Reviewed: Tokyo One-Day Passes

Carey Finn
tokyo one-day passes
The JR Yamanote Line is cheap, but even cheaper if you use the 750-yen Tokunai Pass. | Photo by Paul Robinson

There are a range of Tokyo one-day passes available to locals and travelers alike, and in this article we give you the lowdown on the major ones. Be warned though—unless you’re going to be zipping all over the city on just one or two train lines, these passes might not work out to be all that economical and you should stick to the standard advice, just get a Suica or Pasmo IC card for travel around Tokyo (and other cities in Japan).

Before dashing out and buying one, work out your travel route and check the train ticket prices—when you compare them to the passes below, you might just find that single tickets are a better bet.

Tokyo Metro 24-hour Ticket

Get a Tokyo Metro 1-Day Pass to save yourself some yens.
Get a Tokyo Metro 1-Day Pass to save yourself some yens. | Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson used under CC

We’ve found Tokyo Metro 1-Day pass to be the most useful, as it costs just 600 yen and opens up unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines, which are: the Ginza, Marunouchi, Hibiya, Tozai, Chiyoda, Yurakucho, Hanzomon, Namboku and Fukutoshin lines. One word of caution: some of these become other lines after a certain point—and you’ll have to pay extra to use them.

What to do with it

The 1-Day pass covers most of the major bases in Tokyo central—a sample day out on it might look something like this:

Start out in Shinjuku—say hi to Godzilla and do a spot of shopping. The hop onto the Fukutoshin Line from Shinjuku-sanchome Station and head over to Meiji-jingumae to have a mosey around Meiji Jingu Shrine, Yoyogi Park and Harajuku. Wander down to Omotesando for lunch, then board the Ginza Line to experience the glitz and glamour of the Ginza neighborhood. After a bit of ginbura, you could get on the train again to see the sights of Asakusa (near Skytree). Ikebukuro, Roppongi (of sleaze and Tokyo Tower fame), Shibuya and Tokyo Station (near the Imperial Palace) are all also accessible using the pass.

You can grab one from just about any Tokyo Metro ticket machine.

Toei and Tokyo Metro One-Day Economy Pass

Thankfully, ticket machines have an English option.
Thankfully, ticket machines have an English option. | Photo by puffyjet used under CC

Called variations of the above in English, but the ichinichi josha ken in Japanese, this ticket allows unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro and Toei subway lines. It costs ¥791 if you book it in advance. There are also longer-use versions of the pass available.

What to do with it

This pass opens up all of the places that the Tokyo Metro 1-Day Pass does, with the added benefit of access to the Toei Lines—which is useful if you are wanting to get out to Oshiage (think Skytree again), Mita, the booksville that is Jimbocho, Suidobashi or Nerima (among other areas). You can also ride on the only streetcar left in Tokyo, the Toden Arakawa Line, which can take you from East Ikebukuro to Zoshigaya (home to Kishimojindo Temple), Waseda and a few other random destinations. Unless your accommodation is on a Toei Line though, you’ll likely get better value out of a pure Metro pass.

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If you’re not going to be using the metro, it’s better to go for the 700-yen Toei One-Day Economy Pass (toei marugoto kippu), which gives you full use of Toei subways, Toei buses, the Toei Streetcar (Toden) Arakawa Line, and the Nippori-Toneri Liner.

Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokunai Pass)

A quiet day.
A quiet day. | Photo by Kevin Krejci used under CC

One of the better-value day passes, the Tokunai Pass costs 750 yen and gives you unlimited access to local and rapid JR trains within the 23 wards of Tokyo. If you’re going to be hopping on and off the Yamanote Line or traveling to the outskirts of the wards, this pass can cost considerably less than a bunch of single-use tickets. Get it at the reserved seat ticket machines at stations, JR ticket offices (those midori-no-madoguchi spots) and JR’s travel service centers.

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Tokyo “Free Kippu”

Also known as the Tokyo Combination Ticket or Tokyo Tour Ticket, this is almost NEVER a good deal. The one-day pass costs 1,590 yen and gives you access to the Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway, Toei Streetcar (Toden), most Toei buses, the Nippori-Toneri Liner, and all JR lines within the Tokyo metropolitan area. Seems great at first glance, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing that much traveling in a single day. Our advice? Opt for one of the other passes.

Toei Bus One-Day Pass

The airport limousine buses offer various discount ticket combinations.
The airport limousine buses also have various discount ticket combinations. | Photo by hans-johnson used under CC

For 500 yen, you can get a Toei Bus One-Day Pass—which is great if you’re planning on busing up and down Tokyo, but not all that useful otherwise. Considering that a single trip on the bus usually costs 210 yen, and a return 420 yen, you need to be making more than one round-trip for this pass to be worthwhile. Most tourists tend to rely on trains more than buses.

However, cool things about the pass include: You can use it for unlimited travel within Tokyo’s 23 wards (you can get off at every stop if you feel like it), you can buy a pass on the bus or in advance, and you can load it onto your PASMO card. Also, it has a great slogan—”Feel the life of Japanese on the bus!”

Other passes

There are various other combo passes and discount tickets, including a 1,310-yen pass that gets you from Haneda Airport into the city on the Keikyu Line and throws in a Toei and Tokyo Metro One-day Economy Pass too, and a Keisei Skyliner and Tokyo Subway 24-hour ticket for those coming in from Narita, for 2,800 yen. You can find more details here. While you’re at it, you might want to explore other cheap ways to get from Haneda Airport to Tokyo and Narita Airport to Tokyo.

The Rinkai Line 1-Day Ticket, Yurikamome One-Day Pass, Setagaya Line Explorer Ticket and the Tokyu Line Minatomirai Ticket are viable options if you are exploring slightly less central parts of the prefecture. Look for these and other discount passes when buying tickets at station vending machines.

If you’re looking for longer-use passes like the 5-day JR Pass, give this article of ours a read. We also have information on the discount Seishun-18 ticket and how to use it. This subway navigation guide might come in handy—and so might this map of the subway by walking times (no pass required, just a sturdy pair of shoes).

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3 Responses to “Reviewed: Tokyo One-Day Passes”

  1. cloudysmile December 26, 2016

    hello i’m wondering if these one day pass starts from the hour you start using it until the same hour the next day. thanks!

    • CheapoGreg December 27, 2016

      No – they’re not that sophisticated. They’re only valid on the day of purchase, although I believe you can use them on the last trains of the day that run just after midnight.

  2. TravelNoob January 23, 2017

    Great website! I just wanted to ask though if any of these one day passes can get me from the airport to the city or vice versa? Like for example, once I arrive at the airport can I buy one there and get to use it right away to go sightseeing around the city?

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