There are a number of useful bus services running from the Ueno area that you can use to access other parts of Tokyo. There are also a small number of express bus services that run from Ueno to other cities around Japan. In this article we will introduce Ueno’s best city bus, sightseeing bus, and highway bus services.
Regular city bus services in the 23 wards of Tokyo are operated by Toei Bus. You can find three Toei bus stops right across from the Main Exit of JR Ueno Station.
At bus stop 1 you can catch bus草39 bound for Kanamachi Station which stops on the way at the Asakusa Kaminarimon Gate of Sensoji Temple.
At bus stop 2 you can catch bus上23 bound for Hirai Station which stops on the way at the Asakusa Kaminarimon Gate of Sensoji Temple, and Tokyo Skytree Station.
At bus stop 3 you can catch bus上46 bound for Minami-Senju Station which stops on the way at Shitaya-Jinja Shrine, and Asakusa-Koen-Rokku which is convenient for 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 entered at the front and you pay your fare immediately on entering the bus. When you want to get off the bus, exit at the rear door.
Throughout Tokyo’s 23 wards Toei Bus operate a flat rate fare for a single ride. This fare is currently 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 fare and this is actually cheaper. Just swipe your card across the card reader on entry and you will be charged 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 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. This pass can be bought from subway ticket machines, or on board buses or streetcars and it costs 700 yen for adults and 350 yen for children.
The S-1 Shitamachi Bus
The S-1 Shitamachi Bus is a special sightseeing bus service run by Toei Bus that takes in the famous areas of old “downtown” Tokyo. This bus makes stops at Tokyo Station, Ueno Park, Asakusa, and Tokyo Skytree. Although this bus looks different to other Toei buses, the flat fare is the same and you can also use PASMO and SUICA IC cards to pay your fare.
In Ueno you can catch the S-1 Shitamachi Bus from the Ueno-Koen-Yamashita bus stops which are on Chuo Dori Street. This street runs in front of Keisei Ueno Station. Buses that stop immediately outside the station on the west side of the street are bound for Kinshicho Station via the Asakusa Kaminarimon Gate of Sensoji Temple, and Tokyo Skytree Station. Buses that stop on the east side of the street across from the station are bound for Tokyo. For more information on the route and timetables check the tobus.jp English website.
The Skytree Shuttle
The Skytree Shuttle is operated by Tobu Bus as a loop 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 Ueno you can catch this bus from a stop in front of the Ueno Park Exit which is just a little further north and uphill from JR Ueno Station’s Park Entrance. For further details check the official Skytree Shuttle webpage.
Megurin are local sightseeing buses which run four different circular routes through Tokyo’s Taito ward. Three of these routes run through the Ueno area. The buses run at regular intervals of 15 – 20 minutes and come in a variety of colorful and retro designs.
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-South Route Megurin bus stops at bus stop 1 which is just outside the Iriya Entrance of JR Ueno Station.
The South Route Megurin bus stops at bus stop 1 which is on Asakusa Dori Street and directly across from Ueno Police Station. Please note that Megurin bus stops are numbered according to their location along each route, so bus stop 1 for the North-South Route and bus stop 1 for the South Route are actually different bus stops in different places.
The East-West Route Megurin bus follows a more complicated route and runs through Ueno twice. In the early part of its route it stops at bus stop 2 which is in front of the Ueno Park Exit and close by the Skytree Shuttle stop. In the later part of its route it stops at bus stop 21 in front of Keisei Ueno Station and then again at bus stop 22 which is in front of the Ueno Park Exit.
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 runs through Ueno and Akihabara. To ride it you need a one day pass which costs 3,500 yen for adults, or 1,700 yen for children. This 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 Bus Ticket Counter, or at the Narihira office which is in front of Tokyo Skytree Station.
In Ueno the regular Sky Hop Bus Stop is a 10 minute walk south of JR Ueno Station on Chuo Dori Street. You will find it outside the Minamikan building of Matsuzakaya department store. Here is a map of the location. For more details check the official Sky Bus Tokyo website. On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays you can also catch this bus from a stop across from the Main Entrance of JR Ueno Station. This stop is right beside Toei bus stop 1.
Highway Buses from Ueno
There are a small number of regional express bus services that run from the Ueno area. However, you will need to reserve your ticket in advance to use these services.
JR Bus operate an overnight bus service for Toyama and Kanazawa that departs from a stop by JR Ueno Station’s Iriya Entrance at 22.10. This bus arrives at Toyama at 6.00, and at Kanazawa at 7.10. For fare and booking details check the kousokubus.net website.
Kintetsu Bus operate an overnight bus service that runs from the Ueno Eki Mae stop to Kyoto and Osaka. The bus departs at 22.15 and arrives at Kyoto Station at 5.55 and at Osaka Station at 6.51. The Ueno Eki Mae stop is located south of JR Ueno Station on the west side of Showa Dori Street and right outside the office of NTT Docomo. For fare and booking details check the Kintetsu Bus website.
Keisei Bus and their partner companies run overnight bus services from the Keisei Ueno bus stop to Wakayama, Nara, and Kyoto. This bus stop is in front of Keisei Ueno Station. The bus for Wakayama departs at 22.00 and arrives at JR Wakayama Station at 7.25. The bus for Nara departs at 22.50, arrives at Kintetsu-Nara Station at 6.55 and at JR Nara Station at 7.01. the bus for Kyoto departs at 23.20 and arrives at Kyoto Station at 6.40. For fare and booking details check the Keisei Bus website.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.