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As a high density country, Japan's advanced mass transportation systems, especially trains and subways, are necessities for the Japanese society. Rail networks have been developed all over Japan. JR group, Japan Railways group, operates almost 70% of domestic railway networks. They have published the Japan Rail Pass which helps foreign visitors travel around Japan economically.
Known worldwide as the Bullet Train, Shinkansen fascinates foreign tourists. Since October 1964 when the Shinkansen was developed, it has been one of the fastest, safest trains in the world. Japanese nation admires and is proud of it as a symbol of heavy industry. Shinkansen runs average 300kph, about 186mph, and takes only 2.5 hours from Tokyo to Osaka by Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen. In addition to its speed, they depart every 10 minutes in rush hours and is very punctual.
The Shinkansen, or bullet train, made history in 1964 as the world's first high-speed train. The Shinkansen is more than just a mode of transportation - it is a unique Japanese experience. Immaculately clean, comfortable, and remarkably fast, it is the epitome of efficiency and the pride of the shockingly prompt Japan Rail network.
Almost each major city populated with over one million has a subway system called Chikatetsu. Tokyo subway is the most highly used transit system in the world. Tokyo Metro and Toei Chikatetsu combined carried 3, 161 billion passengers in 2010 and ranked No.1 in the world.
Japan has an efficient, safe and cost-effective system of city subways, allowing rapid movement around its inner urban areas.
Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Fukuoka have city subway networks, linked to other rail systems including the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo, the JR Loop Line in Osaka and JR shinkansen lines.
Passengers can pass quickly through the automatic ticket gates simply by lightly touching their "Suica" pass to the sensors on the gates. Suica stands for "Super Urban Intelligent CArd" and it certainly is. Nowadays, Suica use is not limited to train and subway rides but they can also be used on vending machines in the JR stations and even at many convenient stores such as 7eleven and Family Mart outside of the station.
Tokyo's subway system is one of the largest and busiest in the world. There are 13 lines, 8 operated by Tokyo Metro or TRTA (Teito Rapid Transit Authority) -formerly Eidan Subway - and 4 lines managed by Toei Subway run by Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Each line has a distinct color and number and each station also has a number.
Tokyo Metro operated lines are: Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line, Hanzomon Line, Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line, Nanboku Line, Tozai Line and Yurakucho Line.
Toei Subway operated lines are:Asakusa Line, Mita Line, Oedo Line, Shinjuku Line.
*Toei also operates a streetcar, the Arakawa Line between Minowabashi and Waseda.
Ticket prices for the subway in Tokyo start at 160 yen, but if you are spending any time in Tokyo it would be wise to invest in a PASMO or SUICA rechargeable card to ease connections between the two systems and save on the wait for buying tickets.