All About Japan

Video Map of Tokyo's Trains Has Us Hypnotized

| Trains , Tokyo

If you were going to describe the Tokyo morning commute in a single word, “crowded” would definitely be the one to use. However, it’s not just the trains that are crowded at rush hour, but the tracks too. During the busiest part of the morning, it’s not unusual for trains to be less than five minutes apart on the most heavily used lines, and none are more heavily used than East Japan Railway's Yamanote Line, which loops around downtown Tokyo. To illustrate just how many trains are rolling along the Yamanote during peak commuting hours, Japanese YouTube user badger has put together this animated map of a typical morning for the central Tokyo train network, with the Yamanote Line marked in bright green.

The video starts at 4:24 in the morning, when the first train of the day appears on the sky blue Keihin Tohoku Line, for which some trains pass through the same stations (though on different platforms) as the Yamanote. Roughly an hour later, at 5:30 a.m., things are already starting to get busy, with Yamanote trains picking up and dropping off passengers at major stations such as Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Akihabara.

As startling as the snapshots are, it’s even more mesmerizing seeing badger’s model in motion, with so many trains circling about it’s almost hypnotic. Odds are the commuters actually stuck on those trains every morning don’t have quite such a whimsical image of the situation, though.

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