Travel Report: How To Ride The Tokyo Subway, Trains & Electric Lines Part II.
Want to get the full picture? Before reading this why not start with my article: How To Ride The Tokyo Subway, Trains & Electric Lines Part I.
February 2019. Once you’ve got your passes and a fair idea of the lay of the land all that’s left to do is enjoy The Tokyo Subway, one of the most reliable and efficient subway systems in the world! Personally I loved it as everything ran like clockwork and, as incredibly busy as it often got, Japanese etiquette dictates that for the most part it’s all totally manageable.
People queue up in an orderly fashion, wait for others to disembark before getting on and in the carriages themselves there’s an acute awareness of volume levels and a respect for personal space. It’s the definitive antidote to the shitty behavior I had to deal with day in day out in China, so I found myself utterly charmed by the Tokyo vibe.
February 2019. I had no idea there were women only carriages on The Tokyo Subway. Until that is I found myself sitting in one and staring at the sign. Oops, the last time I checked I wasn’t a woman so figured I was probably in the wrong place. But then on closer inspection I saw that the women only rule is strictly for the weekday rush hour period finishing at 09:30. Introduced as far back as 1912 in Japanese society, women only carriages were brought in to protect Tokyo’s females from “wandering male hands”. This has caused controversy, with men’s rights groups (yup they exist) having openly demonstrated against a perceived discrimination, while there have even been cases of physical violence against men foolish enough to try and board carriages during lady time!
February 2019. Visually Tokyo’s Subway and train stations are a real treat. Clean, modern and packed with cool art, it felt like there was always something interesting to check out from paintings, statues and stained glass windows to a vast range of cool posters championing correct Subway etiquette and anti terrorism measures.
It was also fun meeting Miraitowa (blue) and Someity (pink), a pair of bouncy extraterrestrial mascots for The 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics respectively. Both events are to be held in Tokyo. Created by Japanese artist Ryo Taniguchi, the mascots were selected over thousands of designs after a long and hard fought competition process. Miraitowa is named after the Japanese words for future and eternity, while Someity is a reference to a breed of Cherry Blossom tree.
My favorite train experience in Tokyo was the amazing U Line, also known by its less sexy moniker New Transit Yurikamome. This is Tokyo’s fully automated 16-station monorail line which provides dramatic views across the city waterfront. I was lucky enough to grab the front seat on a sunset trip back into Central Tokyo from Odaiba Island. It had just started raining and the light was starting to fade, offering up an amazing blend of bleeding orange, grey, blue and pink as we rumbled between flanking skyscrapers. Great stuff!
Finally then I’ll leave you with some Tokyo Subway people shots, from a soap opera watching woman and manga reading man to a typical slab of Asian selfie stick silliness. God bless them all!
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