Most of the major tourist spots around Asakusa can easily be reached on foot. However, there are a number of useful city bus services and sightseeing buses that you can use to explore a wider area of the city.
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The Skytree Shuttle Bus
The Skytree Shuttle is a loop bus operated by Tobu Bus that runs between Ueno and Tokyo Skytree via Asakusa. The flat fare for a single ride is 220 yen for adults and 110 yen for children. If you use a PASMO or SUICA IC card, the fares are cheaper: 216 yen for adults and 108 yen for children.
In Asakusa you can catch this bus from a stop on the south side of Kaminarimon Dori Street and from another stop which is close by the A2 Exit of Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station. You can also catch it from the Asakusa View Hotel. For further details check the official Skytree Shuttle webpage.
Megurin Sightseeing Bus
Megurin are sightseeing buses which run four different circular routes through Tokyo’s Taito ward. Three of these routes include Asakusa. The buses run at regular intervals of 15 – 20 minutes. A single ride costs just 100 yen for both adults and children, but you can also get a One Day ticket for 300 yen. IC cards such as PASMO and SUICA are also acceptable on these buses. You can download English language PDFs of both a route map and a timetable and guide for this service.
The North Route Megurin bus stops at bus stop 1/30 which is just outside the east exit of Tobu Asakusa Station.
The East-West Megurin bus also stops at bus stop 1/30 which is just outside the east exit of Tobu Asakusa Station.
The North-South Route Megurin bus stops at bus stop 17 which is across the road from the east exit of Tobu Asakusa Station.
The Sky Hop Bus
The Sky Hop Bus is an open-top double decker bus that runs a number of sightseeing routes in Tokyo.
The Asakusa-Tokyo Skytree course also takes in Ueno and Akihabara. You can buy a one day pass for 3,500 yen for adults, or 1,700 yen for children which is valid for 24 hours on any of the routes. You can simply hop on and off the buses as you please. Tickets are available on the buses themselves and at the Marunouchi Mitsubishi Building Sky BusTicket Counter, or at the Narihira office which is in front of Tokyo Skytree Station. At Asakusa the Sky Hop Bus Stop is an 8 minute walk to the north of Tobu Asakusa Station on Edo Dori Street. Here is a map of the location. For more details check the official Sky Bus Tokyo website.
Toei City Bus
Toei Bus run regular city bus services throughout the 23 wards of Tokyo. There are a number of useful Toei Bus services which you can board in the Asakusa area.
Bus東42甲runs between Asakusa and the Yaesu Exit of Tokyo Station. You can board this bus at bus stop 10 which is just across the road from the east side of Tobu Asakusa Station.
Bus 草64 runs between Asakusa and Ikebukuro Station’s East Exit. You can board this bus at Bus Stop 13 on Umamichi Dori Street which is on the west side of Tobu Asakusa Station.
Bus 草63 also runs between Asakusa and Ikebukuro Station’s East Exit. You can board this bus at Bus Stop 3 which is a short walk south of the A2 Exit of Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station.
Bus上46 runs between Asakusa and Ueno Station. You can board this bus at Bus Stop 1 which is a short walk north of the A1 Exit of Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station.
For more details of Tokyo bus routes and specific timetables check the tobus.jp English website.
How to Use Toei Buses
Toei buses are accessed through the front door and you pay your fare on entering the bus. When you want to exit the bus, get off at the rear door. Toei buses have a flat rate fare per single ride of 210 yen for adults and 110 yen for elementary school children. Children under 1 year of age can ride for free, and up to two pre-school children (aged 1-5) can ride free of charge if accompanied by a paying adult. You can also use the PASMO and SUICA prepaid IC cards to pay for your fare and save some money. Simply swipe your card across the card reader on entry and be charged just 206 yen for an adult or 103 yen for a child.
Toei Bus Discount Passes
Toei also have some discount passes available. The Toei Bus One-day Pass gives one day’s unlimited travel on Toei buses throughout Tokyo’s 23 wards. It can be bought on Toei buses and costs just 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children.
The Toei One-day Pass (also called the Toei Marugoto Kippu) gives one day’s unlimited travel on the Toei Subway, Toei buses, the Toei Streetcar Arakawa Line, and the Nippori-Toneri Liner. It can be bought from subway ticket machines, or on board buses or streetcars and costs 700 yen for adults and 350 yen for children.
The S-1 Shitamachi Sightseeing Bus
The S-1 Shitamachi Bus is a special sightseeing bus service run by Toei Bus that takes in the older “downtown” areas of the city. Along the route are stops at Tokyo Station, Ueno Park, Asakusa, and Tokyo Skytree. Despite its distinct appearance the flat fare for this bus is the same as for other Toei buses and you can also use PASMO and SUICA IC cards to pay your fare.
In Asakusa these buses run roughly every 20 minutes from stops along Kaminarimon Dori Street. Buses on the north side of the street run in the direction of Tokyo Skytree, and buses on the south side of the street run in the direction of Ueno. For more information on the route and timetables check the tobus.jp English website.
Highway Buses from Asakusa
There are a limited number of overnight highway bus services from Asakusa run by regional bus companies. The highway bus stop is a short walk from the north exit of Tobu Asakusa Station on the west side of Edo Dori Street. However, you will need to reserve your ticket in advance of your journey.
Kintetsu Bus operate a night bus service from Asakusa to Kyoto and Osaka. This bus leaves Asakusa at 22.00 and arrives at Kyoto Station at 5.55, and at Osaka Station at 6.51. Fares for this service vary between 7,500 yen and 9,500 yen depending on the travel period. You can check for further details on the Kintetsu Bus English website.
Ryobi Bus operate a night bus service from Asakusa to Okayama and Kurashiki. This bus leaves Asakusa at 21.37 and arrives at Okayama Station at 7.13 and Kurashiki at Station at 8.00. Fares for this service start at 6,200 yen. For details check the Ryobi Bus English website
In addition to these two services, Tohoku Express run night bus services to Yamagata, Toyama, and Kanazawa. However, this company does not have an English website, so you would need to book these buses through a travel agency.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.