Living in Tokyo

Most Crowded Rush Hour Train Lines in Tokyo

Tokyo has one of the most advanced mass public transportation systems in the world, but if you have ever commuted during rush hour here, you may have yearned for some private transportation instead.

According to the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, there are an astounding 20 million train passengers a day in the greater Tokyo area. By comparison, Germany’s trains transport 10 million passengers a year, yet its population is a little more than twice that of greater Tokyo.

According to the most recent data (2015) available from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (in Japanese), these are the most crowded train lines in greater Tokyo.

The Ministry calculates a “crowdedness rate” by comparing the actual number of people riding to the carrying capacity of the line between two segments during a given time segment. Ridership was measured approximately between 7:30am and 8:30am on a weekday.

Let’s take a look at the ranking!

Tokyo’s Most Crowded Rush Hour Train Lines (2015)

Company Train Line Station Segment Carrying Capacity
(# of People)
Number of
People Riding
Crowdedness Rate
Tokyo Metro Tozai Kiba → Monzen Nakacho 38,448 76,665 199
JR Chūō-Sōbu (Local) Kinshicho → Ryōgoku 38,480 76,760 199
JR Yokosuka Musashi Kosugi → Nishi-Ōi 18,640 36,010 193
Odakyu Odawara Setagaya-Daita → Shimo-Kitazawa 38,428 73,573 191
JR Chūō-Sōbu (Rapid) Nakano → Shinjuku 44,400 83,260 188
Tokyu Den-en-toshi Ikejiri-Ōhashi → Shibuya 42,746 78,687 184
JR Tōkaidō Kawasaki → Shinagawa 35,036 63,670 182
JR Sōbu (Rapid) Shin Okoiwa → Kinshichō 35,416 63,920 180
Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Machiya → Nishi Nippori 41,296 73,564 178
JR Keihin-Tōhoku Kawaguchi → Akabane 37,000 65,410 177
Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Shibuya → Omotesando 39,872 68,326 171
Keiō Keiō Shimo-takaido → Meidaimae 37,800 62,493 165
Tōkyū Tōyoko Yūtenji → Naka Meguro 31,344 51,235 163
Tokyo Metro Yūrakuchō Higashi-Ikebukuro → Gokoku-ji 34,176 54,915 161
JR Jōban (Rapid) Matsudo → Kita Senju 22,200 35,680 161
Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Shin-ōtsuka → Myōgadani 23,731 38,051 160
Seibu Ikebukuro Shiinamachi → Ikebukuro 30,240 48,060 159
Tokyo Metro Ginza Akasaka Mitsuke → Tameike-Sannō 18,240 28,891 158
Toei Mita Nishi Sugamo → Sugamo 15,960 25,070 157
Seibu Shinjuku Shimo-kitazawa → Takadanobaba 33,600 52,493 156
JR Jōban (Local) Kameari → Ayase 33,600 52,070 155
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Minowa → Iriya 28,224 43,110 153
Keisei Oshiage Keisei-Hikifune → Oshiage 23,232 35,338 152
Toei Shinjuku Nishi-ōjima → Sumiyoshi 21,280 32,062 151
Tobu Isesaki Kosuge → Kita Senju 44,364 66,537 150
Keikyū Main Tobe → Yokohama 32,000 46,559 145
Keiō Inokashira Ikenoue → Komaba-tōdaimae 19,600 28,150 144
Tōbu Tōjō Kita Ikebukuro → Ikebukuro 33,120 45,566 138
Keisei Main Daijingūshita → Keisei Funabashi 15,246 20,128 132
Toei Asakusa Honjo-azumabashi → Asakusa 23,040 27,713 120
JR Chūō (Local) Yoyogi → Sendagaya 34,040 31,570 93
Average “Crowdedness Rate” of 31 Segments 164


According to this methodology, JR explains that this is what it would feel like as a passenger:

  • 200%: You are squeezed but can read small books or periodicals held closely to your body
  • 180%: You can read a folded newspaper with difficulty.
  • 150%: You can easily spread open a newspaper to read.
  • 100%: You’re able to find personal space near the door.

#1 Tokyo Metro Tozai Line

Tokyo Metro Tozai line map. Image: Wikimedia

The Tozai line is literally the East-West line that cuts across Tokyo from Nakano Station (in Nakano Ward) in the west to Nishi-Funabashi (in Chiba Prefecture) in the east. Major hub stations along the line include: Takadanobaba, Iidabashi, Kudanshita, Otemachi, Nihombashi, Kayabacho, and Monzen Nakacho. These are major stations where many people work or transfer to other lines.

One reason the segment between Kiba and Monzen Nakacho pushed the Tozai line into first place is that Monzen Nakacho is a transfer point for getting on the Oedo line (one of Tokyo’s newer lines). People commuting in this direction are coming in from Chiba (where average rent is lower) to go to work or school in Tokyo.

Hats off to you if you commute on any of these lines or segments, or if you do a rush hour commute at all in Tokyo!

If you are thinking about moving to Tokyo, this data may be a reference for deciding where to live in order to avoid a crazy commute. However, if you want as short a commute time as possible (and are commuting during rush hour), it may be unavoidable to live on or transfer to one of these lines.

Please leave a comment and share your experience commuting in Tokyo or elsewhere.

You may also be interested in: Get a guaranteed seat on this commuter train in Tokyo

Top Photo: JR Kaihin-Makuhari Station

Photo Credit: Wikimedia