A couple of days ago this little graph surfaced online displaying some interesting statistics. It’s a bar chart of the busiest train stations in the world, measured by the number of people who pass through them each year.
Perhaps coming as no surprise to those who have experienced its mind-numbingly complex transport complexes, Japan tops the list. What is surprising is the degree to which Japan dominates this list, with all but six stations residing here, and about half of them in the Tokyo area alone.
The following are the five busiest train stations in the world, although you woudn’t know it’s an international ranking just by looking at it.
#5 Yokohama Station (Kanagawa, Japan) – Approx. 760,000,000 people per year
Image: Act clipper2 – Wikipedia
Located in Yokohama city near the border of Kanagawa Prefecture and Tokyo, this was one one of Japan’s first great stations. A few moves and destruction caused by the Great Kanto Earthquake left it in its current location now.
The station is the nucleus to a vertically and horizontally sprawling commercial area hosting most if not all of Japan’s major chain stores like Takashimaya and Yodobashi Camera.
#4 Umeda Station (Osaka, Japan) – Approx. 820,000,000
Image: J o – Wikipedia
As a resident of Osaka, this station is my own slice of nightmare. Every time I go there it tends to end with me huddled in a corner crying. This multilevel serpentine station hosts ever running rivers of people bumping into one another walking in every direction at the same time.
Remember one of those typical video game levels where you constantly walk through one door only to find yourself in the same room until you throw your controller at your little brother? It’s kind of like that.
But we’ve only just begun.
#3 Ikebukuro Station (Tokyo, Japan) – Approx. 910,000,000
Located in the heart of Tokyo, it’s no wonder Ikebukuro station is so heavily used. As a result it’s home to a bevy of attractions like gourmet hotdogs, penguins on waterslides, alleged teenage girl viewing clubs, and the occasional Cornman sighting.
Ikebukuro Station feeds lines into Shinjuku Station along with…
#2 Shibuya Station (Tokyo, Japan) – Approx. 1,090,000,000
Image: RGB256 – Wikipedia
Also in the center of Tokyo, Shibuya station has a kind of nice atmosphere to it that can almost distract an agoraphobe from the hordes of commuters passing through. The station also features large, eye-catching artwork from Taro Okamoto.
There’s also a statue to Hachiko near one of the exits. Hachiko was the dog immortalized in Japanese and (to a lesser extent) American movies as the dog who faithfully waited for his dead master outside of Shibuya station for nine years.
Shibuya and Ikebukuro Stations stand on either side of Shinjuku Station. You can probably see where this is going.
#1 Shinjuku Station (Tokyo, Japan) – Approx. 1,260,000,000
Image: Shinjiro – Wikipedia
Many people are often in awe of Shinjuku Station’s massive size or complain about its complexity, built to handle over one million daily commuters. I don’t know what their problem is. Here’s a perfectly simple map of the place:
Actually this is just the JR-East railway section of the station which accommodates four other train operators. So multiply that map by about three and you’ll have the rough make-up of the basic station. Throw in all the other shopping and entertainment facilities often found around train stations and you have a labyrinth that’d make David Bowie give a whistling admiration.
The above graph leaves little in the way of concrete details such as the date of the information, so it’s hard to gauge how accurate the data is, but checking a few of the station’s statistics it seems to check out.
For example, India’s beautiful Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus reportedly handles 3,000,000 people a day but it’s uncertain.
Also, if the rapid development of China continues unabated we may soon see more of their stations popping up in the rankings. So, you may want to take these figures with a grain of salt.
Here’s the full list of 51 stations. If you don’t live in Japan there’s a slight chance your country is on there.
1 Shinjuku (Tokyo, Japan)
2 Shibuya (Tokyo, Japan)
3 Ikebukuro (Tokyo, Japan)
4 Umeda (Osaka, Japan)
5 Yokohama (Kanagawa, Japan)
6 Kita-Senju (Tokyo, Japan)
7 Nagoya (Aichi, Japan)
8 Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)
9 Shinagawa (Tokyo, Japan)
10 Takadanobaba (Tokyo, Japan)
11 Namba (Osaka, Japan)
12 Shinbashi (Tokyo, Japan)
13 Tennouji (Osaka, Japan)
14 Akihabara (Tokyo, Japan)
15 Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan)
16 Sannomiya (Kobe, Japan)
17 Omiya (Saitama, Japan)
18 Yurakucho-Hibiya (Tokyo, Japan)
19 Nishi-Funabashi (Chiba, Japan)
20 Meguro (Tokyo, Japan)
21 Daimon-Hamamatsucho (Tokyo, Japan)
22 Ueno (Tokyo, Japan)
23 Oshiage (Tokyo, Japan)
24 Paris Nord (Paris, France)
25 Taipei Railway Station (Taipei,Taiwan)
26 Machida (Tokyo, Japan)
27 Gare de Chatelet (Paris, France)
28 Kawasaki (Kanagawa, Japan)
29 Roma Termini Railway Station (Rome, Italy)
30 Tamachi-Mita (Tokyo, Japan)
31 Kyobashi (Osaka, Japan)
32 Funabashi (Chiba, Japan)
33 Ayase (Tokyo, Japan)
34 Hamburg Central Station (Hamburg, Germany)
35 Yoyogi-Uehara (Tokyo, Japan)
36 Kamata (Kamata, Japan)
37 Gotanda (Tokyo, Japan)
38 Kichijoji (Tokyo, Japan)
39 Kaneyama (Aichi, Japan)
40 Musashikosugi (Kanagawa, Japan)
41 Fujisawa (Kanagawa, Japan)
42 Oimachi (Tokyo, Japan)
43 Nakano (Tokyo, Japan)
44 Tachikawa (Tokyo, Japan)
45 Iidabashi (Tokyo, Japan)
46 Kashiwa (Chiba, Japan)
47 Hakata (Fukuoka, Japan)
48 Tsuruhashi (Osaka, Japan)
49 Nishi-Nippori (Tokyo, Japan)
50 Nakameguro (Tokyo, Japan)
51 Zurich Main Station (Zurich, Switzerland)
Source: Himasoku (Japanese)