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Crazy Train System in Tokyo

Recently, I saw a Japanese TV show about ranking the busiest train stations around the world. I was surprised to see that train stations in Japan won 23 places out of the top 25.

The 24th place was Paris Nord Train Station from France and the 25th, Taipei Station from Taiwan. Apart from those two, Japan went further and collected 45 places out of the top 51. 

  1. Shinjuku Station (ประมาณ) 1.2 พันล้านคนต่อปี
  2. Shibuya Station 1.09 พันล้านต่อปี
  3. Ikebukuro Station 9 ร้อยล้านต่อปี


Reference from http://www.japantoday.com/

The top three stations rank  as follows.

  1. Shinjuku Station (aproximately) 1.2 billion people/year
  2. Shibuya Station 1 billion people/year
  3. Ikebukuro Station 0.9 billion people/year

They are all stations in Tokyo!


Shinjuku Station

I am not exaggerating if I say that the number of people using Shinjuku Station is as many as the population of China. Every area of Shinjuku has its own things that induce so many people to visit.

If you go to the West side of Shinjuku, you will see so many office workers in a hurry to get to their offices on time. Also you can find famous tourist places such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, and many department stores here. Going out from the East Exit, you can find Kabukicho, an amusement area at night. People drink with colleagues and friends until the following morning, or just stay overnight in a Karaoke box…

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Tokyo’s Subway is crowded!


Many lines from different railway companies go through this station, and the bus terminal is located near it. Shinjuku Station has made Guinness World Record of the number of users.

You have to be careful not to bump into people when you’re at  the station…

I was scared when I first started working in Shinjuku. You even have to be careful when exiting the station that you don’t take the wrong exit.

Even though I have become accustomed to the station, it is still difficult to guide people with directions. Since it is this hard for Japanese, I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would be for foreigners.


Ranking from 4th to 15th


  1. Umeda Station (Osaka)
  2. Yokohama Station (Kanagawa)
  3. Kitasenju (Tokyo)
  4. Nagoya Station (Aichi)
  5. Tokyo Station (Tokyo)
  6. Shinawaga Station (Tokyo)
  7. Takadanobaba Station (Tokyo)
  8.  Namba Station (Osaka)
  9. Shinbashi Station (Tokyo)
  10. Tennoji Station (Osaka)
  11. Akihabara Station (Tokyo)
  12. Kyoto Station (Kyoto)


It is understandable that Umeda Station located in the center of Osaka ranks the fourth and the fifth goes to Yokohama station, the tourist center of Kanagawa. But I was surprised by the sixth, Kitasenju Station.

I cannot believe there are more passengers than Paris from France, main tourist destination Kyoto, and the central parts of Tokyo such as Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station.




Kitasenju Station is far away from downtown and it’s not one of the Yamanote Line stations. I would say, this station itself is not really attractive. Then why?

It is because this station connects many lines, and many people from Tokyo, Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture, Tochigi Prefecture, and Gunma Prefecture use this station to change lines on the way to work.

The results of a survery conducted stated that more than half of workers in Tokyo spend more than an hour getting to work. I wonder how that compares to commuters in other parts of the world?

Rush hour in Tokyo, which is from 7:30 am to 9:30 am, and around the time the last train leaves, 11:00 pm~, is the most crowded times.

This is what Shinjuku Station looks like at rush hour ↓


From wikipedia


I recommend that visitors to Japan try to avoid these rush hour times as much as possible.

One time, in a super crowded train I saw a man with his guide dog. Even though the dog was being stepped on and kicked by the other passengers, it stayed resolutely by its masters side. The sight almost made me cry.

In particular, when there are accidents or the train is late and the schedule gets delayed, the platform becomes flooded with people and it can be dangerous. When a train finally does come, it is often so crowded that only 2-3 people are able to get on.

You should be particularly careful if you have small children or big pieces of luggage with you.

Although Tokyo’s train system is convenient, you do have to plan your routes and times carefully!


The Yamanote Line’s new trains


Although I have not tried riding them yet, the new trains have an updated appearance and hanging commercial ads have been forbidden. There are 30 LCD monitors on the trains playing videos and still images.


If you are able to ride one while in Tokyo, you are lucky!




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