Heading to Tokyo? Easy Guide to Figure Out The Subway System

Published on April 22, 2012 by   ·   No Comments

(Tips From Lonely Planet) 

Tokyo has one of the most efficient transit systems in the world. It’s also one of the most expansive, which can sometimes be overwhelming to visitors. But, fret not! Lonely Planet has put together a handy guide for navigating Tokyo’s train system smoothly:

  • During morning and evening rush hour, certain cars on express commuter trains are set aside for women only; they’re marked by pink signs on the platform. Groping on crowded trains, while not rampant, does happen.
  • In most train cars, the seats in the corners are set aside for elderly, handicapped and pregnant passengers. Technically mobile phones need to be switched off around these seats – but you’ll see lots of locals breaking this rule.
  • The Japanese are big fans of queuing and form neat lines on the platform where the train doors are expected to open. That said, once you’re in, you need to be quick and agile if you want to score a seat.
  • Eating, loud conversation and talking on the phone on the train will earn you dirty looks. Texting and falling asleep on the shoulder of the stranger next to you are okay.
  • All train stations have toilets that are pretty clean, though they don’t always have toilet paper, soap or hand dryers. Most have coin lockers, too.
  • Lost items are recovered at a remarkably high rate. If you lose something, report it at one of the Lost & Found windows (marked in English) or, if you can’t find one, at any station windows. Most station attendants don’t speak English, so if gesturing and diagramming fail you, have your hotel call the lost and found hotline number for the appropriate train operator.
  • Seasoned commuters make note of which train cars match up with the escalators at the stations where they plan to transfer or exit, and ride accordingly. Look for cheat sheets posted around the platform diagramming each station on the line.

-Smith

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