Tokyo Transport: Tsukuba Express (TX) つくばエクスプレス
The train takes 45 minutes from Tokyo's electronics mecca of Akihabara to Japan's "Science City" of Tsukuba, passing through 20 stations - all Wi-Fi spots as are the high-tech carriages.
The Tsukuba Express connects with the Yamanote Line, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Tokyo subway and Chuo-Sobu Line at Akihabara Station. There are further connections with other railways in Tokyo at Shin-Okachimachi, Minami-Senju and Kita-Senju stations.
The Tsukuba Express also intersects with the JR Musashino Line at Minami-Nagareyama, the Tobu Noda Line at Nagareyama-otakanomori, and the Kantetsu Joso Line at Moriya.
The Tsukuba Express costs 1,190 yen for a one way journey between Akihabara & Tsukuba and runs four types of train: local (57 minutes; all stops), semi-rapid (52 minutes; 14 stops), rapid (45 minutes; seven stops) and Commuter Rapid which operates only during morning and evening rush hours. The Commuter Rapid makes 11 stops in between Akihabara and Tsukuba (49 minutes). The line carries over 230,000 people daily and the rapid trains reach speeds of 130km/h. Prepaid IC cards like the Suica and Pasmo cards can be used on the Tsukuba Express and the fare is slightly cheaper if you purchase a ticket using a smart card. TX does not accept the Japan Rail Pass.
The Tsukuba Express runs on an elevated track so there are no level crossings and each station is equipped with platform doors for safety. Blue signs lead to the platforms and yellow signs to exits.
Announcements on the train are in Japanese and in English too. The next station is displayed on electronic boards in the carriages in both Japanese and English, with connecting lines also announced.
The first car is reserved for women at certain times of the day: traveling to Akihabara from the first train of the day till 9am and travelling from Akihabara to Tsukuba from 6pm until the last train. Carriages can get crowded at most times of the day especially at rush hour and on rapid trains.
The first Tsukuba-Akihabara train is 5.59am and the last 11.14pm; The first Akihabara-Tsukuba train is 5.30am and the last 11.45pm arriving in Tsukuba at 0.43am.
The last three departures from Akihabara Station on weekdays are all locals to Moriya and depart at 11.57pm, 0.09am and 0.18am.
The last three departures from Akihabara Station on weekends are all locals to Moriya and depart at 11.57pm, 0.08am and 0.18am.
Tsukuba Express Stations
All 20 stations on the Tsukuba Express Line are: Akihabara, Shin-Okachimachi (Toei Oedo Line), Asakusa, Minami-Senju (JR Joban Line; Hibiya Line), Kita-Senju (JR Joban Line; Tobu Skytree Line; Chiyoda and Hibiya lines), Aoi, Rokucho, Yashio, Misato-chuo, Minami-Nagareyama (JR Musashino Line), Nagareyama-centralpark, Nagareyama-otakanomori, Kashiwanoha-campus (for the campuses of nearby University of Tokyo and Chiba University), Kashiwa-Tanaka, Moriya (Joso Line), Miraidaira, Midorino, Bampaku-kinenkoen, Kenkyu-gakuen and Tsukuba.