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Toll roads in the Tokyo area are both extensive and expensive. As an example, a trip to Narita Airport from the western side of Tokyo might cost as much as 3,000 Yen (US $36) for the short 120 km (75 mile) trip. Trains covering the same distance, for one passenger, would cost significantly less, about 2,000 Yen (US $24).
Most toll roads use the automatically billed electronic toll collection (ETC), but you can also pay cash. Some roads have toll booths in the middle of the highway, where you might pay 600 or 700 Yen to pass. Other roads give a ticket when you enter, then charge a toll when you exit, with rates based on distance traveled.
Tolls on Japan's National Expressways are typically based on distance traveled and type of vehicle. The average toll for a car is about 25 Yen per kilometer, while a tractor trailer almost 70 Yen per kilometer. Despite the high toll costs and modern road network, the speed limits are pretty slow, only about 80 kilometers per hour around Tokyo (less than 50 miles per hour).
The Japanese government plans to eliminate tolls when all of the road construction debt is paid off, currently targeted for about 2050. Realistically, the need to continuously build new roads, repair old stretches of highway, replace bridges, construct sound walls, etc. will mean that the tolls will probably never be eliminated.
Updated Feb 15, 2013
The Rainbow Bridge is one of modern Tokyo's most famous landmarks, alongside Tokyo Tower and Tokyo SkyTree. The bridge was constructed from 1987 to 1993, and originally named the "Shuto Expressway No. 11 Daiba Route - Port of Tokyo Connector Bridge."
The bridge carries the Shuto Expressway, the Yurikamome rapid transit rail line, two pedestrian walkways, and Tokyo Prefectural Route 482 on it two decks over Tokyo Harbor. The main span of the bridge is 1,870 feet, making it the 63rd longest suspension bridge in the world (though Japan boasts the world's longest suspension bridge near the city of Kobe).
Updated Feb 14, 2013
Have a long layover at Narita, but not enough time to go explore Tokyo? Did you know you can take the local trains to some great little villages within 15 minutes of the airport and see some of the more traditional areas of Japan?
Terminal 1 is located about 12 minutes from the quaint town of Narita, and Terminal 2 is located 2 minutes closer. From either terminal, just walk down to the basement and follow signs for the Keisei Line towards Narita. Buy a 250 Yen ticket, and jump on the train for a quick and very easy ride.
Once in Narita Village, head straight out of the train station for a half block, and turn right to find the main shopping areas and the massive Naritasan Temple.
On the return trip, use caution, because the Keisei Station and the JR Rail Station face each other, just about 100 meters apart. Both will get you back to the airport. From the Narita Keisei Station, take the Keisei Line back to the airport, from platform 5, which is right in front of the entrance to the station. From the JR Rail Narita Station, you will have to find the Airport Branch Line.
Both run about 11 km and take the same amount of time. The Keisei Line almost always costs 250 Yen. The JR Rail train sometimes costs 230 Yen, but can also cost as much as 3000 Yen, if you catch the Narita Express.
Updated Feb 11, 2013
Tokyo Narita aka Narita International Airport aka New Tokyo International Airport is an international airport that serves the Greater Tokyo Area although it is about 35 miles east of Tokyo. The airport handles the majority of international passenger traffic to and from Japan; my flight was a British Airways flight from Heathrow.
Written Oct 29, 2012
Phone: +81 (0) 476 34 8000
The Tama River Trail follows the Tama River from Tokyo's western outskirts to Tokyo Bay. The trail length is around 100 kilometers from the Okutama regions thought such towns as Tachikawa, Fuchu, and Kunitachi, and eventually running near downtown Tokyo to Haneda Airport on the bay.
The trail is mostly paved, though you will find areas tat are dirt, gravel and a few places on city streets. Along the trail you will find some small farms, industrial areas, apartment buildings, houses, baseball fields, levees, and some natural areas with birds and wild flowers.
Written Oct 20, 2012
Japanese people are very safe and cautious drivers generally, but that doesn't mean driving here is easy. Driving on the left side of the road, with street signs almost entirely in Japanese, on narrow streets often shared with pedestrians and bicyclists, train tracks crossing roads and streets, parking is almost impossible, and on and on. I almost forgot to mention that the Japanese use international street signs, kilometers, and kilometers per hour, so Americans have more disadvantages, unless they've ever driven in Europe. since tere is little legal parking, Japanese drivers often pull their car to the side of the road, partially blocking traffic when they run into a store for a quick stop.
Foreigners with international drivers licenses can drive in Japan for up to one year (unless the foreigner is becoming a resident, is US military, or a number of other exceptions).
I like how Virtual Tourist gives you the option for type of transportation: "Car/Motor Home." You would be crazy to drive a motor home around Tokyo.
Updated Oct 13, 2012
Narita International Airport is the second busiest of Tokyo's two major airport even though it is remotely located out in the rice paddies 36 miles from downtown Tokyo. With 25 million passengers a year, Narita not only Tokyo's number two airport, but the nation's second busiest airport.
The airport was constructed in the 1970s amidst protests and violence over the government's decision to acquire the land using imminent domain. Narita opened in 1978, years behind schedule, with a design capacity of about 13 million passengers a year. By the 1980s, the airport was handling over 20 million passengers so an expansion was desperately needed. Terminal 2 was built from 1986 to 1992, and a new parallel runway was completed in 2002. It wasn't until late 2011 until the airport received permission to conduct takeoffs and landings on both runways simultaneously.
Japan's extensive trains were not connected directly to the airport terminals until 1991. In 2010 the Narita Express Train opened, allowing for rapid rail transit to Tokyo city center... the trains takes about about 45 minutes to Tokyo Station, but cost 2,940 Yen (USD $37). The Skyliner is a little cheaper and a little faster, but there are more libe changes, a big pain if you have lots of luggage.
A taxi from Tokyo to Narita might cost from 14,000 yen to 40,000 yen (~$200 to $500).
Updated Oct 5, 2012
Tokyo is a bit complicated for public Transport since there are 2 metro systems and as well some train lines. At metro and at train station ticket machines (first look at the big fare maps above the ticket machines and find out your fare, then you put your money in the machine and then you select!) you can buy tickets crossing the different systems, in case you payed not enough or changed you mind and travel further, at the Exit you find a fare adjustment machine.
You also can use a Suica or PASMO prepaid card for single tickets.
If you buy single tickets try to avoid changing systems as this is more expensive (but Toei Metro lines and Keikyu train lines are connected).´
Tokyo Free Kippu (1580 Yen per day) is good for both and JR lines but a bit to expensive,
Toei and Tokyo Metro One Day Economy Pass (1000 Yen) is not cheap as well,
Toei One Day Economy Pass (700 Yen) for Toei lines only,
Tokyo Metro Open Ticket (1 day 600 Yen only at Narita Airport, in Metro stations 710 Yen, 2 consecutive days 980 Yen) seems to be the best deal.
Written May 7, 2012
I know that if you fly American Airlines, they will let you make 1 change without an extra charge up until the beginning of May, I think May 5. You should call your airlines and ask, due to this unforeseen situation, they will probably follow suit. If you plan to go to Tokyo or south, you should't have any problems there. It's really normal except for some lighting in the train station & subways being dimmed or shut off and escalators that they shut down to save on electricity. In my experience, the Japanese people were really happy that we came. They wanted to talk to us on the street and ask about the news in the states. They gave us thumbs up almost everywhere we went. Hope this helps.
Written Apr 14, 2011
this is the main gateway to the tokyo and the kanto plain area of japan, the other one is the haneda airport but it caters mostly domestic flights and flights to korea and china. The Arrival Area of both terminal 1 and two are huge and offer a avriety of shops and other services like massages, money exchange shops, tokyo tours, the airport limousine and keisei liner counters and a lot more.
There are also Tourist Information Counters in both terminals which offers help to newly arrived tourists like us and also remember that Japanese public transport, stores and restaurants are legally forbidden to accept foreign currencies. You do need small amounts of yen currency for immediate needs. If you have foreign bank notes other than U.S. dollars, it is wise to convert some of them in to yen while at the airport arrival area which offer more competitive rates of $ 1 = 86 yen than hotels in tokyo that offer $ 1 = 82 yen.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
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