11/09/2020

A Traveler's guide for the Tokyo Monorail

If you are a traveler in Haneda Airport, known to be the busiest airport in Japan, then you’re in luck! Many hot spots in Tokyo are accessible from the airport via Tokyo Monorail - the first of its kind and one of the most successful commercial monorail systems!


Table of Contents


The Tokyo Monorail

Japan is considered one of the prime tourist destinations in the world. This is the reason why tourists would flock to Japan as it offers a plethora of unique activities such as famous and iconic Japanese landmarks, sightseeing in breathtaking landscapes and seascapes, staying at traditional ryokans, and even sampling authentic and mouth-watering Japanese cuisines! It also helps that the transit in Japan is very easy and efficient as it aids tourists who are not familiar with the place to visit tourist hot spots. 

A very efficient way to commute from Tokyo International Airport to nearby cities such as Minato, Ota, and Shinagawa is through the Tokyo Monorail. Since Tokyo International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Japan which hosts over 87 million passengers in 2018 alone, tourists exploring Japan can surely appreciate Tokyo Monorail’s fast and efficient commute to and from their favorite Tokyo destination.

※ Airports Council International, "Preliminary world airport traffic rankings released"

Talks about establishing an alternate transport system in Japan first emerged after World War II when the Tokyo International Airport started hosting many visitors who wanted to get a glimpse of Japan. It was during this time that the Tokyo International Airport became Japan’s gateway to the rest of the world and vice versa. During the early 1960s, Japan was planning to host the Summer Olympics and foreign tourists from around the world wanted to fly to Japan to witness this historical event. The construction of the Tokyo Monorail started in May 1963 and finished by September 1964. The Tokyo Monorail officially started its transport service to both Japanese locals and tourists for a more efficient transport system as the first commercial monoral in the world and the first airport rail in Japan.

※ Tokyo Monorail, "Monorail History" 

Knowing more about the Monorail

There are three main types of trains in the Tokyo Monorail.

1. Local Train

The Local Train stops at every station. The overall time to complete transit from the ‘first’ station to the ‘last’ station is still very fast - only a whopping 24 minutes! 

2. Rapid Train

The Rapid Train bypasses 4 stations namely the Seibijō Station, Shōwajimara Station, the Tenkūbashi train station, and Shin Seibijō stations. If you thought that the local train was already efficient, the rapid train would only take 21 minutes to complete the end-to-end line! The rapid train started to operate in the Tokyo Monorail back in the early 2000s.

3. Haneda Express

The Haneda Express offers a non-stop direct line from the Hamamatsuchō and Tokyo International Airport. The time between Hamamatsucho and each of the terminals in Tokyo International Airport are the following:

  • Terminal 3 (The International Terminal) - Arrives in 13 minutes

  • Terminal 1 - Arrives in 16 minutes

  • Terminal 2 - Arrives in 18 minutes

※ Tokyo Monorail, "Monorail Guide" 

The Tokyo Monorail fees depend on your departure station and your arrival station. The standard fare from the Tokyo International Station to the Hamamatsucho Station is the following:

  • 500 yen for adults

  • 250 yen for children

※ Tokyo Monorail, "Monorail Hamamatsucho Station" 

The Japan Railway or JR Pass is also integrated in the Tokyo Monorail. Make sure that you purchase and activate your JR pass at the airport, usually in the Haneda JR East Travel Center near the Tokyo Monorail gate for a faster and more efficient commute. 

There are also many facilities near the Tokyo Monorail such as different local shops where you can buy souvenirs, coin lockers, and currency exchange centers. There are all designed to make your trip to Japan as smooth and as efficient as possible.

Various tourist spots accessible from the Monorail

Within the Tokyo Monorail, there are many spots that are simply unique to Japan! However, a lot of tourists miss out on these as they are passed by on the way to and from the airport. Here are some places that are worth checking out if you get the chance. 

1. Tennozu Isle 

Tennozu Isle is perfect for anyone who wants to have a long and relaxing stroll amidst a beautiful Japanese landscape on a waterfront. It’s also an artist’s haven and offers unique shops like the Pigment, which has thousands of pigments in every imaginable color and shade! Anyone interested in architecture should also drop by the Archi-Depot Museum, which showcases the best that architecture has to offer. Make sure to drop by the Terrada Art Complex, which showcases contemporary art and pop-up galleries. All of these shops are artwork and photo-worthy in themselves. Cap off your stay with a relaxing afternoon snack or meal in Tennozu Isle’s many  restaurants by the water.

2. Ryutsu Center

For those who want to be near Japan’s lush nature, make sure to drop by the Heiwajima Park and the Wild Bird Park at the Ryutsu Center! This nature preserve hosts a wide variety of different and unique birds of all shapes and sizes. Take a closer look at these fascinating birds by using the park’s telescope and learn about new breeds of birds by dropping by its library. A visit to the Heiwajima Park is undoubtedly a great way to jumpstart your trip to Tokyo or to just get out of the city!

3. Parks at Showajima and shrines at Tenkubashi

If you want a taste of a traditional Japan, make sure to drop by and check out other parks at Showaima, great for plane-watching and enjoying the night lights from the airport and across the bay, and shrines at Tenkubashi. Tenkubashi in particular boasts of a traditional Japanese scene with stunning sculptures and architectural shrines reflective of the ancient Japanese culture. 

Summary

Japan is indeed a tourist hub that offers both conveniences through its transport systems, such as the Tokyo monorail. The monorail opens up a lot of different awesome destinations faster and conveniently, so tourists and foreigners can enjoy Japan. If you have a chance, make sure to maximize your travel via the Tokyo Monorail, commute efficiently and enjoy everything Japan offers!

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