Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokyo Tokunai Pass), good choice for sightseeing in Tokyo.

Rail pass for residents
Yamanote line is the busiest train service in Japan.
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JR's Yamanote line (left) and Tokyo Metro (right)
JR’s Yamanote line (left) and Tokyo Metro (right)

There are many deals available in Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass is one of these deals. In this post, I would like to show you how to use this pass and compare with subway deals.

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Price and validity

Price is 760 yen for one day. Child rate is 380 yen which applies to 6 to 11 years old. Child who is 5 years old or younger is free of charge.

One day means from the first train to the last train. Most of JR trains start to run around 5:00 am to 00:30.

e.g.
If you purchase this pass on April 27, you still can take the train after 00:00 on April 28.
But even if you purchase this pass at 0:01 on April 28, you cannot use this ticket for the first train on April 28.

This pass can allow you to take only local or rapid train. If you want to take Shinkansen, only base fare will be covered by this pass. But you have to pay express surcharge. But in this area, only Tokyo-Ueno and Tokyo-Shinagawa are covered. Even if you take local train, it takes around 10 minutes. There is no reason to take Shinkansen in the area of this pass.

How to purchase and use

You can put the ticket in the automatic ticket gate. Don' t forget to pick it up!
You can put the ticket in the automatic ticket gate. Don’ t forget to pick it up!

You can purchase at Midori no Madoguchi (reservation window), View Plaza (JR East’s travel center) and reservation ticket vending machine. When you purchase it, you can choose the date when you want to use. The ticket can be purchased one month prior to the date to use. But it is quite easy to purchase. It is no problem to purchase on the spot.

Coverage area

Please see the map below.

Coverage area map (Click to enlarge)
Coverage area map (Click to enlarge)

Green solid lines are covered by this pass. Tokyo, Akihabara, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa are covered. Even though Harajuku is not shown in the map above, it is in coverage area. And Ginza can be accessed from Yurakucho by walk. Yurakucho is not shown in the map above either. But it is covered and only one station away from Tokyo.

So these following “Big Names” in Tokyo cannot be accessed by this pass.

In the spots above, Odaiba, TDL and Ghibli cannot be accessed by the subway either. So if you intend to visit Asakusa, Skytree and Tsukiji in same day, subway pass is the best and only choice. However if you don’t visit these spots or visit one of these places, this deal, Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokyo Tokunai Pass) may be a right choice.

If you will use JR pass, JR East Pass or Tokyo Wide Pass, these passes cover this area. Tokyo Tokunai Pass is not required.

Compare with subway deals

Tokyo Subway Ticket is sold at 800 yen for 24 hours. 48 hours and 72 hours are also available and price per day is getting cheaper:

Tokyo Subway Ticket (Tokyo Metro official site)

Actually Tokyo subway system covers more than JR train in Tokyo.

Guide to take trains in Tokyo. How to choose the best deal and the best route by train to get the major spots?

And also Tokyo Subway Ticket offers 24 hours period.

e.g.
If you start using Tokyo Subway Ticket at 17:00 on 24th March, it is valid until 16:58 on 25th March.

Meanwhile Tokyo Tokunai Pass is valid for one day. It is valid from midnight to midnight. It doesn’t matter what time you start using it.

Tokyo Subway Ticket is affordable and convenient. However Tokyo Subway has many lines and it makes you confused.

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I understand that we can go almost anywhere in Tokyo by subway but it is very hard to find the best and the fastest route. There are some places in Tokyo where you cannot access by JR trains in Tokyo. But JR trains network is very simple, faster than subway and go directly. If you intend to visit the places on Yamanote line, such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ueno, Akihabara, Yurakucho (Ginza), Tokyo Tokunai Pass is much easier to use.

Check your itinerary and if you can get the place where you want to go by JR trains, Tokyo Tokunai Pass is better deal.

How much we need to take trains to get worth

The following table shows you the fare for major stations.

stationTokyoShinjukuShinagawaAkihabaraUenoIkebukuro
Tokyo200170140160200
Shinjuku200200170200160
Shinagawa170200170200260
Akihabara140170170140200
Ueno160200200140170
Ikebukuro200160260200170

As you see, fares in Tokyo is quite reasonable. If you use this deal, you have to make 4 to 5 trips. Otherwise single ticket is cheaper.

Trip to outside of coverage area

If you add fare, you can make a trip to outside of coverage area.

e.g.
To Tokyo Disney Land and Sea
Maihama where is the gateway station to Tokyo Disney Land and Sea is just one station away from border station, Kasairinkaikoen station. The additional fare is 140 yen one way. If you stay in Shinjuku, regular fare for Shinjuku – Maihama is 390 yen. At this point, total fare is 780 yen and it is much cheaper than Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokyo Tokunai Pass) at 750 yen + additional fares 280 yen. But if you make some more trips after/before visiting Tokyo Disney Land, pass may be cheaper.

To Ghibli museum
Mitaka is two stations away from border station, Nishiogikubo. Additional fare is 160 yen one way. If you go to Mitaka from Ueno or Shinagawa, one way regular fare is 390 yen. It is same thing as trip to Tokyo Disney Land. If you intend to use the pass before/after visiting Ghibli museum, this deal may be cheaper than total fares.

My itinerary

When I used this deal, I use the following segments.

Akihabara – Kinshicho 160 yen
Kinshicho – Akihabara 160 yen
Akihabara – Shinjuku 170 yen
Shinjuku – Shinagawa 200 yen
Shinagawa – Tokyo 170 yen
Tokyo – Akihabara 140 yen
Total 900 yen

I had several reasons to use this deal.

  1. Hotel was closed to JR Akihabara station.
  2. I need the direct transfer between Tokyo and Akihabara.
  3. Subway do not have direct line on this section.There is no subway station in Shinagawa.

Tokyo Skytree was only outside of coverage area. Even though I took Tokyo Metro Hanzoumon line and paid 170 yen one way, this deal was the best option for me.

Comments

  1. Anne says:

    Hi Takeshi / JP Rail,

    Thank you for the information about the trains in Japan. May I know the operating hours for all the trains? especially the train that require tokunai pass.

    many thanks.

    Cheers,
    Anne

  2. Michelle says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I’m sorry for bothering you again but I have a few more questions…

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I will be going to Tokyo on the 29th of December, can you tell me if I can use a Tokunai pass to get to these places? It’s a Monday so can you also tell me how to avoid the rush hours in Tokyo?
    (I really don’t like packed trains) 🙂

    1.I will depart from keio plaza hotel in shinjuku to in the morning to Harajuku
    2.then from Harajuku I will go to Akihabara
    3.After Akihabara, I will go to Tokyo Disneyland

    I really hope you can help me as I’ve never taken a train in Tokyo before, Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Michelle,

      You can use this ticket, Tokunai Pass. But as you read this post, Maihama (TDL) is not in the coverage area. You have to add the fare on top of this ticket.
      If you take after 9:00 am, it’s not peak hours any more.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Kim says:

    Hi,

    If I get the Tokyo Tokunai pass and I want to go to Disneyland, how do I buy the additional fare required? Do I do it before or after I get on the train?

    Thanks for your help!

  5. maysia says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I assume we can use the ICOCA in Tokyo ? And do we need this Tokunai pass if we do ?

    thanks
    Maysia

  6. anastacia says:

    Hi, I have one question, can I use the tokunai one day pass to asukasabashi? Thanks

  7. Shuhaida says:

    Hi Takeshi / JP Rail,

    I will be in Japan for 12 days. Starting 17th Oct- 29 Oct 2014. Appreciate if you can give your comment on the itinerary/ transportation as below;

    I bought Takayama-Hukuriku Area pass for sightseeing in Takayama & Shirakawa-Go

    Plan for other pass as below:
    1. JR KANTO pass to go to Hitachi seaside park and Fuji.
    2. 1 Day Osaka Amazing pass
    3. TOKYO TOKUNAI pass – for sighseeing in Tokyo

    I’m not sure whether its worth to buy KINTETSU pass wide to use from Nagoya Airport, Nara, Kyoto and Osaka and back to Nagoya Airport. Or I should buy KANSAI THRU pass. Because the pass also include discount for sightseeing.

    Detail itinerary as below;

    17/10: Kuala Lumpur – Nagoya – Kyoto (will take Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto)
    18/10: Sightseeing Kyoto
    19/10: Nara
    20/10:Kyoto – Arashiyama
    21/10: Kyoto – kobosan – Osaka – halfday sightseeing Osaka
    22/10:Sightseeing Osaka – Overnite bus to Tokyo
    23/10:Tokyo – Hitachi Seaside Park
    24/10:Tokyo – Fuji – Gotemba
    25/10:Sightseeing Tokyo
    26/10Sightseeing Tokyo
    27/10:Tokyo – Takayama
    28/10:Takayama – Shirakawa-Go – Nagoya
    29/10:Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur

    Just for your info, I will stay in Omiya-Street area in Kyoto and Sakurajosui in Tokyo.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Shuhaida,

      If you want to save the cost and okay to spend more time to get Kyoto, Kintetsu Rail Pass Wide is a good choice. It includes Chubu airport to Nagoya transfer. I’ve heard this access ticket can be used out of 5 days valid period. So you can use Chubu airport to Nagoya return trip on Oct 17 and 29. It can be purchased at Chubu airport. Of course Kintetsu pass can be used to get Nara from Kyoto. If you take this choice, you can use Kyoto all day bus pass for Kyoto sightseeing.
      http://www.city.kyoto.jp/koho/eng/access/transport.html

      I think other deals are okay. But if you use Kanto Area Pass to get Mt. Fuji area, access to Lake Kawaguchi is covered. But JR Gotemba station is outside of coverage area. You have to add the fare for Gotemba to Kouzu. And also there is no connection between Lake Kawaguchi and Gotemba. You have to take a bus and this bus is not covered either.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  8. Connie says:

    Hi,

    I will be staying at JAL City Tamachi Hotel, I am wondering whether Tamachi JR station is covered in the Tokyo Tokunai Pass?

    THANK YOU.

  9. Rajat says:

    only question I may have would there be English signage at Railway Stations?

  10. Handoko Taniwidjojo says:

    I just want to share my recent two days in Tokyo, while the first day was still covered with JRP so I was using only JR lines to move around, but on the other day I purchased the Toei and Metro one day ticket. It was indeed easier to reach many places with the metro as you could reach almost all places within Tokyo, but the metro and Toei lines were not always located at nearby platforms in case you had to change lines, in a station like Ometomachi you might need to walk up to 800 meters just for changing the lines. And I am very much in agreement that holding the Tokunai Pass will be more convenient as it can reach most of the attractive places and if it is the required to go to a place that is uncovered like Oshiage Sky Tree you can take a subway from Kinsicho or even walk from JR Kinsicho.

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