A typical Tokyoite’s day starts and ends with a (crammed) train ride. The efficiency of the Tokyo train system means that workers residing in the suburbs can commute to their workplace in the morning and retire to their homes in the evening, even if their residence is 50 kilometers away. To while away the time, the Japanese have perfected the art of reading books while standing in a moving train, as well as sleeping and waking up right when the train doors open at their destination.
Enochlophobics, or people with a fear of crowds, wouldn’t want to be on a train platform in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station on a weekday rush hour. On an average day, 3.5 million people pass through this station, making it the busiest train station in the world. Five train companies stop at Shinjuku, mostly serving routes to Tokyo’s western suburbs. The station is also a very bad place to get lost, as there are over 200 exits to serve the massive passenger count.
The Yamanote Line is a 34.5-kilometer railway loop line that roughly defines central Tokyo. A complete loop takes around an hour, and passes through Tokyo’s most important districts such as Ueno, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. Northbound from Shinagawa to Tabata stations, the Yamanote Line is supplemented by the parallel Keihin-Tohoku Line, another important train line connecting Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures.