Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tokyo Subway Metro Train Guide in Japan


For those who are traveling to Tokyo, Japan for the first time, you are definitely feeling nervous as you try to understand how to read the complicated subway map which connect 18 subway lines to each other. Initially, I had similar dilemma trying to understand the subway map but I didn't get the concept until we tried riding the subway train on the first day at Tokyo, Japan and somehow, we began to understand the connection of every different colour coded with a letter to represent the subway line while the number at the bottom of the letter shows the station number. Actually there are only five main subway companies which operate these 18 subway lines in Tokyo.

For instance, I am planning to take a subway train from Shinjuku station to Shibuya station. Shibuya station is located below of Shinjuku station in the map. There is no connection subway line directing from Shinjuku to Shibuya stations thus, I have to change the subway line during the journey. Firstly, I ride on M08 (Marunouchi Line) from Shinjuku station to Asakamitsuke (M13) station. Then I move and transfer to another subway line G05 (Ginza Line) from Asakamitsuke station to Shibuya station at G01. Since both Marunouchi and Ginza Lines are operating under Tokyo Metro Line thus, I don't have to buy an additional new ticket. However, if I change the subway line from Tokyo Metro to Toei Line then, I need to get new tickets as they are two different subway companies. Subway train tickets can be purchased at ticket kiosks at subway trains in Tokyo. All you do is to follow the instructions in English and press the button for assistance if you are having trouble. (Note: They will attend to your problem immediately by person or behind the machine kiosk.) 

Japan is well-known for proper etiquette. When you ride on escalator, please remember to follow Japanese Escalator Etiquette. When you are traveling at Tokyo and other parts of Japan, please stand and stay on the LEFT side of the escalator in order to give way to other users who are on the hurry to pass by. On the other hand, when you travel to Osaka, please stay and stand on the RIGHT side of the escalator in order to give way to other users to pass by. 

A complete of Tokyo subway train map in Japan
A complete of Tokyo subway train map in Japan
Five main subway train companies operating 18 lines in Tokyo, Japan
Five main subway train companies operating 18 lines in Tokyo, Japan
Different colour coded with a letter to represent every subway company followed by a number in an order to show the route of a train in Tokyo, Japan
Different colour coded with a letter to represent every subway company followed by a number in an order to show the route of a train in Tokyo, Japan
Check out the priority signs at subway stations in Japan before queuing as there are special lanes for elderly, pregnant women, mothers with children and for ladies
Check out the priority signs at subway stations in Japan before queuing as there are special lanes for elderly, pregnant women, mothers with children and for ladies
Japanese Escalator Etiquette is by standing on the left side in Tokyo while standing on the right side in Osaka in order to allow others passing by
Japanese Escalator Etiquette is by standing on the left side in Tokyo while standing on the right side in Osaka in order to allow others passing by in Japan

Alternatively, you can ride on the City Train or Yamanote Line (JR East Green Line) to explore some of the city's famous landmarks and attractions in Tokyo and helps to save your journey time from interchanging the subway lines. The Yamanote Line connects most of Tokyo's major stations and urban centers like, Tokyo Station, Akihabara, Ueno, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Roppongi Hills, Ebisu and Ikebukuro. 

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(Source: GaijinPot via Youtube)

My Older Post:
  • Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


  • Friday, August 8, 2014

    Japan Culture & Vending Machine Introduction


    I grew up watching Japanese dramas and had been falling in love with their culture and food. I always wanted to travel to Japan at least once in my lifetime but everything is so expensive and out of my budget when I had to think about the costs of a return air ticket, accommodation, riding on bullet train, etc. Japan is the only country on the Earth (that I know) has a combination of traditional and modern culture which goes hand in hand.

    When my dream came true to travel to Japan recently, I was very excited and there was a lot of reading and preparation to do in order to understand the transportation system, adapt the culture and  learn some basic Japanese words. It is not difficult to learn about Japanese culture and lifestyle as you can find many short videos uploaded online to guide the first time visitors like me. For me, I was very amazed with their excellent customer service culture (hospitality or also known as Omotenashi in Japanese). Japanese staff will engage some simple friendly conversation during your checkout payment and even bow to customers before they leave the places. You will be surprised to how they pack food and presents the products in very detailed manner to ensure they become handy to carry around. This kind of hospitality is rare to find in many developed countries.  



    I was even astonished to see many kinds of vending machines in Japan. The vending machine is not restricted in selling drinks only but you can find any kinds of vending machines from selling cigarette, beers, hot food, ice-cream, packed fresh bananas, etc on the streets, in the train stations and even in the hotels as well. Japanese really love animals. You can find pets on the streets. They treat their pets as part of their family members and are willing to spend on their pets. Japan is one of pet friendly countries in Asia besides, Taiwan. Japanese bring their pets for a walk in the park and taking them on public transportation, as long they are staying in their crates.

    Most visitors complain about small hotel rooms but to me, it's not a big deal. We spent the whole day (until late night) strolling, shopping and eating outside rather than staying in a hotel room. A hotel room is the place where we need to rest and sleep before we continue our trip the next day. Majority of hotel rooms are small unless you are willing to pay for 5 star hotels there.  

    There is a culture practice which you need to remind yourself when you are standing in front of thee counter checkout. We normally hand our cash payment on cashiers' hands but in Japan, it is slightly different culture. When you pay or get your change at the cashier counter, all the transaction have to be done by placing the cash on the small tray. The small tray is normally positioned in front of the customer at the cashier counter.

    Public transportation especially the subway train and bullet train is very convenient to travel from city to city. It takes some time to digest and understand Japan Subway System and the routes. Every subway company represents a single colour code with the first letter (represents the company name) followed by numbers in order, traveling from one point to another point. For more information on the timetable and route of a bus, subway train and train ride, please refer to Hyperdia website. The alternative will be depending on the recommendation via Google Map after keying the locations from point A to point B.    

    (Source: WAORYU ONLY in Japan via Youtube)

     Saying Thank you by flashing a few times with the hazard lights.
    (Source: TheJapanChannelDCom via Youtube)

    Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
    Welcome to Japan signboard with robot screen at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan. You will be surprised to see the airport staff remove the luggage from the conveyor belt by arranging them in an order with the luggage' handlers facing up for your convenience to grab the handlers immediately before leaving the airport.

    As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan
    As soon as we see Tokyo Skytree, we know we are reaching Tokyo downtown from Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan

    Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan
    Typical small room with bathroom is sufficient for a place for tourists to rest before continuing your journey in Japan

    Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance in Japan
    Ordering your Japanese meal by paying cash through vending machine which is located in front of the main entrance before the meal is prepared and served in Japan

    All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan
    All cash transaction have to be placed on the small tray in front of the cashier machine in Japan

    The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan
    The portion of Japanese ramen and set meal are generous and the prices are reasonable too in Japan

    Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan
    Japanese customer service is incredible to the extend this cake is packed with dry ice and a plastic spoon attached on the top box in Japan


    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Taipei's Jiufen, YinYangHai & JinGuoShi Golden Waterfall in Taiwan - cont'd


    If you followed my previous posts, I mentioned about hiring a private taxi (cab) for a day trip to outside of Taipei city of Taiwan. There is a popular day trip which includes the tour to Yehliu Geopark (Rocks Formation), Shifen Old Street, Jiufen Old Street, Yin Yang Hai and Jin Guo Shi Golden Waterfall. This is the continuation of my day trip with the private taxi (cab) to Jiufen Old Street, Yin Yang Hai (Ying Yang Sea) and Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall) before heading back to Taipei City for my dinner and night shopping at Raohe Night Market.

    We headed to Jiufen Old Street after visiting Shifen Old Street. Jiufen Old Street is located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan. This small town became developed rapidly due to a gold rush during Japanese occupation in 1893. Many buildings at Jiufen Old Street remain unchanged to this day, as to reflect Japanese influence on the architecture and the culture on the island. Jiufen Old Street becomes popular as a tourist destination from a popular Japanese animated film called Spirited Away. The Spirited Away animated movie is based on Japanese architecture concept of the old buildings from Jiufen Old Street. Jiufen Old Street is crowded with visitors who travel from within Taiwan or outside of Taiwan, to watch fantastic ocean view from Jiufen town while trying variety of delicacies there. 

    After having your delicious lunch and tea at Jiufen Old Street, the day tour will move on to the next famous location at Yin Yang Hai (Yin Yang Sea) and Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall). Both of these sites are located on the way heading out of Jiufen Old Street. Yin Yang Hai (Yin Yang Sea) is another spectacular view of yellow and blue sea at the gulf while Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall) is a gold ecological park. Jin Guo Shi (Golden Waterfall) is named after the golden yellow of mud appears on the stream water and it sparkles like gold under the sunlight.

     
    Jiufen Old Street is located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan which is famous for food and scenic view
    Jiufen Old Street is located in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan which is famous for food and scenic view

    The unique architecture of Jiufen Old Street has become an inspiration for the Japanese animated film Spirited Away in Taiwan
    The unique architecture of Jiufen Old Street has become an inspiration for the Japanese animated film Spirited Away in Taiwan


    A magnificient view of Jiufen Old Street outside of Taipei city in Taiwan
    A magnificient view of Jiufen Old Street outside of Taipei city in Taiwan

    Marvelous view of Yin Yang Hai (Keelung Peace Island) in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan
    Marvelous view of Yin Yang Hai (Keelung Peace Island) in Ruifang District of New Taipei City in Taiwan


    The spectacular view of yellow and blue sea at the gulf of Yin Yang Hai which is located near to Jiufen Old Street in Taiwan
    The spectacular view of yellow and blue sea at the gulf of Yin Yang Hai which is located near to Jiufen Old Street in Taiwan


    The best spot for admiring Chin-Shui Highway 「meandering winding」 attractions at Jingming Pavilion in Taiwan
    The best spot for admiring Chin-Shui Highway 「meandering winding」 attractions at Jingming Pavilion in Taiwan


    Jin Gua Shi (Golden Waterfall) appears golden yellow in the stream water and sparkles like gold under the sunlight in Taiwan
    Jin Gua Shi (Golden Waterfall) appears golden yellow in the stream water and sparkles like gold under the sunlight in Taiwan


    13 layer Heritage Site (terminal destination) for processing ore and copper during Japanese colonial nearby  Jiufen in Taiwan
    13 layer Heritage Site (terminal destination) for processing ore and copper during Japanese colonial nearby Jiufen in Taiwan


    My Older Post:
  • Taipei Shifen Sky Lantern - cont'd
  • Taipei Yehliu Geopark (Rocks Formation)
  • Alishan (Ali Mountain) in Chiayi County, Taiwan
  • Sun Moon Lake Temples for Blessings in Taiwan (Part 2)
  • Taiwan Sun Moon Lake, a stunning landscape view (Part 1)
  • Taroko (Marble) Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan
  • Tamsui Lover Bridge & Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei 101 Observatory & Shopping in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei National Palace Museum in Taiwan (one of the largest Chinese Historical collections in the World)
  • Ximending in Taipei (a busy night street for shopping and food) in Taiwan
  • An Introduction to Taiwan