How to travel between Mito and Tokyo

By JR limited express train

Mito and Tokyo (Tokyo, Ueno and Shinagawa stations) are connected by twice-hourly Hitachi and Tokiwa limited express trains along the JR Joban Line (around 70 minutes, 3820 yen one way, covered by the Japan Rail Pass, the Tokyo Wide Pass and a few other regional JR passes). Seat reservations can be made in advance at ticket offices and selected ticket machines and ticket offices.

It is possible to board the train without prior reservation and pay the supplement on board of the train, however, the fare increases by 260 yen. Furthermore, note that the train carries no cars with dedicated unreserved seats. Instead the availability of seats is indicated by a rather unintuitive system of lights above the seats. A red light means that the seat is currently available; however, it might change to orange which indicates that somebody with a seat reservation will soon use this seat. Lastly, a green light indicates that the seat is taken.

By JR local trains

The one way ride from Tokyo (Tokyo, Ueno and Shinagawa stations) to Mito by local trains takes about two hours and costs 2270 yen. The Seishun 18 Kippu can make sense for a day trip to Mito. There are two direct trains per hour from Ueno Station and occasional direct ones from Shinagawa and Tokyo stations.

By highway bus

Multiple companies operate one or more highway buses per hour between Tokyo (Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit) and Mito (Mito Station). The one way journey takes about 2.5 hours and costs 2080 yen, while a round trip ticket is available for 3900 yen.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.

Orientation

Mito is a relatively compact city. The majority of its attractions are located within two tourist hubs: around Mito Station in the heart of the city and around Kairakuen Garden which is around a 30 minute walk west of Mito Station. All attractions are located within walking distance of these respective landmarks. Note that during the peak of Mito's plum festival, some trains on the JR Joban Line stop at the temporarily served Kairakuen Station near the garden.

Public transportation around the city is provided by buses which are operated by multiple companies. Thankfully, the companies are cooperating with each other to offer tourists a 1-day bus pass for 400 yen that covers all buses in a designated downtown area that includes Kairakuen Garden and many other tourist spots.