By Steve Morton
Tokyo is one of the world's largest and most sprawling cities, with an extensive subway system renowned for being crowded and confusing to navigate, but you can make the city much more manageable with a seat on the Sky Hop Bus. A one- or two-day pass gives you unlimited "hop-on/hop-off" access for three different routes covering many of Tokyo's most popular locations, including Asakusa, Skytree, Ginza, Marunouchi (access to Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace grounds), Odaiba, Roppongi and Tokyo Tower.
Riding the Sky Hop Bus gives you a fantastic view of the city and convenient drop-off points right in front of Tokyo's most sought-after destinations. The Asakusa－Tokyo Skytree course, for example, begins right across the street from Tokyo Station (in front of the Maruonouchi Mitsubishi building) and whisks riders to stops close to Akihabara Electric Town, Ueno Park, Kappabashi (a.k.a. Kitchen Street), Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa's Sensoji Temple, and Nihonbashi. Spend a day or two exploring these and other spots on your personal itinerary without worrying about transportation logistics－simply hop-on and hop-off as you please.
As you ride above the traffic on the open-top double-decker Sky Hop Bus, you can take advantage of the free multilingual (English, Chinese and Korean) audio program giving information on the places you pass. Do you know why many of the Buddhist altar shops in Asakusa only face north? Or how high Skytree reaches? The answers can be found through your Sky Hop Bus earphones. There is also a guide on hand providing live Japanese commentary and any customer service you might require.
For schedules and routes, as well as information on the special Skybus Tokyo tours, visit the Skybus.jp website. No reservations for Sky Hop Bus are necessary－on travel day simply show up at one of the many clearly marked stops and hop-on. The rest of your itinerary is up to you.
While you can board the Sky Hop Bus (and purchase tickets) at any of the 20-odd clearly-marked and strategically located stops along the three routes, the main ticket office at Marunouchi's Mitsubishi Building is the main hub and transfer point. The Narihira office in front of Tokyo Skytree also contains a service desk, information and advance-purchase (via travel agency) ticket pick-up.
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