The capital’s gigantic public transportation system can be a shock to the system for new arrivals.
For many foreigners moving to or visiting Japan, their first stop is Tokyo. But while Japan’s capital boasts an extremely comprehensive and reliable public transportation system, it can be a little overwhelming for new arrivals in the country.
If you’ve ever gotten lost trying to get from Point A to Point B on Tokyo’s trains and subways, though, don’t feel bad. Even some people who were born and raised in Japan feel overwhelmed when diving into the city’s massive rail network, including Japanese Twitter user @Ositeireru, who grew up on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. “When I lived on Shikoku, I used to think you’d have to be a caveman or something to screw up when transferring,” recalled @Ositeireru. While his choice of words is pretty harsh, he kind of has a point. Looking at the simple map of Shikoku’s straightforward Japan Railways lines, it does seem like it’d be pretty hard to get turned around while riding it.
“But then I moved to Tokyo,” @Ositeireru continued, “and I was all like ‘Whaaaaat!!!???’”
▼ Japan Railways Tokyo network
And that’s just one company’s above-ground transportation offerings. The train lines of other operators, such as Tokyu, Odakyu, and Seibu, aren’t shown on the JR map. Oh, and don’t forget about Tokyo’s crisscrossing collection of subway tunnels that snake through the center of the city.
So remember, there’s no need for embarrassment if you hop on the wrong train in Tokyo. Everyone does it at one time or another, and while an unplanned detour will make you a little later getting to your destination, you just might find something awesome along the way.
Lost in Tokyo? Ask Casey for directions on Twitter.