Tokyo train riding strategy

4 years ago by in Travel

N.B. I don’t want to make a habit of borrowing peoples pictures but in this case I have to admit, I am too chicken to take pictures on a train. Many thanks to the people who gave me permission to use their pictures.

Today I condense my 7 years of wisdom and summarize everything I know about riding a train in Tokyo.

Personally, traveling 1 hour sandwiched inside a small space is not a very fun way to start the day, so much so that it usually takes about an hour in the office to get my groove back.

A lot of people only have on objective when they get on a train. Our first instinct is, secure a seat ASAP. If we don’t see a seat we give up and just stand up. But there is so much more to this, let me explain.

First!
Do you grab a train before rush hour or not? That’s up to you ^^ Getting one early is a hassle, but if it means you get to the office nice and fresh, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

Okay, it looks like you guys have taken the other option. –> To brave the rush hour commute.

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Source Picture from gullevek
The line:
When lining up you want to face furthest away from the flight of stairs that lead to the exit, this way people are less likely to leave the train in your direction.

22acb8f21719165f845d253e689d36bb1 Tokyo train riding strategy

Source from om_4t
where do you normally stand?

When on the train, let say you couldn’t grab a seat. You have a few possible locations to choose from.

1 priority seats area
2 door way
3 middle passage

People have this weird thing about standing around the door way. People don’t naturally spread out. so 2 is sandwich central. Avoid it like a plague.

which is better 1 or 3.

In my opinion – 3.

priority seats are best reserved for the people who really need them. chances are even if you find a seat, you should give it up to those who would appreciate a seat.

e502debabaaa4b1b66240df356a68cf51 Tokyo train riding strategy

Source from curiousbrandt
(we men need ventilation it seems)

Okay, you chose option number 3. So, are we finished?

Actually this is where the fun part begins. Now you have about 7 seats to choose from. Which one is the best?

if it was all empty, i would say either the 2 on the far sides. I particularly like the handle bars that separate the seats because if you sit next to a guy, chances are, they will sit with legs wide apart.

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Source from Kevin Krejci

okay, lets say you choose a seat based on who is sitting in front of you. Who do you choose?

here are a few pointers
Sleepers – this is easy. Don’t stand in front of them, they will probably have a long trip ahead of them
Keitai users / Gamers / readers – watch for them to pack up! These guys are also about to give up their seats
lookers - people who keep checking every stop or likely to be close to their destination. These are the ones to look out for ^^

Extra pointers – there are a number of stations that have other lines connected to them. These places like Shinjuku and Ikebukuro see loads of people jump on and off. watch out for those too ^^

Well, that’s it 7 years of train riding summarized in 1 article, hope you find it useful.

Happy riding