita Express from Shinagawa, Yokohama, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Omiya to Narita airport, Limited Express Shiosai/Ayame to Choshi, Kashima-Jingu
At Marunouchi Central Exit. Don’t exit here. Take the way to right and follow the sign Marunouchi Underground Central Exit. (C) JP Rail

These underground platforms can be accessed beside Marunouchi central exit. There are many signs that say “Narita Express” or “Sobu line” or “Yokosuka line”. When you transfer to other trains from Narita Express or Airport Narita, you just take escalator or stairs to go up. But if you transfer to Narita Express or Airport Narita, you should remember to follow the sign that says Marunouchi Central or Marunouchi Underground Central. You may be able to get there faster.

I recommend you to have 15 minutes to transfer between this underground platform and other platforms on ground floor. Especially Shinkansen’s platform is located at other side. However if you transfer from Narita Express or Airport Narita to Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen (to Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Hiroshima or Hakata), you can transfer at Shinagawa. Shinagawa station is a big station too. But it is smaller than Tokyo station and all platforms are located at ground floor. It is much easier and faster to transfer. Please see the map of Shinagawa station at JR East website.

Underground Keiyo (地下京葉) – local train to Maihama, Soga, Matsudo

There are some moving sidewalks and escalators on the way to Keiyo line tracks. Keiyo line platforms are far away from other platforms. (C) JP Rail

There are 4 tracks / 2 platforms that are located at deep underground, basement fourth floor. If you take the trains to/from Maihama (the nearest station of Tokyo Disney Land), you will use these underground tracks.

Track#Name of lineDestination
1,2■Keiyo lineLocal train to Shin-Kiba, Maihama, Soga, Matsudo, Limited Express Wakashio to Katsuura, Awakamogawa, Limited Express Sazanami to Tateyama
1-4■Keiyo lineLocal train to Shin-Kiba, Maihama, Soga, Matsudo
Signs are shown in both Japanese and English. (C) JP Rail

These underground platforms can be accessed beside Yaesu South exit. There are many signs that say “Keiyo line”. But this platform is very far. It is 600 m away from Yaesu South. So I recommend you to have 15 minutes to transfer between this underground platform and other platforms on ground floor. Especially most of local lines, such as Chuo line, Yamanote line and Keihin-Tohoku line, are located at other side. Please remember to go to Yaesu South and find the way to Keiyo line tracks.

If you transfer from Sobu line, such as Narita Express or Rapid Airport Narita, it takes at least 20 minutes. If you can find Underground south exit at Underground Sobu, exit Tokyo station and go through Marunouchi Jiyu Tsuro (丸の内自由通路). This way is a bit faster than going through Tokyo station.

Minimum connecting time

Tokyo station is the biggest station. When you change trains in Tokyo station, you must have some extra time. I will show you the minimum connecting times in Tokyo station. This is set for the first time traveler who has never been to Tokyo station. You may be able to change trains a bit quicker. However if you have this connection time, you can change trains with no stresses:

 Tokaido Shinkansen
Tohoku Shinkansen
Hokkaido Shinkansen
Joetsu Shinkansen
Hokuriku Shinkansen
Akita Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen
10 minutes
Yamanote line
Keihin-Tohoku line
Chuo line
15 minutes
Ueno Tokyo line
Limited Express Odoriko
Limited Express Hitachi/Tokiwa
10 minutes
Narita Express
Sobu rapid train
20 minutes
Keiyo line20 minutes
 Tohoku Shinkansen
Hokkaido Shinkansen
Joetsu Shinkansen
Hokuriku Shinkansen
Akita Shinkansen
Yamagata Shinkansen
Tokaido Shinkansen10 minutes
Yamanote line
Keihin-Tohoku line
Chuo line
15 minutes
Ueno Tokyo line
Limited Express Odoriko
Limited Express Hitachi/Tokiwa
10 minutes
Narita Express
Sobu rapid train
20 minutes
Keiyo line20 minutes
 Narita Express
Sobu rapid train
Yamanote line
Keihin-Tohoku line
Chuo line
15 minutes
Ueno Tokyo line
Limited Express Odoriko
Limited Express Hitachi/Tokiwa
15 minutes
Keiyo line20 minutes
 Yamanote line
Keihin-Tohoku line
Chuo line
Ueno Tokyo line
Limited Express Odoriko
Limited Express Hitachi/Tokiwa
10 minutes
Keiyo line15 minutes
 Ueno Tokyo line
Limited Express Odoriko
Limited Express Hitachi/Tokiwa
Keiyo line15 minutes

Luggage storage facility and coin lockers

Coin lockers are available many many places in Tokyo station at both inside and outside the ticket gates.

Tokyo station has huge numbers of coin lockers. But in daytime, most of lockers are full in even week days. If you go to the station in late evening or early morning, you may find the space easier. And also there are several luggage storage spaces available in Tokyo station. Please see the links below to find the information about the luggage storage services and coin lockers.

Coin Lockers/Baggage Storage at Tokyo Station, Tokyo Station City official site
Sagawa Express Transportation, Tokyo Service Center
*Sagawa Express is one of major cargo transportation companies.

JR Pass and JR East Pass exchange office

There are four places where you can exchange JR pass in Tokyo station:

  • JR EAST Travel Service Center (near Marunouchi north ticket gate)
  • JR-CENTRAL Ticket Office (Yaesu Central)
  • JR-CENTRAL Ticket Office (Yaesu North)
  • JR Tokai Tours Tokyo Office (Yaesu North)

If you use JR East Pass Tohoku, JR East Pass Nagano Niigata, Tokyo Wide Pass, Hokuriku Arch Pass, JR East South Hokkaido Rail Pass, you can exchange/purchase it at JR East Travel Service Center only.

494 thoughts on “Tokyo station guide. How to change the trains, Shinkansen, Narita Express and other local trains.”

  1. Hello Takeshi San,
    It is our first trip to Japan and we are staying near Keisei Narita station
    During the day time, we intend to visit places near Shibuya station and Shinjuku station for shopping and sight seeing
    Can please advice which cheap railway to take and how much does it cost per Adult

    Thank you

    1. Hi Chee Kiong san,

      There is no deals between Keisei Narita and Ueno (or Nippori). All deals are available from Narita airport. You cannot use the deal from Narita station. So you have to pay a regular fare to get Ueno or Nippori by Keisei railway which costs 790 yen for one way to Nippori and 850 yen for one way to Ueno.

      If you visit a few more places other than Shinjuku and Shibuya, you may use Tokyo Tokunai Pass or Tokyo subway ticket:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/tokyo-metropolitan-district-pass-tokyo-tokunai-pass-good-choice-for-sightseeing-in-tokyo.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/compare-many-discount-tickets-and-passes-for-sightseeing-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-right-tickets.html

      You cannot get the worth of either passes by visiting Shinjuku and Shibuya only. If you take JR train from Nippori to Shinjuku, Shinjuku to Shibuya and Shibuya to Nippori, the fare is less than 600 yen. So you have to visit more places to get the worth of it.

      Tokyo subway pass covers more than Tokunai pass. Please find more info in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

    2. Hi Takeshi San, I have confuse about Keisei access express. I check time table and show from narita to ueno is only start from 1600 hour, morning from 0600 to 1500 dont have train from narita to ueno. Am i right ? So if i from narita to ueno, cant take access express ?
      Is keisei lilmited express like normal jr train, stop every station.2

        1. Hi Takeshi San
          I still very confuse above keisei access express and limited express. We arrive at narita early morning and my hotel at ueno. If i take limited express, just ride from narita terminal 2 to ueno. If i take access express to ueno, i need to transfer at otto from access express to what line? From website show keisei access express route are direct from narita teminal 2 to ueno and make me confuse.

  2. Hi how to transfer from track 21 to track 18 at tokyo shinkansen . We from ueno station to shin osaka. Is it same floor in tokyo. Is it easy to transfer. We got 3 25 in lugage

      1. Hi Takeshi San, thanks for your reply.
        I finally decide to take keihin tohoku jr track 6 to track 18 for ozomi shinkansen to shin osaka.
        I checked hypedia, one way ticket from ueno to shinosaka is including keihin tohoku jr to tokyo then transfer to ozomi at track18 at 9am.
        Can I take keihin tohoku jr at 8am to tokyo station. Is it easy to transfer, we bring 2 big lugage. If I miss 9am ozomi, can I take next any shinkanse to shin osaka

        1. Hi Alan san,

          Are you traveling on weekday? If so, Keihin Tohoku line on 8:00 am is super busy. You should avoid to take the train with luggage between 7:30 and 9:00. The train is packed. You should leave Ueno after 9:00 and take later Nozomi.

          If you travel on weekend, you can make it.

          If you reserve a seat and miss the train, you still can later train but you have to find the seat in non reserved car.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi Sam
            Can I buy shinkansen ticket at ueno. Shinkansen ticket for ueno to shin osaka, is it include free jr keihin tohoku from ueno to tokyo. If my shinkansen from toyko to shinosala at 10am, can i take this free jr keihin tohoku at 9am from ueno to tokyo.
            Can i buy shinkansen ticket on that day or i should buy 1 day early?

            1. Hi Alan san,

              You can buy it at Ueno and start using it from Ueno. Actually the Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka allows you to take the local train at any stations in downtown Tokyo. If you take the Shinkansen from Tokyo at 10:00, you can leave Ueno after 9:00. It’s much easier.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi,

    I will come Tokyo station from Kando station and change Joetsu line to Echigo-Yuzawa at Tokyo station. Which platform do I need to go to catch Joetsu Shinkansen?

    Thanks in advance

  4. Hi Takeshi

    We will be coming from Haneda Airport to Kyoto station. I understand that we will take the Shinkansen train via Shingawa and to come back from Kyoto to Tokyo station and to take another train to Disneyland.
    Can I know if it is possible to book for two way tickets for the Shinkansen and what are the possible route from Haneda -Kyoto- Tokyo station – Disneyland.
    Thank you.

    Regards
    Za

  5. I shall be coming in on the Tokyo Monorail and then changing at Hamamatsucho Station for the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station. How do I get from the Yamanote Line at Tokyo Station to the Shinkansen Hokuriku to Kanazawa?

  6. Hi Takeshi San,
    If I exchange JR Pass on 25-Sep and choose 26-Sep as start date can I reserve seats for Narita Express and Tokyo-Kyoto Hikari on 25-Sep itself?
    OR
    Do I have to come back on 26-Sep to reserve seats?

    Regards,
    Kaushik

    1. Hi Kaushik san,

      Once you turn in the actual pass, you can go for the booking right away. Even if you exchange the pass 25 Sep and start using it on 26th or later, you can book it at the time of exchange on 25th.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi San,

    My wife & i are considering booking train tickets for our journey from Kawaguchi to Tokyo in April 2020.

    I wanted to know if it will be possible for me to book the ‘Fuji Excursion 90’ express train service for April 2020 journey from Kawaguchi Train Station direct to Shinjuku (Tokyo)?

    Will direct express train ‘Fuji Excursion 90’ be operational in the month of April 2020?

    In case if it will not be operational, then kindly suggest a non-direct train connection (with maximum one transfer) that i will be able to take from Kawaguchi Station to the main Tokyo Train Station.

    Thank you very much. Have a nice day.

    Regards,
    Hemant San

    1. Hi Hemant san,

      You cannot book the seat at this point. You can start booking one month before the travel day. You can book it online:
      https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

      And also the timetable for next April has not been released yet. We will find the timetable sometimes in late January.

      Please see the link below to find the route for Lake Kawaguchi:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/how-to-build-the-trip-plan-to-fuji-area-various-sample-itineraries-of-fuji-five-lakes-and-5th-station.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. We will be coming from Hamamatsucho Station to Tokyo Station via Yamanote Line. How to we go to Yaesu North exit?

  9. Hi Takeshi San,
    Coming from Kyoto to Tokyo by Shinkansen[JR Pass] how to go to Yaesu South exit in Tokyo station?

    Regards

    1. Hi Kaushik san,

      You can get Yaesu south exit from Shinkansen platform directly. It is located at the south end of the platform. You can find the signage at the platform and follow the direction.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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