Peak-hour delays caused such overcrowding that some commuters were unable to enter stations in the nation’s capital.
It might look like brand new technology, but this surprising system is on a train that’s been running for more than forty years.
The wizardry starts when rush hour ends.
Compared to some of the cooler or more elegant-sounding parts of Tokyo, like Jiyugaoka (“Freedom Hill”) or Akihabara (“Field of Autumn Leaves”), the Shinagawa neighborhood has a pretty dull name, meaning essentially “Merchandise River.” Still, you have to admit it’s appropriate. Located near the mouth of the Sumidagawa river, for generations Shinagawa has seen plenty of cargo ships sail past as they ferry goods in and out of Tokyo’s ports.
The name even works in a figurative economic sense, as Shinagawa Station is a major rail hub that thousands of workers pass through every day on their way from their homes in the suburbs to their offices downtown. The facility is designed to keep passengers efficiently flowing in and out, but this morning the “river” got blocked due to a problem with the trains, resulting in perhaps the most crowded scene of rush hour in Japan that we’ve ever seen.
Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station is the Guinness World Record holder for busiest transport hub in the world, with an average of 3.64 million people passing through the station, which has 36 platforms and over 200 exits, each and every day. And it’s never busier than during the morning rush hour, with commuters from all over Tokyo and its neighbouring prefectures pouring through the station on their way to work. No wonder the trains are so crowded!
Since Ashley, our “Japan Wish” competition winner is currently in town soaking up as much Japanese culture as she can, we thought it would be great if she could experience the rush hour crush for herself and share her thoughts with her fellow RocketNews24 readers.
Check out the video we took of Ashley being squished like a sardine and see for yourselves how she rates the experience!
The Tokyo metropolitan subway system is notorious for being incredibly crowded at rush hour, with commuters packed into narrow train carriages like sardines in a can. You’re probably familiar with images of white-gloved train conductors literally pushing people onto trains in an attempt to squeeze just one more body on before departure.
It can be very scary being squished into a mass of people like that, and this particularly holds true in case of sudden incidents such as the one that occurred this week when the window of a train literally broke due to the pressure of all of those heaving bodies. Join us after the jump for images of crushed glass and scenes of utter chaos! Okay, it’s actually only a few cracks, but still…
Even though I could praise Japan’s efficient public transportation system for hours on end, there’s one major drawback about it that has left me traumatized on several occasions and never fails to induce terrifying flashbacks whenever I’m surrounded by too many people. You can probably guess what I’m talking about, right? Yup, it’s about how unbelievably crowded the country’s trains and subways can get during rush hour.
Anyone traveling in the Greater Tokyo Area or other metropolitan centers of Japan should be forewarned that the experience is not for the faint of heart–nor for the claustrophobic. I mean, you know it’s a bad sign when there are actually station staff on hand during peak rush hours to squeeze as many passengers as possible into each car. That said, if you’ve traveled or happen to live in Japan’s capital, you can undoubtedly sympathize with the following ranking of the most crowded train and subway lines in Tokyo at rush hour. And just so you don’t think Tokyo gets all the love, we’ve also thrown in the lists for Osaka and Nagoya, too!