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How do Japan’s subway and rail systems compare with other countries?

26 Comments

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26 Comments
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Mostly clean? Yes. Mostly on time? Yes. I hear tale this is better than many systems but I often drive when I am abroad. But I take other systems enough to appreciate how quiet they are. There are not the endless irritating announcements that drive me nuts in Japan; just "Doors closing" or "Next stop ..." It is now at the point where on some lines in Kansai there are constant announcements for the whole journey.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese trains are excellent, but ditto on the announcements, especially for speakers of English and Japanese, as they get to listen to the same inane messages twice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In my personal experience, its the second best after Canada's. Japan's public transport is excellent to be sure, but like with anything and everything in life there is always room for improvement.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There is no such thing as a perfect railroad system but I feel it is very good in terms of speed, cleanliness, punctuality and service. In other words it's very efficient like France, Austria, and Swiss trains. However all railroad systems have some weaknesses. In the end their are many other railroad system throughout the world that are pretty good.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I come from the UK, so you'll never hear me complain about the Japanese rail systems!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

99.9% of Japanese railway stations have zero aesthetic value.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

zero aesthetic value.

zero Western aesthetic value.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

From on time service and area-coverage standpoints, I think Japan's rail systems are at the top of the top of the best in the world.

Something I find rare is in Japan I can sit on a fabric covered seat that hasn't been sliced up and taped over or 'tagged' by graffiti.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

One Japanese comedian's views on the UK rail system seems fairly accurate:

She spoke of the punctuality of the British train system compared to its Japanese counterpart. In Japan, Kotani said, trains are on time. A sign that she saw, trumpeting that 93% of trains on London Overground ran within five minutes of their scheduled time over a given month would, in her home country, she said, be seen as an apology—or a confession.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I dunno. I take JR quite a lot and when I am hurrying to the station I am always praying they won't be screwed up. In reality it happens rather more often than some might believe or want to believe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Unparalleled.

If the train says they'll be there or leave at a certain time, will do so on the dot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

second to none in my experience...although the crowding is also second to none too-and the delays by sucide... But the actual system itself is incredible in the big cities-but not nearly as good in some parts of the country. Having said that the stations are unnecessarily noisy in terms of announcements and particualrly the fairly long pieces of music that preceed them...After living in London for ten years I thought the stations were loud there-but upon returning to visit after living in Tokyo for ten years I found the sataions were comparatively quite due to the lack of unnecessary electronic music preceeding announcements.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

99.9% of Japanese railway stations have zero aesthetic value.

That's the spirit! I was afraid this softball question would leave the Japan bashers without anything to say. Though I think the train stations look quite nice on average.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

England's used to operate on, when one bus was going in the opposite direction it meant yours was coming soon and generally it did.But if it didn't come,you waited forever.

Australia's was generally never on time or always running late.Um isn't that the same thing? Lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pretty good in all. Could do with a bit less crowding perhaps but hard to avoid given the number of people who live in the greater Kanto region.

When I lived in Tokyo I never owned a car, and when I move back I won't buy one either. Just not necessary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Better. Oh yes!

Still can't work out why JR in Osaka is cheaper than the chikatetsu, while in Tokyo it is the opposite. Maybe the economies of scale are different.

However, in Shikoku, just JR, clean and on time but timetabling is pretty odd sometimes. They stick to it though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if it were not for the daily 4-5 jinshin (Jumpers) they might be on time 100%.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

MsDelicious

To be fair it's not just jumpers there are also the dups that is not watching where s/he is going too busy sticking his nose into the phone, people who dropped thing on the rail and have the station personnel pick it up, fights on the train, some occasional sickness on the train which requires assistance stopping the train for periods of time, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was afraid this softball question would leave the Japan bashers without anything to say.

I know foreigners on Japanese TV are only allowed to praise Japan to the high heavens. You know... on the "日本はすごい!" type programs.

Perhaps you could appear on such programs... wide-eyed and brimming with praise for all things Japanese.

But I think this website is more interesting because there is a wider variety of opinions.

Regarding the stations... most IMHO are brutally functional and ugly.

Most of the larger stations are subsumed into large shopping complex buildings, which themselves are often very ugly.

Smaller stations IMHO have been built mainly for functionality and at minimum cost.

When you travel to countries such as Germany for example and see beautiful aesthetically designed stations all over the place, the contrast with Japanese stations is stark.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When you travel to countries such as Germany for example and see beautiful aesthetically designed stations all over the place, the contrast with Japanese stations is stark.

Why does Japan have to have nice stations like Germany? Maybe they have more money to spend for stations or any buildings. I agree Japan's buildings are shabby in general.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When you travel to countries such as Germany for example and see beautiful aesthetically designed stations all over the place, the contrast with Japanese stations is stark.

Funny. I was just there, and didn't find any remarkable difference. Must have been my wide-eyes again brimming with all things Japanese.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

aesthetically designed stations

Doesn't mean they are either functional or user friendly, only means eye candy. If I had to choose I would take a functional and user friendly mundane looking station over eye candy any day as an everyday user of the station.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

never rode a train in my life until I went to college in west philly and rode the subway once in a while. don't let your guard down or you may get jacked. saw police rush into a subway car once with guns waving. lots of excitement, maybe too much. Never had a crowding problem though. CHoose your poison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Southern Rail on strike. London Underground limited services due to strikes and all central London tube stations closed. And British Airways on strike. Yes, you're right there.

Better they stand up for their rights and think for them selves than allow them selves to become compliant company drones driven to suicide?

This outbreak of industrial action is newsworthy precisely because for several decades there has been very little major industrial action.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Too crowded - prefer to be more comfortable ride

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The crowding obviously depends on the line and the time. At certain times/directions, even Tokyo's Yamanote will leave you with enough room to swing a cat or two.

My only criticism of the lines would indeed be the frequency, volume and worthlessness or many of the announcements. The contrast between the normal subway/rail and long-distance services such the shinkansen or even the Skyliner is stark.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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