Tokyobling's Blog

Nagoya Subway

Posted in Places by tokyobling on December 6, 2011

In Europe it is very rare for any city in any country other than the capital to have a proper subway system, but many of Japan’s larger cities have them, and Nagoya is no exception. With six subway lines connected a total of 47 suburban rail lines, Nagoya despite being the car manufacturing capital of the world has a good system of rail transport. Serving 87 stations are 762 trains, taking 1.15 million passengers on average. Compared to the 168 stations and 6.33 million passengers of the Tokyo Metro (one of the two subway systems in Tokyo) and the between 1-2 million passengers in one of the Tokyo stations (Shinjuku) every day, it is quite small.

I took some boring photos when I visited last weekend, it was interesting to see how the map of the Nagoya Subway really looks a bit like the JR Map of central Tokyo, don’t you think? It was also my first time to notice Hatchii, the mascot character of the Nagoya Subway. It is based on the Shachihoko, a mythical figure (sort of a cross between a tiger and a carp) particularly famous here in Nagoya.

One thing you might notice from the pictures is the abundance of signs. Each and every year there are more and more signs posted in Japanese subway systems. Usually signs appear as a response to some sort of incident or problem (a passenger complaining that they couldn’t find the right ticket gate, an accident or any number of even smaller problems) but some stations are now so full of signs that in Tokyo I have even seen signs posted on top of other much larger signs. I wonder if there will ever be a critical flash point where people will start complaining that there are just too many signs?

Still, Japanese subway systems are the cleanest and most efficient subway systems that I have ever been on and as long as you can handle the morning and early evening congestion it is usually a totally pain free experience. I only wish that Nagoya can drive up the number rides per capita so they can lower the prices to Tokyo levels. In Tokyo the cheapest ticket is 160 yen (a trip of one to three stations), while in Nagoya it is 200 yen.


21 Responses

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  1. andy1076 said, on December 6, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Wow Vancouver could seriously learn from the system there, the Skytrain system we have is full of fare evasion and nowhere as clean as this station.


    • tokyobling said, on December 6, 2011 at 4:50 am

      Fare evasion… don’t get me started! In all my time in Japan I have only seen it 2-3 times…!


      • andy1076 said, on December 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

        The fines must be way up there huh!


        • tokyobling said, on December 7, 2011 at 12:37 am

          I’ve never heard of any fines, I think there are fines but they never really bother catching anyone and it is so rare it just doesn’t occur to people. Fare skipping is essentially theft, which is not very big in Japan (^-^;)


          • andy1076 said, on December 7, 2011 at 1:33 am

            Wow, the western world must seem insanely crazy then with all the petty crimes that happen around here lol 😀


  2. Emma Reese said, on December 6, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Indeed the subway map of Nagoya looks a lot like the JR map of Tokyo. I’ve never noticed it before. I don’t think Japanese will reduce the number of signs; the same goes for the detailed on-the-train announcement as well as the kind yet superfluous warnings. ^^


    • tokyobling said, on December 6, 2011 at 5:48 am

      Haha… you are right! But there will be saturation at some point! This morning my train’s speakers were on for most of the journey, automatic messages as well as the driver imploring sitting passengers to tuck their legs in to make more room for standing passengers.


  3. bonnie said, on December 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    i find the subway lines in japan so confusing because there are just millions of lines! Even local Japanese say they get lost all the time!


    • tokyobling said, on December 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      It is confusing in the beginning, and especially if you do not know the names of the places you are visting in the first place. It quickly gets easier though, but I too get lost or confused sometimes, especially the different types of train services and how they interconnect and what station and which platform you need to transfer at. Very confusing!


  4. zoomingjapan said, on December 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I really like the train system in Japan.
    I LOVE travelling via train here! Everything is so easy, fast and comfortable! 🙂
    I don’t know much about the train systems in other countries, but the one in Germany is horrible!!! And never on time!


    • tokyobling said, on December 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      German trains are never on time? I had no idea! It’s an idea we have that Germans are really good at timetables. I haven’t been to Germany in many years though. Yes, I love Japanese trains too, it is so relaxing to travel on the long distance routes. The morning rush hour can be a little bit daunting sometimes but still… you get used to it! (^-^)


      • zoomingjapan said, on December 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm

        Oh, actually WE are, just the trains are not :/
        I love sitting on the window side and just stare out for ages. It never gets boring!

        Luckily I don’t have to use the train to get to work. I live very close to my workplace and can go by bicycle.
        I live in a very small city anyways.

        Whenever I’m in a big city like Tokyo or Osaka and get caught in the rush hour, it is very stressful indeed.
        I cannot imagine doing that every day tbh!


        • tokyobling said, on December 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm

          Good! I’m happy to hear that! (^-^) Me too, I’m always happiest on trains, it is when I reformat my brain I think. Relax and never worry about anything. You are lucky to live so close to work, in Japan it is very difficult to arrange both job and room with walking distance. I use both trains and subway every day…!


          • zoomingjapan said, on December 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

            Living so close to work is only possible because it’s really “inaka” where I live, so there are a lot of disadvantages, too!
            It takes forever to get to bigger citites and nothing is going on here. No concerts, almost no karaoke places or whatever.


  5. Sabine said, on December 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    This reminds me so much of the London Underground. But more cleaner with aesthetic appeal. It would be interesting to go on one of the trains and compare it to what it’s like travelling around over here.


    • tokyobling said, on December 7, 2011 at 12:36 am

      It is neater and sleeker than the London tube, not as shabby-chic though. But the biggest difference is the size of the trains and the tunnels, much much larger than the London tube! Japanese tourists to London always comment on that. (^-^)


      • Sabine said, on December 8, 2011 at 12:53 am

        Wow, I really can’t imagine then what it’s like when it comes to rush hour in the mornings and evenings. It’s terrible here but there it must be worse than sardines in a tin can :p


  6. dafarmer said, on December 8, 2011 at 3:44 am

    I wish we had trains that didn’t cost over $200 US dollars just to ride them. We have no trains in Arizona unless you ride the Amtrack but then I’d have to drive over an hour to get to it or the one in the Grand Canyon…which is the $200 ride.


    • tokyobling said, on December 8, 2011 at 8:49 am

      That sounds bad….! I always thought it would be a great experience to ride coast to coast on an American train…!


      • dafarmer said, on December 9, 2011 at 5:16 am

        Wow that’s be an expensive train ride….I think just to ride a train from Arizona to Orlando was going to cost me well over $600 per person..


        • tokyobling said, on December 9, 2011 at 5:18 am

          Is it only me or is the world upside down lately? Train rides are more expensive than flying even though it is the most economical form of transport after the bicycle… (>_<)


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