Tokyo by Train (2016)

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Tokyo by Train (2016)

Hey, guys. Greg here. My quest to spend a day on the trains in and around Tokyo all began with this GIF. After seeing what Google auto created for me, I thought, “Hey, there’s so much you can see and do riding the trains. How about I spend a day, from first train to last train, riding them?” Who rides the trains, and how busy they are, ebb and flow throughout the day. Many people have the idea that Tokyo’s trains are crammed at all times, so I wanted to see for myself what it looked like randomly going on trains throughout the day This isn’t a trip to show you the coolest spots, or even anything, really. I had a couple places in mind that I wanted to go, but beyond that, I was kind of going where the wind blows Where I went in what I saw were but a fraction of what’s in and around Tokyo I could have spent all day exploring any one of the stations that I stopped through So, this is the first part of the day, and I still haven’t eaten or drunk anything yet. I thought it’d be cool to use the vending machines for my beverages. As you’ll see, I’ll end up buying lots of drinks, but even this early on my lips are chapped as… Well, they’re pretty chapped Oh, did I tell you? This is the busiest train station in the world. Over a billion passengers come and go through it every year. Since it’s about half past six in the morning, it’s not too crazy yet At this point in time, it’s been a couple hours since I’d woken up. Now it’s time to find something to eat All right, some soba! This morning, I’m going with yuzu tori horenso soba, which is chicken, yuzu, and spinach soba noodles The thing I like about traveling by train is that I can always find something interesting at every station Like this automated underground bike parking Or, how about these rental bikes? It’s starting to get a bit busier at Shinagawa station, and it’s time to get back on the train and go to the washroom and hydrate myself as well At 7:30 a.m., the station’s not at peak busyness, but, you can tell that it’s starting to get a bit squishy What amazes me, with the volume of passengers on Japan’s rail systems, is that everything goes so smoothly There are delays here and there, but, largely, you can plan your trips down to the minute by using the trains—something that you can’t really do when driving cars around Now, I’m on my way to the Tokyo Monorail, which is at a different Hamamatsucho station

I’ve traveled back and forth between Tokyo about a dozen times, but until this year, I never knew there was a monorail going to Haneda Airport. When I thought about this trip, this was one train I did want to show, as I think you get some unique views riding just above street level If you’ve never traveled to Tokyo before, you might not know that there are actually two airports. It’s most likely that you’ll not be arriving at this airport, since it’s mostly for domestic flights. The other airport, Narita, is actually located outside of Tokyo, to the east. One nice thing about this train is that it’s specially designed with luggage in mind If you do end up at Haneda Airport, something you must do, especially if it’s a nice day, is head on over to the flight deck Not only can you get amazing views from inside the building, but you can go outside and hear the full roar of the planes as they depart I’m now about to break the rules laid out for this trip. I mean, I called the video “Tokyo by Train”, but I find myself crossing the border into the neighbouring Kanagawa Prefecture. But it’s going to be nice, so don’t worry I don’t know if it’s just me, but I enjoy watching the conductor and staff working to keep the trains on the go These cleaner guys were cool and let me film them In Japan, there are “Silver Jinzai Centers” that help seniors find community-based employment. I didn’t ask them to see if this was one of those jobs, but if you keep your eye out, you’ll see seniors in positions like that in other places, such as at parks or in bicycle parkades A large part of the system is the behind-the-scenes staff that work on and off the trains—from the conductors, to the announcers, to the cleaners, to the people who refill the vending machines By the way, that contraption can climb stairs. Pretty cool, eh? I’m not about to say, “everyone loves their jobs.” I’m sure, like most people, it’s to pay the bills. But I do admire how most can put aside whatever they have going on personally to focus on the job and do it with pride Part of me says, “Hmm. Maybe I should cut

out some of these traveling shots, as we’re already 10 minutes in, it’s not even lunchtime and, we’re going all the way until midnight. But then I think to myself, “What’s the point of riding the trains, if you don’t sit back and enjoy the journey here and there?” But, hey, we’re already at our next destination–Kamakura! I really love this town. I was going to say it’s a cool place, but I’m trying to keep in touch with the youngin’s, so let me just say, this place is on fleek In case you’re wondering about school kids, I believe they’re on a field trip French toast and ice cream for lunch—Oh, yeah! Little factoid: Kamakura used to be the de facto capital of Japan back in the 12th to 14th centuries This is the entrance to the main Shinto shrine in Kamakura. It actually used to be Buddhist as well, but religions got separated during the Meiji Restoration in 1868 If it were the weekend or holiday, this area would be filled with vendors This is where you leave your fortunes and wishes Just your average Japanese wedding photos Nah, just joking These are nice ones Time for a ride along the Enoshima Dentestsu line. Locally, it’s nicknamed “Enoden” A lot of the route is along single-track line, so you get really up close to the houses during the trip Do you see that island in the distance? That’s Enoshima Island—really neato place with caves, shrines, and all-around good times. We’re not going there, but if you’re in the area I highly recommend it You see what I did with “neato”? Bringing it back old-school I think this section is just awesome Yep, I’m on a train. Whatcha gonna do? I just love these little stations, and how you walk across the tracks to get to the opposite platform If you can manage, go up to the front to get an almost “conductor-like” view I like these station hubs with overhead walkways. Don’t really see stuff like this in Canada Onigiri. This is a rice ball wrapped in seaweed If you’re hungry and want a quick and healthy snack, these are the bomb All right. Back at Yokohama Station. I wasn’t going to stop here, but I was running low on batteries, and decided to go to the big Yodobashi Camera store next to the station. Unfortunately, when you buy new batteries, they come pretty much dead, so that didn’t help at all I thought I might assuage my disappointment with fruit, but a bit too rich for my blood But, while I was here, might as well get some quick shots of the scenery. I’m not from a fashionable part of Tokyo, so whenever I visit Yokohama, I always feel like a slob. People here so nicely dressed The oceanfront was a bit farther than I thought, so I hopped on the subway

Night is starting to fall, and I still haven’t made it back to Tokyo, but I’m going Man, I love the station music Throughout the day, I noticed a calm sort of rushing, like you’ll catch hints of people all throughout the day doing a little jog, or a mini sprint to here and there, but it’s generally not pushing others out of the way. I was wondering if I’d get the same type of busy footage if I took my camera to cities around Japan I suspect there wouldn’t be as many people with that hurried step This is probably my favorite scene of the day. If this doesn’t scream “salaryman”, I don’t know what does It was quite fascinating seeing the different architecture at the various stations Now, I was almost completely out of juice, and by that I mean batteries, so I searched the mall for a restaurant that had an outlet next to the chair This Ferris wheel was the largest in the world back in 1999—that is before the London Eye, in the same year, took that title away. Thanks, London Right now, we’re traveling through Odaiba This whole area is built on reclaimed land. “Daiba” can mean “fort” or “battery”, as in things you use to defend your nation from gunboats These artificial islands didn’t do much good in that regard, but in the late 20th century, these lands were developed as a sort of futuristic living city. That also didn’t really pan out. It then became an entertainment district, and that That’s working out okay Throughout the trip, I wanted to put out an accurate count of daily passengers for each station. However, after a few hours of trying to collect stats, I realized I was getting conflicting numbers, as some only contain departures, while others would count passengers who were both coming and going What I can say is that Tokyo has many of the busiest stations in the world There are millions that go through them on a daily basis We’re now back on the mainland, and we’ll head out to Ginza, the shopping district for the rich In this part of town, you can hit up several famous areas on foot, so I did just that. In Ginza, all the brands compete designing ostentatious flagship buildings. I don’t shop here, but if you like crazy buildings, it’s a fun place to stroll by Make sure to also go down the side

streets, which look quite different than the main strip I stumbled through Yurakucho, which has tons of hole-in-the-wall places to eat— quite different in tone from Ginza, yet they’re right beside each other Remember that battery issue? I’m running low again, and need to top up. Luckily, there’s a Starbucks in the area, which is always good for a power socket These alleyways are about as ghetto as you get in Tokyo, but they’re completely safe to walk around at night, so don’t worry We’re now in Marunouchi, which has the Emperor’s palace. Nice place to visit, but it’s closed at night So, I headed up to the Marunouchi Building to get a free view of Tokyo Station They’re still working on renovations If you ever walk through Tokyo at night, you’ll know there’s always lots of construction going on at this time To me this music sounds kind of like things are wrapping up, and it’s getting close but it’s only 10 p.m., and we’re going to midnight—remember? I’ve never seen a wheelchair ramp like this in a Tokyo station, so it was cool to see And this is where I realized the train I wanted to catch was leaving Many people die falling on the tracks every year, so I wish they had these kind of automatic barriers at all stations I’m stopping over at one last place—Ebisu This place is named after Yebisu Beer, which used to have its main brewery here And Yebisu Beer is named for one of the seven gods of fortune And this tower we’re riding up? This is Yebisu Garden Tower, which stands on the grounds of the old brewery This is probably the busiest train I rode on the whole trip. Little tip—on this line you can actually stand between the cars and get some more breathing room There’s this feeling I get near the end of the day. Everyone’s saying their goodbyes It’s kind of relaxing to me, and I’m almost right to say goodbye, as well But let’s take a stroll through Shinjuku first, a major government and business district Here, you’ll see a lot of the salarymen and -women wrapping up their nights and heading home

And finally—finally—I’m catching the last train. Some trains run as late as 1 a.m., but where I’m going, this is the last one for me Would I recommend doing what I did? Goodness, no, but I would recommend taking the trains wherever they may go, and to make sure to relax and enjoy the scenery along the way Thanks so much for riding along with me I hope you enjoyed it Good night You’re still here? Well, that’s good, because I need to thank all those who support my mini-documentary projects like this on Patreon. Despite taking only a day—a very long day—to film, I also needed to spend a week editing. Your support really helps me out, so thanks Also thanks to my wife, who translated the announcements for me. And as always, thanks for watching, and I’ll catch you on the flip side Good night. For real, this time