Tokyo Station Guide – How to navigate yourself in Tokyo Station

Tokyo Travel Guide

Tokyo Station Guide – How to navigate yourself in Tokyo Station

Tokyo Station marunouchi exit

There are several train terminal in Tokyo, and the busiest station is Shinjuku, but Tokyo Station is a hub for Shinkansen trains that goes to the other parts of Japan. This train hub of Tokyo is often talked as “AVOID” location among foreign tourists just because it’s like a maze you cannot get out.

Located in the east of Imperial Palace, the surrounding area is the center of Japanese economy with lots of office buildings. So you might not come to Tokyo Station as a destination, but you might have some opportunity to visit Tokyo Station. It’s a station that Narita Express and airport buses from Narita (TYO-NRT) also arrives at Tokyo Station. 

If you go to Disneyland, the train leaves from Tokyo Station too. And it’s also a starting station of Tokaido Shinkansen to Kyoto and Osaka, and also other Shinkansen’s to Hokkaido, Nagano and Kanazawa. The station has a large shopping mall in the underground, and it is very convenient and fun place to walk around, but it’s very crowded and complicated too. 

So today I’d like to take you to the maze of Tokyo Station, and explain how to get around the station so you don’t get overwhelmed when you are here. You don’t have to avoid Tokyo station as it’s one of the most “Tokyo” scene in Tokyo.

→ You can watch this article on YouTube too. : How to Get Around Tokyo Station 

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Map and Locations of trains, shops, exit.

Marunouchi (West)  and Yaesu (East) 

First, let me explain the structure of the Tokyo Station so you can get the snapshot of what it’s like.  Tokyo Station has Marunouchi (丸の内)Exit on the west side which is close to the imperial palace, and Yaesu (八重洲)Exit on the east side which is close to Nihonbashi and Ginza area. Both Marunouchi and Yaesu entrance has north, central and South Gate.

The major reason first time visitors lose direction is, there are two floors of entrance (ticket gate) at 1st floor and B1. Both of them are spreading between Marunouchi (West) and Yaesu (East). Concourse is separated to 3 isles, North, Central and South.

Make it easy to understand:

  • There are 2 floors of tickets gate and concourse at the 1st Floor and B1 floor. There are only accessible with train tickets or passes.
  • Go to ground floor concourse for the access to the most of the trains. To Shinjuku, Go to platform 1 or 2 above ground (right next to Yamanote line), and platform 3 or 4 for Akihabara, Ueno.
  • Narita Express and Yokosuka Line’s platform is located in the west side at B5 floor, which you can access by escalators inside the concourse.
  • Each Shinkansen JR Central and JR East has special tickets gates which are accesible from both inside the regular concourse and outside directly. You need Shinkansen tickets to go in.
  • TYO-NRT bus arrives at Shin-Nihonbashi exit on the north edge of east side, and leaves from right in front of Yaesu exit.
  • Keiyo line to Disneyland (B3 on the right in the map above) is far from the main concourse. You can walk the concourse from the south side of the statoin.
  • The popular shopping center, Tokyo Charactor Street is located in the basement floor right outside of the Yaesu basement exit.

How to take trains and buses from Tokyo Station

In Tokyo station, most of the JR trains and Shinkansen is on the 2nd level, except some are in the under ground. The station concourse is under the platforms on the first floor and the basement. This large concourse in the station is inside the ticket gate of JR east, and fulfilled with shops and restaurants, which is nice but making it complicated. 

The only way to go though fro the west to east without any tickets of JR is, this route in the north side under ground. Now let’s see how to get to the major trains and bus that you may take. 

1. JR Yamanote Line and  Chuo Line

Yamanote Line is leaving from plat form 4 and 5 on the 2nd floor. When you go to Akihabara and Unno direction, platform No.4, if you go to Shinbashi, Shibuya direction, platform 5. 

When you go to Shinjuku, it’s faster to take Chuo line from platform 1 or 2. It’s also on the 2nd floor, but located much higher than other platforms.  Chuo line cut through the circle of Yamanote Line, and takes you to Shinjuku much faster than Yamanote Line. 

2. Narita Express arrives in the underground 

As I mentioned earlier, there are some platforms in the underground, and that’s where the Narita Express(N’EX) from Narita Airport will arrive.  The platform is in the basement 5th floor near the Marunouchi exit side. When you take the Narita Express, you can go down the escalator to the basement 5th floor and proceed to platform No. 3 or 4. Please make sure you don’t go to the 3 and 4 on the 2nd floor. 

  How to Get from Narita Airport to Tokyo 

3. Keiyo Line for Disney resort, Makuhari

Keiyo Line is the train going towards east suburb along the Tokyo Bay, and the reason many travelers might use is because there is a Disney Resort. 

The platform of Keiyo line is very far in the south. When you take Keiyo line, you proceed to the Yaesu South exit, do not leave the JR gate, and walk along the Keiyo promenade. 

There is a moving walkway, but it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to transfer from other JR lines. Once you get on the train, you arrive in less than 20 minutes to the Maihama station, which is the station for the Tokyo Disney Resort. 

4. How to get on Shinkansen from Tokyo Station

Shinkansen has special gates for their platforms. There are two Shinkansen company at Tokyo Station -JR East runs Shinkansens going to Northern Japan such as Hokkaido, Niigata and Kanazawa. And JR Central runs Tokaido Shinkansen going to Kyoto Osaka and west Japan. 

In the concourse, you see the many Green on the wall and the gate, that is for Shinkansens by JR East. The platform number is 20 to 23. 

And the blue color,  for the JR Central’s Tokaido Shinkansen. The platform number is from 14 to 19. 

You can purchase your ticket at the window or the machine near the gate right before you get on board, but I if you are traveling on busy season, like a long holiday in Japan, I recommend you to purchase in advance. 

5. How to get on the airport bus – TYO-NRT

When you take the bus to Narita, the bus is leaving from the bus stop in front of he Yaesu South Exit. 

  How to Get from Narita Airport to Tokyo 

The bus stop number is 7 (seven). 

The bus is running frequently, and you can get on without any reservation.  If you want to use cash, you need to get the ticket at the counter right in-front of this No.7.

If you use IC card such as Suica, you can just wait in the line and get on the bus. Just make sure you have balance left. The bus is 1300 Yen, and it’s a great way to go to the LCC’s Terminal 3 which is far away from train station. 

Just please note that this bus only accept one suitcase per person. Make sure you know which terminal is your flight is leaving from, so you can tell the staff when you store your luggage. 

There is a rest room by the counter, and the bus also has a bathroom. 

Google Map of Tokyo Station

Eat and Shop in Tokyo Station

If you have time in the Tokyo Station, there are plenty of places to spend your time. Inside ticket gate, the station concourse is fulfilled with restaurants and shops to buy foods. On Yaesu exit side, there are Daimaru department store with underground grocery shops, and there are several underground malls are connected to the station. It’s a great place to purchase your souvenirs. 

By the way, this Yaesu (八重洲), the name is coming from   a sailer from Netherland  named Jan Joosten  -that settled in Japan in 17th century. 

If you like to see Kawaii goods, you might enjoy Tokyo character street. If you like to compare different ramen, you can head to Tokyo ramen street.  In case you don’t feel like Ramen, there are several restaurants from different regions of Japan. 

My favorite shop is this one called Mihashi (みはし) – a Japanese sweets cafe. The store is originally from Ueno, and you see some shops in Tokyo, but not many. They have typical Japanese sweets, and I ordered this “Creme Anmitsu”クリームあんみつ. 

“Creme” means soft cream, which how Japanese call the soft served ice cream. It might be something unfamiliar taste, and I didn’t like it when I was kid, but now I like it. You might have no idea what you are eating, but you will like it. 

So that was A brief introduction to Tokyo Station. Now you have less chance to get lost. 

Thank you for reading.

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