Tuesday, December 28, 2010

tokyo subway

Tokyo's subway and train system is one the most extensive in the world. most of my trip around Tokyo was by train, though in many ways complicated but is the best and relatively the cheapest way to get around the world's most expensive city.
contradicting to most of the expected impressions of Japan's subway system as being completely modern, it isn't. being one of the oldest subway in the world, it still has that old aspects. but expect some stations that serves its major commercial districts to be extremely modern.
though old, it is well maintained and is very clean. where in Japan is not clean anyway? stations has digital signboards to show the arrival time of the next train. one of Tokyo's subway most impressive feature includes the Chiyoda line which has a platform located about 125meters underground.
this subway was once disrupted when the Aum Shinrikyo group, now known as Aleph, attacked this subway system with Sarin gas in March 20, 1995 killing seven people and injured about 500. remains to be one of the busiest rail system in the world. you can check out Murakami's book Underground for a detailed story on this.
i got confused when i was there because i downloaded online a map of Tokyo's subway system not knowing that this map only covers one company operator. which means the other two with its own line and stations was not included in the map.
the signs on each stations and the guided voice-over are in Nihongo and English. sounds easy but not when one reaches this multi-level subway. when i was there, i had to check it by approaching and asking people to re-confirm that on the right train. what surprised me was, when you approach other passengers to confirm if you're taking the right train, they'll do their best to help you. hardly understanding English but for simple directions, they are able to help. if they find it hard, they'll lead you to the train staff.tickets are sold based on the amount required to go to a destination where one station trip would usually cost to about 160JPY (about 80Php). if you're going around Tokyo the whole day, a day pass is recommended (see how to take a train below for details). normally open from 5:00am until midnight.how to take a train:
1. download or find a copy of the Tokyo Subway System (also available on some major stations and hotels) and check the closest station to your current location.
2. find the best option to get there as there will be several options. some trains pass by fewer stations while others pass by more stations.
3. check the subway map when you reach the station which will indicate the amount needed for you to pay to travel from one station to the other.
4. insert amount and get the ticket. best option when getting around Tokyo the whole day is to buy the day pass which is about 710JPY (roughly 350Php). you'll definitely save from this option.
5. get the ticket and check the level and transit line you'll be taking. this is the complicated part. the train levels or lines are color coded and comes with an alphanumeric code. but best to re-confirm it by asking the train operators in the area.
6. insert your ticket to the line entrance and find the side of your train that leads to your destination. it is best to re-confirm with the other passengers before proceeding.
7. take the train and while in transit, listen to the voice-over as there are times when you need to transfer from one train to the other.
8. when you take off the train upon arriving at the station, find the exit that leads to your destination or else you might get out of the wrong exit which is a bit far from the other exit.
9. exit your way by inserting again the ticket on your way out.

Recommended Ipod Touch/Iphone Application for Tokyo Train:
Tokyo.jp - best to show you Metro Line just by defining current location to destination.
Tokyo City Walks

27 comments:

Lawstude said...

nahilo naman ako sa map ng subway pero ang sarap mag-explore nyan kasi adventure to of a different kind.

cheers to more travels and more blessings in 2011.

Archie said...

nice, na-miss ko tuloy ung subway trips sa Korea. looks complicated pero madali na after the first ride. hehehe

looking forward to more of your travel stories (sana makasabit ako) in 2011

Photo Cache said...

mukhang malinis nga di gaya ng ny subway - amoy ihi at may daga pa. maduming tingnan sha.

d2 naman sa sf bay area may ibang stations na yucky din, dapat may dalang alcohol :)

i've always admired a city that has a reliable subway system for its citizens.

Bengbeng said...

Dong Ho,often u quote something in php but i cant quite get an understanding.. how much is that in uSD for example.. easier to get an understanding :)

so deep underground and a labyrinth of tunnels.... humans r going to a new level in civilization

alicesg said...

Looked so complicated. I hope to visit Japan next year but that got to depend on hubby's working schedule. Thanks for the info on the sub.

dong ho said...

>Lawstude, mas lalong nakakahilo kung nandun na sa dami ng lines. adventure nga talaga.

cheers to 2011!

>Archie, laki nga din daw nung subway ng south korea. yun parang gusto ko ring makita.

sure. looking forward to another tandem trip in 2011. di ko pa napost banaue adventure natin.

>Photo Cache, that's one of the really good thing about Japan's subway. havent tried any other subway though but they say this has to be one of the cleanest.

>Bengbeng, so sorry for that. ill include estimate of costs in USD on my next posts. usually you can roughly estimate 100yen to a dollar.

indeed a labyrinth of tunnels.

>hi Alicesg, that'll be great! i highly recommend Kyoto for culture then Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya for urban lifestyle.

princess_dyanie said...

Nakaka LRT ang flooring! Haha! :D Buti nalang mahilig ka sa adventure kundi define stress yan ahihihi ;)

Chyng said...

whoa, now this is extensive! super! and super mahal! =)

~ question: kung batad-banaue, may marerentahan din bang jeep? at san nga ulit yung kinwento mong homestay na mag-iiwan ng photo?

Luna Miranda said...

the subway map looks so complicated. good to know that you didn't get lost in translation.:p

i've been on subways in NYC and L.A. also in a few cities in Europe and in HK, and i never got lost. i was amazed kasi most of the time, wala akong sense of direction.:p

i've seen a lot of interesting "sights" in subways--especially in Europe. napapa-smile tuloy ako.:p

wishing you all the best in 2011--safe travels and great adventures!

Reena said...

what a map!!! and i thought i was complicated! lol

Borneo Falcon said...

The train don't look packed. Looks like the train lines covered Tokyo extensively.

Skippyheart said...

I take the subway going to work back then. Theirs look a bit more extensive...para yata mas medyo nakakalito dyan.

Anyway, wishing you a Happy New Year dong! Cheers to more adventures and exciting travels for you! Be safe as always!

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...

huwaw! sana makapag-japan someday at magamit ko subway tips mo :) happy new year dong!

Panaderos said...

Be they old or new, I noticed that the subway stations were all clean. Kudos to the Japanese for their cleanliness and discipline.

A belated Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year to you, my friend. Tae care.

Rizalenio said...

A friend discouraged me to list Japan sa mga bibisitahin kong bansa. He told me na expensive lahat sa Japan - from hotel, food, etc.

Thanks for sharing your photos. Parang nakapunta na ako ng Japan. Nakakahilo nga ang map. Hahaha.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

dong ho said...

>Hi Dyanie, hahaha... it was exciting transferring from one line to another.

>Hi Chyng, it's actually one of the largest subway system.

on your question:
yes you can rent a jeep from banaue to bontoc and vice versa (special). the hotel is Simons.

>Hi Luna, it is indeed complicated. what i do is to ask before riding and while riding to assure i'll get to my destination.

good that you survived those subways. i heard they are as extensive as the ones in japan.

wishing you the same thing for next year!

>Reena, hahaha...

>Borneo, it really is and the photos taken here were taken on a sunday that's why the trains are not that full.

>Hi Rebecca, it really is complicated but when you start learning how to read the codes for each lines, it helps.

thanks! sending the same wishes to you while you're not in the Philippines.

>Hi Gay, glad to see you dropping by Eskapo. let me know when you're going there. i highly recommend Kyoto for a deeper experience of Japan's culture.

>Panaderos, great to see you dropping by Eskapo! it sure is clean and systematic in Japan and i heard some stories about other subways being untidy.

wishing you a happy new year!

>Rizalenio, it sure is expensive but if you really want to experience their culture... it's worth it.

nuts said...

ganon, di pa at its cleanest para sa kanila yon.

Happy New Year to you and your family Dom! have a safe trip to Sagada and Banaue!

greg urbano said...

great series of photos really following your storyline, great job!

eric said...

exciting! parang nahilo ako kaka titig sa subway map ahaha

pwede pag laruan --> connect the dots! ahhaha

lagalog said...

I wish you more travels and more blessings this coming 2011 bai. Enjoy the Sagada break :D

Traveling Hawk said...

Thanks for sharing these important pieces of information.

Happy New Year, 2011!

asiong32 said...

sir dong, happy new year!!!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

The cleanest I've seen so far is in Singapore. Dito naman sa New York, the subway is not always clean. Now they've just increased my monthly unlimited fare to $104! The only good thing about it is it runs 24/7.

Happy New Year Dong!

Raft3r said...

nakaw
maliligaw ako sa ganyan
hindi pa naman ako mahilig magtanong
hehe

happy 2011, dong!!!

bertN said...

Malinis ngang di hamak ang subway nila. Happy New Year and keep on traveling.

SandyCarlson said...

That looks like one incredible system. It boggles the mind, what so many other minds can create.

Drew said...

Tamang-tama pupunta ako sa Japan bukas. #asa haha!

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