Since we had a gong-show of an experience trying to get to the airport for our most recent flight out of Tokyo, I figured I will write about post with tips on navigating the Tokyo metro system (so you won’t miss your flight).
1. First and foremost, try not to book a flight in which you would be required to commute in rush hour
FYI: rush hour in Tokyo is around 7-9am and after 6pm in the evening1. Ideally, you would want to avoid having to the deal with the craziness of navigating the Tokyo Metro System at peak hours at all, while trying to catch a flight. But if you must, keep reading…
2. Give yourself lots of buffer
The more the better. This is not the time to live life on the edge. We relied on Google Maps and planned to arrive there 1.5 hours before our departure time, which would have been more than enough in Canada. Probably not the smartest idea for Tokyo.
3. If the train look busy, just get on
Even if it looks like there isn’t enough space, there is. Believe me. If you wait for the next train, it’ll probably not be much better. Hang on to your bags and get cozy.
4. Look at the display on the side of the train or on the platform to make sure this is the correct train
Ideally, look at the digital signage on the platform so you can plan ahead. Often the trains with different routes/destinations travel along the same track. Make sure it’s the correct train for you before getting on! Don’t rely on Google Maps for the time of arrival of the train. It’s failed us multiple times this trip.
5. If there is no one else on the train who seems to be carrying luggage, you’re probably on the wrong train
Hopefully this post will help you not make the same mistakes we did. Happy travels, everyone.