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)
|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
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.
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Top Photo: JR Kaihin-Makuhari Station