Getting around Tokyo - Tokyo Railway System

Saturday, September 26, 2009 Posted by YY on 9:15 AM

I can't agree more with everyone else about how complicated the railway network is in Tokyo.
When K first took a look at the map, he was totally confused and it didn't help that he paid S$10 for the maps *HAHA*

The railway system
Full Railway Map for Tokyo (pdf)

But if you use the Train Route Finder , you are going to plan your supposed route in a breeze cos you will know which line to take, where to change trains. But there is a twist to it, *pardon me for the pun* Tokyo railway stations are huge with lots of stairs, signs, twists and turns. One of the largest stations is the Shinjuku Station with 60 exits.

What I can tell you is, once you exit by the wrong exit, you are unlikely to find your destination..so note down the exit name on your google map. And should you be confused about which line you are taking, look for the color representing that railway service.

For example, Green is for Yamanote and Blue for Chuo Line.




Buying tickets

Cash is accepted at the machines. If you want to specify the number of tickets to buy, press the necessary button on the side of the ticket machine. Else the machine is gonna take it that you are buying 1 ticket.



Behaviour in trains
Eating and drinking is allowed in the trains but the Japanese are very civic minded. They do not litter in the trains. This is pretty interesting considering SG needs to impose fines to deter people from eating in the trains. The Japanese needs none of these. What a fine city we are~

From what we observed, the Japanese normally keep themselves occupied with their handheld devices during the train ride, no loud chats, no noisy pesky kids running around.

K drinking Meiji Milk in the train(below). The only downside is that there are no bins around, so you gotta hold on to your garbage for the entire ride.




Different types of train

There are different train types in Japan. Some of those we saw:
  • Local Trains, 各停
  • Limited Express, 急行
  • Rapid Limited Express,快速急行
  • Express, 特急
Other than  各停 trains which stops at EVERY station, the rest of the trains may not stop at your destination. By checking up before hand, you can also check out which type of train brings you to your destination faster.
For Express Trains, there is a premium price to pay. But seriously, at times the journey time differs by 10-15mins(say between Limited Express and Rapid Limited Express) or so...why spend the extra cost?

The picture below(left board) shows the various trains arriving, their train types,  destination and arrival time. The board on the right shows the stops at which that particular train will stop.






Must try Milk Station in Ikebukuro

We chanced upon this fantastic Milk Station near the Ikebukuro North Exit while walking towards the JR gantry. They sell local made dairy products like yogurt, milk(coffee and plain flavour), pudding and Morinaga products. For bottled items that are more than 200ml, you have to drink and return the glass bottle on the spot, for other sizes you can take away.

Every morning, I look forward to getting my drink here after munching my 100yen breakfast on my way to the station. We have tried their plain/coffee milk, yogurt..mmmm satisfying!



They even indicate the Fat Percentage for the milk for each day.



Some of the products they sell. Not really cheap I would say..but the milk products sold are really creamy and fresh.


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