PASMO card and transport inside Tokyo
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Oct 22, 2012 2:15 AM Last Post By: Tokyo_girl
Oct 14, 2012 7:24 AM
PASMO card and transport inside TokyoI am going to Tokyo for the first time next month for 4.5 days. I am trying to make sense of the public transport system and I am confused by the different lines operated by different entities, passes, etc.
My hotel is pretty central (about a 20-minute walk from the main train station), but as the city is huge, I imagine I'll be using the subway and other useful lines for inside Tokyo and outside Tokyo.
Does anyone have a quick explanation of how things work? Should I buy a PASMO card? (japanrailpass.us is offering one for $45 with 2,500 yen on it (about U$S 30, so I'm not sure if that's a rip off). Should I consider any other passes? Or just do an ad hoc pass-as-I-go? I'm hesitant to get a pass if it turns out it's only for certain lines run by certain entities, and it's a waste, or if it's not as confusing at it seems.
Oct 14, 2012 8:02 AM
1Good lord that US price does sound like a rip-off!
Background info can be found here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2359_002.html
Pasmo is one of two interchangeable stored-value cards used on transport systems in Tokyo. Pasmo is the one sold by the subway companies; Suica is the other one -- it is sold by JR. Yes, you should buy one or the other -- it really simplifies travelling anywhere in the Tokyo region -- just tap and go. Both are valid on the lines you are likely to want to use. (It's a reciprocal deal.)
How will you get from the airport to your hotel, and vice versa? That's a significant part of this equation because the Suica card (and not Pasmo) offers a special deal on airport-to-city transport called Suica+NEX (NEX being the Narita Express airport trains.). The combination card saves you something like 1,000 yen on the airport transfer. More details here: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/suica-nex/
There's no need to buy these in the States before leaving (and pay a premium price!) The Suica+NEX, which is the best deal, is sold at Narita Airport railway station.....just waltz into the airport reservations/ticket office and buy it on the spot.
Oct 14, 2012 8:19 AM
I thought that price seemed high for the card, thanks for confirming it.
It looks like the Suica card is probably a better deal as it will save me some money as I get from Narita into Tokyo proper. Can I get the Suica+NEX from the same place I exchange my JR voucher for the JR Pass? I'm guessing not, but figured I might ask in case I can do less scavenger hunting in the airport on arrival!
(oh, and a quick side note, regarding the JR Pass - the day I get it via exchanging the voucher does not have to be the date the 7-day validity starts, is that correct?)
Oct 14, 2012 10:05 AM
3It's the same place - there is a dedicated JR Pass Exchange Office at the airport stations which will do both. If your flight arrives early in the morning or late at night, when the exchange office is closed, you can do it at the ticket office.
You can choose your start date for your pass at any time within a month of activating, provided you activate within 3 months of the exchange order's issue date. So if you buy your order today, October 14th, you must activate at the latest on January 13th, and your start date can be at any time before February 13th.
Oct 14, 2012 10:06 AM
Correct. You specify the date when you exchange. Can be up to one month after the date you make the exchange.
Oct 14, 2012 1:09 PM
5Just to make sure, you are not only going to Tokyo and surroundings are you? Otherwise the JR pass would not make sense.
Suica+NEX is a good deal as mentioned above and the NEX will get you to many parts of Tokyo very comfortably. One exception, if you are staying somewhere around Ueno/Asakusa, taking Keisei line could make more sense in which case you don't want the Suica+NEX, but just a regular Suica (without the NEX part) or Pasmo.
Suica+NEX comes in two varieties, including A) a one way trip Narita to Tokyo; or B) a return trip Narita Tokyo Narita (within 2 weeks). However the JR pass is valid on the NEX as well, so depending on your itinerary in Japan you might (or might not) want to use the JR pass for Tokyo to Narita.
Oct 14, 2012 4:56 PM
Oct 15, 2012 12:15 AM
7It is always advisable to work out your itinerary and timeframe before purchasing a JR pass. JR passes are most worthwhile when you are covering a large distance in a short amount of time.
Whether or not a SUICA NEX is preferable, depends on where in Tokyo you are staying.
Oct 19, 2012 7:31 PM
8Definitely get a PASMO or SUICA card. It's great for passing from JR to Tokyo Metro to the Toei Subway lines. It costs 500 yen for the card, and then you get it back when you return it (You have to return it to the company you bought it from).
NEX is nice- but it's not all that fast, and it's expensive.
The Keisei Airport Express is much cheaper and almost about the same time. It runs right into the Asakusa Line, too. I'm not talking about the Keisei Skyliner, but the Limited Express trains. It runs on the same tracks as the Skyliner, but you don't have to change and Ueno or Nippori to keep going into Tokyo. Of course, if you're flying into Haneda, then it's a totally different story.
What's the main station you're referring to in the OP? Shinjuku or Tokyo Station?
Oct 20, 2012 1:00 AM
Oct 21, 2012 5:01 AM
I'm near the Tokyo Station.
Yep, I'll be traveling around the country, so I'll be getting good use out of the Pass!
Oct 21, 2012 3:45 PM
11Since the NEX goes through Tokyo station, it makes sense.
Oct 22, 2012 12:53 AM
12I haven't had a chance to check the 7-11 yet.
NEX is easy for Tokyo Station, and the new trains are really, really nice. It is the most expensive train, though.
Oct 22, 2012 2:15 AM
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