Can you use JR Pass on Tokyo Metro? – How to successfully use your travel pass

If you are planning a trip to Japan, knowing how you could go around and about is a must if you don’t want to get lost or spend more money than you intend to because of transportation fees.

For a first-time traveler, you might get confused with the country’s complex and dense transportation network – from trains to subway lines to bus lines and ferries – all operated by different companies.

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That being said, JR Pass offers the most extensive and cost-effective mode of transportation to foreign travelers in Japan. But the question is, can you use it on Tokyo Metro?

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Confusion with the usage of the JR Pass on the Tokyo Metro

Because of the complexity of Japan’s transportation system, tourists sometimes get confused about which pass works for which line. Add to that the fact that private companies like Tokyo Metro operate Tokyo subways.

While it is true that you cannot use JR Pass on all Tokyo Metro lines, you can use it on lines used by Metro Tokyo, like the Yamanote circular line that connects all metro lines and major city centers.

The Yamanote line serves the central stations in Tokyo, including Ueno, Shibuya, Yoyogi, Shinjuku, and 26 more, including those going to Osaka and Kyoto.

JR Pass coverage

JR Pass is exclusively offered to foreigners visiting Japan and is operated by the Japan Railways Group in Japan. It cannot be obtained by locals or businesses in Japan.

To get a JR Pass, you must purchase it online before arrival.

You can choose a JR Pass that is good for seven days (priced at ¥29,650 for ordinary and ¥39,600 for premium), 14 days (¥47,250 for ordinary and ¥64,120 for premium), or 21 days that will cost you ¥60,450 for ordinary and ¥83,390 for premium.

This will allow you access to most modes of transportation in Japan.

JR Pass can be used on JR Group limited express trains, other express trains (rapid and local ones), Shinkansen bullet trains (except for NOZOMI and MIZUHO), Tokyo Monorail, Yamanote line(Tokyo Metro), Aoimori Railway, Ainokaze Toyama Railway, Narita Express, and IR Ishikawa Railway.

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Tokyo Metro coverage

Tokyo Metro has the busiest subway lines in Tokyo. It operates 9 train lines with over 180 stops and spans 195 km of track, and sees an average of 5.95 million passengers daily.

It is the most accessible and most effective mode of transportation when traveling to and from the north-western suburbs and eastern neighborhoods of Adachi, Katsushika, and Koto. You can bring your sizable suitcase or trusty backpack without any hassle.

Furthermore, with Tokyo Metro, you can already visit Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, visit the scramble crossing in Shibuya, go to Kabukicho in Shinjuku, purchase goods at Tsukiji Market in Tsukiji, drop by Kabuki-za in Higashi-Ginza, and stopover at Tokyo Tower in Kamiyacho.

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Tokyo Metro Subway Pass vs JR Pass

While it is true that JR Pass offers a lot of discounts on travel fares and allows you the comfort of traveling via different routes and venues, it is not cost-effective if you will only be staying in Tokyo. You need to bring sufficient cash with you.

As mentioned above, the minimum price of JR Pass is ¥29,650, which you can only use for 7 days. Compare that to a Tokyo Metro ticket that only costs ¥180 (1km – 6km) up to ¥330 (28km – 40km) per ride, with price depending on the distance you will travel.

If you are staying within Tokyo, getting a Tokyo Subway Pass is a must as it will give you unlimited access to subway rides on both Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway lines for only ¥800 (24 hours), ¥1,200 (48 hours), and ¥1,500 (72-hours).

The unlimited Tokyo Subway Pass will allow you to visit the spread-out tourist spots in Tokyo without spending too much money and time changing trains to get to your destination.

Meanwhile, if you are planning on visiting famous tourist spots in the different regions of Japan, then JR Pass is a good buy. It will give you access to all JR Group transportation services and other local rails.

Remember, as the general rule of thumb for first-time travelers, your itinerary should include a two-way trip to Tokyo and Osaka plus another far-off destination for the JR Pass fee to be worth its hefty price.