Saturday, March 28, 2009

The land of many exits

Here's one of those posts dedicated to the people planning to visit Japan.

Getting lost in Tokyo can be fun, but only when you actually want to get lost.
So i'm gonna give you a very simple piece of advice that i wish someone would have given me the first time i went to japan, that'll maybe save you from getting lost when you don't feel like it:
Know your exits.

You see, stations in Tokyo, like most other places i guess, have multiple exits.
The bigger the station, the more exits.
A station like Shinjuku has about a million of them.
And if you take the wrong exit, you could end up in what can appear to be a totally different city, far away from the place you were planning on going.
That happened to us more than a few times the first time we were here, and it's really annoying.

In the bigger stations you'll need to follow the right exit signs all the way from the platform.
It's not hard, just bring a notebook and write stuff like, "to get to Studio Alta, take the East exit for Kabukicho".
There, easy as that!

The signs are in English, so that's one thing you don't need to worry about!

And while we're on the subject, another good thing to remember is the name of your station.
And i don't mean the name in english, i mean the name in japanese.

Like i said before, most signs are in english and that makes getting around super easy.
But at many stations the map above the ticket machines is only in japanese.
If you have a railpass* there's no need to worry, but if you need to buy a ticket, knowing what your stations name looks like can be very handy.
I happen to have the name of my station tattooed on my arm, which is super handy, but you might not want to do that!
So i suggest you just write it down.

You are here, yes, but where do you need to go?

*The railpass only works on the JR lines, not to be confused with Tokyo Metro, which is a whole other system.
Read about the different forms of transportation here.


  1. great post! you are so helpful!

    and i find it more than amusing that you have your station tattooed on your arm.. i had no idea!!

  2. Yeah, Koenji is what the banner on my sushi tattoo says.
    Lucky that it's still my favorite Tokyo town after all these years!