Any trip to a foreign land is daunting and there are so many questions. One of the biggest questions is how to get around this new place. This is especially of note in Tokyo and Japan where English isn’t the native tongue and the flow of traffic is on the opposite side of the road than what Americans (and many other countries) are used to. In this post, we’ll cover the most readily available transportation options around Tokyo Disney Resort and the rest of Japan including JR Rail Pass.
Let’s start within Tokyo Disney Resort since, ya know, this is a blog about Disney theme parks. That’s not to say that a trip to Japan should only be about Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The rest of the country is phenomenal, as are the two parks.
Most of the transportation decisions once at the resort will be dependent on where you stay. We’ve covered the options in detail in this post but, in short, it comes down to whether you’re staying on site, at an official hotel or at a partner hotel (or elsewhere in Tokyo or Urayasu). For the first two options, the best route for transportation is the monorail.
As you can see in the map above, the monorail has 4 stops. Starting at the top, Bayside Station will include all of the Official Hotels like the Hilton and Sheraton, as well as the new Toy Story Hotel. Tokyo Disneyland Station will include the titular park and hotel. Tokyo DisneySea Station does the same and also includes Hotel MiraCosta. Finally, Resort Gateway Station includes the Disney Ambassador Hotel, Ikspiari (like Downtown Disney) and is a jumping off point to those coming and going from elsewhere at Maihama Station.
The monorail is a great and easy mode of transportation. We didn’t encounter any problems with it ever closing, even after staying well past closing most nights in the park. Unlike Disney World and Disneyland, it does cost a very small fee but it is well worth paying for. There are also buses that will run between these 4 spots and walking is an option, although a bit long and confusing from certain stations.
If staying off-site at a partner hotel, there might be direct buses to and from the resort. That would be the cheapest (possibly free) and easiest option. Outside of a taxi, the other option is public transportation. I’ll touch more on that in a minute but Tokyo has an excellent albeit confusing train system. If you’re taking a train into Tokyo Disney Resort then you will go into the Maihama Station. From Tokyo Station, that’s about a 20 minute ride and is only around $2 USD. Having said that, we’d recommend staying closer to the resort at one of the hotels on property.
The final piece of the puzzle is getting to and from the airport. Once again, there’s public transportation in the form of trains that will get you there. That’s likely the cheapest option but will take some figuring out. There are also buses to and from the Narita and Haneda airports. These are direct buses that usually cost around $10 for a one-way trip. If you’re only worried about transportation from Tokyo Disney and the airports, without going anywhere else, then the buses are the easiest route to go and still quite cheap.
On a broader note, traveling throughout the country via train is fantastic and I couldn’t recommend JR Rail Pass highly enough! What the Rail Pass offers is traveling throughout Japan in a prepaid format. Users will pick either 7, 14 or 21 day ticket and then will have access to any JR train and bus throughout the country. Trains are clearly marked both in person and in Google Maps so you don’t have to worry about getting on the wrong one and JR’s cover most routes. The rail passes do include Shinkansen trains (bullet train) so traveling across the country from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka, for example, is a breeze. Rides are unlimited for however many days are selected.
I adore Kyoto and would recommend it to anyone visiting Japan. With that in mind, getting a JR Rail Pass for one portion of the trip before or after time in Tokyo and TDR is the most frugal route while still exploring the country. There are also regional passes offered if you’re staying in one section of Japan but they aren’t as good of savings as the national pass, not to mention a ride on the Shinkansen is a real highlight.
If you do stick to one area, paying out of pocket for each train ride is an option. Short train rides throughout major cities don’t typically cost much. For the most part, trains are comfortable and an enjoyable ride. Some will get extremely crowded if caught during rush hour or in a busy area. Outside of those times, I’ve never run into any problems.
If you want to do something other than trains and buses then… well, taxis are probably the best option but the price is extremely high. Renting a car is quite a process and requires obtaining an international drivers license. Then, just make sure you drive on the right side of the road, and by that I mean drive on the left side of the road. Classic joke. Really, renting a car is far from necessary unless you’re opting for somewhere very rural in Japan. Any of the major cities will have plenty of transportation options.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed traveling throughout Japan and in Tokyo Disney Resort using their public transportation. There is plenty of signage around to keep you informed and Google Maps lays things out pretty well too! We recommend the trains and keeping routes as simple as possible and wouldn’t anticipate any problems from that point.
Do you have any questions about traveling through Tokyo Disney Resort and Japan? Let us know in the comments below! Planning a trip to Tokyo? Check out our guide to help you along the way! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Vacation Tips