About This Guide


Life in Tokyo: Your Guide is a lifestyle guidebook published for non-Japanese residents by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs to help them begin their new life in Tokyo. From the moment you enter the country, this guide has all the information you need to live your day-to-day life. You will even discover advice from fellow expats who have been living in the city for some time, providing extra knowledge that is sure to come in useful. Let this guide kickstart your new life in Tokyo!

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You can download a complete PDF version of Life in Tokyo: Your Guide, a lifestyle guidebook produced especially for expats starting their new life in Tokyo

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Life in TokyoPublic transit

Public transit in Tokyo runs precisely to schedule, and is convenient for going anywhere.
There are also commuter passes and discounted one-day tickets for trains and buses.


●How to take a train

  • 1

    Buy a ticket to your destination. If you have a smartcard, go straight through the ticket gate.
    *For information on smartcards, see

  • 2

    Wait in line on the station's platform.

  • 3

    When you’re getting on a train, let passengers get off the train first.

  • 4

    Observe manners on the train.

●Manners on the train

  • Put your mobile phone into silent mode and refrain from talking on it.

  • Don't speak loudly.

  • Don't eat on the train.

(Fare example) Tokyo Station–Shinjuku Station 200 yen (smartcard: 194 yen)


Some trains such as limited express, express, and rapid trains, don’t stop at every station. Check the route map to see where the train stops!


●How to take the bus

  • 1

    Wait at the correct bus stop for your destination.

  • 2

    Where you enter depends on the bus.

  • 3

    When to pay the fare depends on bus.

    ●If you board at the front of the bus, you pay in advance.

    ●If you board at the rear, you pay when getting off at the front.

    Touch your smartcard on the reader or Take a ticket.

    If you board at the rear, you pay when getting off at the front.

  • 4

    Some fares are fixed, while others increase with distance (a smartcard will be convenient here).

  • 5

    Push the buzzer when approaching the bus stop where you wish to get off.

(Fare example)Toei bus 210 yen (smartcard: 206 yen)


●How to take a taxi

  • 1

    Go to a taxi stand of a train station or hotel.

  • 2

    Tell the driver your destination. (Few taxi drivers speak English, so if you do not speak Japanese, show the driver something that indicates your destination)

  • 3

    Pay the driver the fare once you get to your destination.

(Fare example)Tokyo Station–Shinjuku Station 2,900 yen (The fee will be shown on the meter)


You don’t have to open Japanese taxi doors, since they open automatically!
From 10 pm to 5 am, late-night rates apply to taxi fares for an increase by 20%!


●Riding rules

  • 1

    As a general rule, ride your bicycle on the left side of the road

  • 2

    Don't ride with earphones on or while operating a smartphone

  • 3

    Observe the traffic rules

●Bicycle traffic rules

  • Don’t ride while under the influence of alcohol

  • Don’t ride tandem

  • Don’t leave bicycles unattended

  • Obey traffic lights

  • Turn on your lights at night


Keep your bicycle at a bicycle parking lot! Read more *This website is written in Japanese.


To drive in Japan, one of the following driving licenses is required.
1. A Japanese driving license
2. An international driving license
3. A license of a specific country or region: Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, and Taiwan

*This is limited to licenses with Japanese translations provided by embassies, consulates, JAF, and others.
Those with a foreign driving license can convert it to a driving license that can be used in Japan.

Cars keep to the left

Seasoned residents say

  • We were surprised by the number of people on the train during the Tokyo commuter rush.

  • The female-only rail cars that run in the mornings and evenings can also be used by people with disabilities, as well as small boys.

  • If you park your bicycle somewhere other than a bicycle parking space, it may be removed.

  • Tokyo has many traffic lights, as well as dedicated pedestrian/bicycle lanes, which is great!