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monsoon

Maps of Japan's Train Systems

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Wow. Talk about extensive train systems! I could only dream of such extensive rail systems in American cities.

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Dam! The Toyko transportation system is hella complex! The whole map is jammed with lines and station names, and the entire system doesn't seem to fit on one map! I wonder how long this system took to build.

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I used to think that NYC's subway was the most complex in the world, but now it's Tokyo. That system covers the huge metro area like a spider web; cool system, but could be confusing for first-time riders. :thumbsup:

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That system covers the huge metro area like a spider web; cool system, but could be confusing for first-time riders. :thumbsup:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Slightly :)

That is definately an impressive system. Japan has very limited space so they have much more dense cities, requiring alot more mass transit. I read somewhere that msot people in Japan own a condo or apartment. Single-familty home owners are very mucha minority.

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There are still lots of single family homes in Japan, even in Tokyo. But the biggest difference is that so many live in apartments and condos that the numbers put it out of proportion. When we traveled south of Tokyo, many of the smaller towns had a majority of single family homes. But even in these places they were build with very small yards so the houses here close enough to town to make walking or riding the bus possible. They don't design places around the automobile.

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There are still lots of single family homes in Japan, even in Tokyo. But the biggest difference is that so many live in apartments and condos that the numbers put it out of proportion. When we traveled south of Tokyo, many of the smaller towns had a majority of single family homes. But even in these places they were build with very small yards so the houses here close enough to town to make walking or riding the bus possible. They don't design places around the automobile.

I glad that Japan's urban planning isn't automoblie-oriented, or else there would be commuter hell, just like in some of SF Bay Area's freeways. I think in Hong Kong, there's a very high tax for those who buy cars because the government doesn't want the narrow urban streets to be choked with cars. There are some places that the car culture shouldn't go; these are some of them.

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While definitely not one of the world's largest rail systems, it is one of the newest at only about 2 years old. It is the Okinawa Urban Monorail, dubbed "Yui-Rail", which winds through Naha (the capital and largest city on Okinawa) from the airport to Shuri Castle. I have rode it many times! It also has nice melodies playing.

It serves about 35,000 per day and is 13 km long.

yuirail_map.gif

P1030148.JPG

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While definitely not one of the world's largest rail systems, it is one of the newest at only about 2 years old. It is the Okinawa Urban Monorail, dubbed "Yui-Rail", which winds through Naha (the capital and largest city on Okinawa) from the airport to Shuri Castle. I have rode it many times! It also has nice melodies playing.

It serves about 35,000 per day and is 13 km long.

Actually, the monorail in Naha is 3 years old this summer. I was there when it opened (the day after my birthday).

It was a big deal at the time for Naha, but not really anyone else in Okinawa. Actually... it was jokingly a bigger deal for all the Okinawan "chikan"s (japanese slang for train perverts... "chee-kaan") in hiding for so long. It's been a constant money-pit unfortunatly since not that many people use it. First of all, it's expensive. Also... it takes forever to get anywhere since it zig zags through the city. Naha isn't very large and most people drive anyway... and the only people who I remember using it were school kids, tourists, and drunks. I haven't been there this year though, but I don't know if it really has changed that much. Maybe it has. I do know that Okinawans a lot of the time feel inferior to the rest of Japan, so this monorail thing was most likely an attempt to fit in with the rest of the country.

What WOULD be great is if they build a monorail (or 2) that stretched the entire length of the island (or at least from Naha to Nago). There are really only 2 main roads that go from one end of the island to the other. You COULD take the expressway from Shuri to Nago, but to get north you still have a long ways to go. paying that 1,000yen for 30 min one way can be a pain too. I guess there were trains back in the day but the US blew them up when we invaded. Trains going north and south would not only free up traffic, but it would also be cheaper than the Nago airport Okinawa keeps proposing. And honestly... a second airport in Okinawa is really pointless.

are you stationed there?

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Actually, the monorail in Naha is 3 years old this summer. I was there when it opened (the day after my birthday).

It was a big deal at the time for Naha, but not really anyone else in Okinawa. Actually... it was jokingly a bigger deal for all the Okinawan "chikan"s (japanese slang for train perverts... "chee-kaan") in hiding for so long. It's been a constant money-pit unfortunatly since not that many people use it. First of all, it's expensive. Also... it takes forever to get anywhere since it zig zags through the city. Naha isn't very large and most people drive anyway... and the only people who I remember using it were school kids, tourists, and drunks. I haven't been there this year though, but I don't know if it really has changed that much. Maybe it has. I do know that Okinawans a lot of the time feel inferior to the rest of Japan, so this monorail thing was most likely an attempt to fit in with the rest of the country.

What WOULD be great is if they build a monorail (or 2) that stretched the entire length of the island (or at least from Naha to Nago). There are really only 2 main roads that go from one end of the island to the other. You COULD take the expressway from Shuri to Nago, but to get north you still have a long ways to go. paying that 1,000yen for 30 min one way can be a pain too. I guess there were trains back in the day but the US blew them up when we invaded. Trains going north and south would not only free up traffic, but it would also be cheaper than the Nago airport Okinawa keeps proposing. And honestly... a second airport in Okinawa is really pointless.

are you stationed there?

Kinda. My dad is affiliated with the government so we live in Okinawa. I wouldn't exactly call it a "money-pit", when it regularly meets or exceeds passenger expectations. 90% of the time when I ride it, I can't get a seat, if that says anything. I find it quite convenient even if it is short. I often commute to the local San-A, park for free, then take the monorail all over Naha. I don't consider 250 yen each way that expensive, when you consider the outrageous cost of taxis (often over 1,000 yen for the same distance) or parking (100 yen for 20 mins on Kokusai street), the monorail is a good deal. It is also faster than driving because of the awful traffic and stoplights every 10 meters.

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Kinda. My dad is affiliated with the government so we live in Okinawa. I wouldn't exactly call it a "money-pit", when it regularly meets or exceeds passenger expectations. 90% of the time when I ride it, I can't get a seat, if that says anything. I find it quite convenient even if it is short. I often commute to the local San-A, park for free, then take the monorail all over Naha. I don't consider 250 yen each way that expensive, when you consider the outrageous cost of taxis (often over 1,000 yen for the same distance) or parking (100 yen for 20 mins on Kokusai street), the monorail is a good deal. It is also faster than driving because of the awful traffic and stoplights every 10 meters.

You are right in your logic that 250 yen for one way IS cheaper than paying 100 yen for 20 minof parking right off of Kokusai Dori. I am guessing though that you never go down to Naha on your own... with at least a friend or two. If so, the ride from San-A will cost 500 yen total (for 2 people). If you park at one of the lots on Kokusai, paying the 100 yen/20 min that you mentioned... you will only pay 300 yen per hour. So your round trip combined on the yuri-rail would cost the same as 3 and some hours of parking.

Anyway, it is a nice mono-rail. Especially if you need to get out of that nasty heat and humidity and don't want to walk. About it being a money pit... not nearly enough people ride on the train per day to have it make money. You've seen evidence for sure since you can go on 90% of the time and get a seat. If you want to ride that though, that's your choice. I just meant to write that Okinawa didn't need the Naha mono-rail and that over the past few years, the results have shown. I hope they can find some way to make it better or encourage more ridding... otherwise they might be cursed with a giant concrete skelleton defacing downtown Naha for a long time.

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About it being a money pit... not nearly enough people ride on the train per day to have it make money. You've seen evidence for sure since you can go on 90% of the time and get a seat. If you want to ride that though, that's your choice.

You have some valid points, but the figures don't lie. 30,000-35,000 people ride it per day, and that is just in line with expectations. There is an expansion in the works as we speak, although it will be decades before we see it reach Nago, if it ever does. Monorails are very expensive to build. And if you read my post more clearly, I said that 90% of the time I can't get a seat.

90% of the time when I ride it, I can't get a seat, if that says anything.

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I said that 90% of the time I can't get a seat.

ah. my fault. i hope what you say about it is true.... and what I've heard is more wrong than true. it'd be a terribe thing for Okinawa.

it is, but it serves a MUCH larger area than just 35,000 people. I bet that a majority of the people riding are tourists and not residents too (not that it should matter. bodies are bodies). maybe I'm just looking at it in a Japanese perspective... because anywhere else in Japan, pretty much everyone along that line would ride it whenever they went anywhere. It's only one line, but it covers a huge part of the city since it twists and turns everywhere. Okinawa though is on a different time schedule than the resta of japan... like, no time schedule. That could be one reason why more people don't ride it.

Like I said, I hope the local mentality toward it changes in the near future. I'd hate to see a big project like that bust.

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ah. my fault. i hope what you say about it is true.... and what I've heard is more wrong than true. it'd be a terribe thing for Okinawa.

it is, but it serves a MUCH larger area than just 35,000 people. I bet that a majority of the people riding are tourists and not residents too (not that it should matter. bodies are bodies). maybe I'm just looking at it in a Japanese perspective... because anywhere else in Japan, pretty much everyone along that line would ride it whenever they went anywhere. It's only one line, but it covers a huge part of the city since it twists and turns everywhere. Okinawa though is on a different time schedule than the resta of japan... like, no time schedule. That could be one reason why more people don't ride it.

Like I said, I hope the local mentality toward it changes in the near future. I'd hate to see a big project like that bust.

You're right....the Okinawan people don't have much of a time schedule, so the monorail is a new concept and i'd like to see it embraced more, as well. You're also right about the tourists. I think about half of the people riding are tourists, but then again, 5 million tourists visit okinawa each year, compared to the population of the whole island of only 1.3 million, so half of the monrail riders being tourists doesn't sound bad. Naha is only 315,000 people, so 35,000 people riding it per day is not that much? I am no expert here, but a good 10% of the area the monorail goes through chooses to ride it, which sounds like a decent amount. Even if it was more expensive to ride the monorail than other forms of transportation, i choose it because i want to support the expansion of it. plus, the views are quite cool you have to admit. :thumbsup:

PS - thanks for the conversation! i'm glad that at least someone has heard of the Okinawa Monorail besides me! :lol:

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I realize this is Japan, but most places in the modern world would be happy if 10% of the population used transit. I give this number because I happen to know the exact stats, but in Charlotte, which is 615,000 people, they are hoping to get 17,000 ridership on the new LRT here by 2025. (9 years after opening)

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