Japan: Mass Transit


As far as we know, there are three separate underground train systems in Tokyo (there could be more). The Metro line, The Toei line and The JR line.
We got lost. A lot.

Fortunately the train line signs were color-coded, numbered and most were in both Japanese and English.

A word of caution from one traveler to another... if you ever find yourself in Tokyo and having to navigate the subway system, you can choose the 'hard way' (the trial and error method) or take the 'easy way'. Choosing your station 'number' and not trying to remember its name is 'easy'. Remembering the number of where you exited the station is another key point consideration in taking the 'easy way'.

The difference between exiting the Asakusa Station ( G19) vs. Akasaka Station (C06) and leaving the station at exit A5 vs. exit B4 could make a serious impact on marital harmony.

We learned the hard way.

I doubt seriously there was ever an argument against mass transit in Japan. The population of Japan is 127.5 million people and it is approximately the size of California. Now, imagine squeezing in 1/2 of the entire population of the USA into California. I don't think they'd fit, especially if they insisted on bringing their SUV's and/or Ford F150  pick-up trucks along.

The Japanese train system is incredibly precise, efficient and civilized.

Once you get to the train platform, everyone stands in line on areas that are clearly defined on the floor that tell you where the doors of the train will open. Sure enough, that's exactly where the train doors open! Then as passengers get out of the train, all embarking passengers stand aside. Nice.

A few of my own personal observation while riding the trains...
  • Cellphones were used to read books or newspapers while commuting. Very little texting going on and I only saw one guy actually talking on his cell phone. There are frequent announcements asking that cell phones are silenced while on the train.
  • Generally, Japanese women and men dress very well. The current trends for young women are false eyelashes, short-shorts or mini-skirts with boots. Most men are in fashionable dark suits and ties with  hip hairstyles. 

  • The trains and stations are very clean and well-lit.
  • Soothing music is played as the subway doors open and close. 
  • We didn't see any hired "pushers".In fact, there didn't seem to be a need for them.
There is something intrinsically wrong with this picture.

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