Q&A #6: Metro
Trip Start Apr 08, 2010
42Trip End May 06, 2010
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It is very convenient, fast and safe. It is also very easy to use - we never got lost ! Everything is very well indicated, and all stations names or destinations are written both in japanese characters and romanji.
In most of japanese cities, there are several metro companies - JR and private ones. Therefore you have to buy different kinds of tickets depending on the company you are using. The price you pay is directly connected to the distance you travel. You can find huge metro maps in each stations indicating the price you have to pay for your journey.
Below the metro maps are the ticket machines, and you can always switch to english on the screen. You just need to indicate the amount you want to pay and the number of passengers, and then insert cash. The machine gives you change. Be careful that not all ticket machines accept 10,000 yens bills, but it is clearly mentionned on it.
Once you have your ticket, you have to pass the gate which is usually opened (very surprising for a western tourist !). But if you do not insert your ticket in the machine and try to pass the gate, it will automatically close and beep !
So insert your ticket, pass the gate and do not forget to take your ticket back ! It will be useful if you want to get out of the metro !
At the end of your journey, if you paid the right fare, the machine keeps the ticket once you pass the gate. If you paid too much, too bad for you, it keeps it too ! If you did not pay enough, gates will automatically close and you will have to pay adjustment fares at the dedicated machines.
For the record, JR pass can not be used in the metro, but is ok on JR lines (especially the famous JR Yamanote line).