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Travelling on public transport a la Nippon

Even for the confused tourist it is easy to move around. Perfectly organized, superfast, comfortable, reliable, service-orientated – all these attributes are not enough to do Nippon transport system justice.  Once in a while the sheer masses are a bit frightening, not inside the trains, but in the stations.  But with everybody being so respectful and considerate, .

Shinhansen – Bullet Train

All stops are marked in English and announced in clear English. Lots of staff is available in the stations, on busses or streetcars to help, most likely they don’t speak English, but they get you where you want to go by sheer devotion.

For Tokyo and Yokohama, I used the same pass travelling all day on trains, subways and busses. Unbelievable, isn’t it? These passes are quickly recharged at machines that explain the simple procedure in English as well.

Tokyo Subway map

In the stations of Tokyos’ metro system barriers prevent people from being pushed onto the tracks.

Most exciting is travelling on the Shinhansen, but I had to stop sitting next to the window. I simply got nauseous looking outside and the scenery racing past so fast.

Shinhansen – Bullet Train

Even streetcars, like in Hiroshima move fast, they all run on their own separate tracks undisturbed by cars. My favorite trip was a one-hour tram-ride from Hiroshima to Miyajima-Gauchi, where the ferry leaves for the island of Miyajima. The tram literally raced down the track, despite stopping every 300 meters.

Tram from Hiroshima Miyajima-Gauchi

Even buses I mastered. This was most important in Kyoto, since the main sights are in opposite corners of town.

I found it quite irritating in the beginning that people could not simply storm out off a bus/streetcar when getting off but in Japan that is the moment when you pay. Most likely by swiping your pass or dropping the exakt amount in a machine, which Even spliss out your change. In the beginnen I thought this would slow down getting off, but it doesn’t. Because: in the meantime people are getting on through a different door. And as we all know, boarding takes longer, especially when crowded.

Inside street car

What I liked most was the seriousness and dedication of the employees in public transport. They politely say good bye to their passengers and each of their gestures signals it is important for them to do their job well.




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