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Railway map RAQs (rarely asked questions)
Are those maps official?
No. In fact, Japanese railway operators make maps of their networks only, so any map that covers the entire railway network is an unofficial one.
Who are you?
I am FML, an amateur who has a slight interest in railways.
Why did you make those maps?
Because I had too much time and no life.
What? Is that all?
Okay, a longer explanation is as follows.
There is a famous website called "SkyscraperCity". In its forum, there was a poll thread titled "NY subway map vs. Tokyo subway map vs. London tube map", comparing official subway maps of said cities. Unfortunately, the official Tōkyō map (this one in English) was so badly designed that it was no match to London nor NYC.
Now, come to think of it, the London Tube map has a truly awesome, iconic design. As a Tokyoite, I wanted to see a Tōkyō map in such a cool style. But over the Internet, I couldn't find anything satisfactory to my taste, so I ended up making one by myself.
Which cities' networks did you mapped?
Currently, I've made maps for Tōkyō (Central area, Joke map 1, Greater area, Joke map 2), Ōsaka (Greater area), Nagoya (Greater area) , Shànghǎi (2020 plan) and Taipei (2018 plan).
Do maps only include the lines within cities' administrative boundaries, such as 23 special districts of Tōkyō?
No. They completely ignore administrative boundaries.
Then how did you define/limit area to be mapped?
Nothing but my subjective impressions.
What kinds of lines are included? Only subways?
The "Central Tōkyō Area" map is pretty much about subways. but
it still shows JR Yamanote line and other important lines going through the
central area. For the "Greater Area" maps, I included all the overground
suburban/commuter lines as well as subways.
In Japanese city, subway lines are just a small fraction of city's entire network. Thus, to know how the network works, subway-only maps would be virtually useless.
So all the railway lines in the target areas are represented in your maps?
Basically yes, but there are some exceptions.
1-a. Different types of services on a same line, such as a difference between local/rapid/express/etc. are generally not shown.
1-b. However, those services in some selected lines, such as JR Chūō line, are shown, since they are essentially different lines rather than different services.
2-a. Thru operations between different lines are generally not shown.
2-b. However, those thru services from/to subway are always shown. Also, some thru services between JR lines are shown, while some are not.
3. Very short lines, such as attraction rides inside amusement parks, are not shown.
4. Discontinued lines are not shown.
5-a. Future plans are generally not shown.
5-b. However, if the plan is already under construction and likely to be finished in foreseeable future, then it is shown. In this case, most line/station names are tentative.
6. Freight only lines are not shown.
Which scale do the maps use?
These maps are not to scale. Obviously.
How accurate are the data?
I don't guarantee much. So use the maps at your own risk!
When I look at your two Tōkyō maps, I find spellings of some stations are a little different each other ...so which one is correct?
Because Japanese is usually written in Japanese characters rather than Latin/Roman
alphabets, there are always some inconsistencies over how to spell it in those
foreign letters. Most railway operators do use more or less same romanization
scheme, but if you closely look at those nameplates, there are still some minor
differences between them. For instance, Shin-Kiba station in bayside Tōkyō
is spelt "Shin-Kiba" by TWR (Rinkai Line), "Shin-kiba" by
Tōkyō Metro (Yūrakuchō Line), and "Shinkiba" by
JR East (Keiyō Line). Showing all the possible spellings would make the
map too busy, if not simply impossible, so I used just one spelling for each
station. In case of the Central Tōkyō map, I basically used official
Tōkyō Metro spellings, as the map is mostly about subways. In case
of other maps... well, to know "official spellings" of those many
operators itself is rather tiring task, so I sort of made up spellings by myself.
In other words, all those spellings are tentative and somehow "wrong"
in most cases.
I said I don't guarantee much, you know.
Most of your maps are of Japanese cities, but why did you also made the one for Taipei?
The biggest reason is because I couldn't find decent looking future maps, but
there are also other reasons.
This is just my personal taste, but I really can't stand pinyin without tone signs. I am the one who firmly believes tone signs make a vital part of pinyin. (I fell much the same way toward macrons of romaji, by the way.) So I wanted to make the map with proper tone signs.
Also, I thought it would be a cool looking map if it had both Mandarin names and Holo Taiwanese names written. I thought it would be like maps of bilingual cities such as Brussels (French/Dutch) or Helsinki (Finnish/Swedish), so, erm, cool. Nothing political here, so don't bite me.
Any comments on the Shànghǎi map?
This comment was about the version 1.5 (February 2007).
At somewhere, I saw this
map and was fascinated by it. So I thought about making a future Shànghǎi
map in English. At the first glance, the planned network there looked fairly
logical compared with some chaotic networks (namely, that of Tōkyō).
However, Shànghǎi has its own problems. The biggest headache is
the fact that the plans are very uncertain, although it can't be helped considering
(too) rapidly growing Chinese economy. The fact that you don't have many geographical
maps (even in Chinese) on the Internet doesn't really help either. Frankly,
I'm still not sure of many parts of my map.
Stations in Shànghǎi are mostly named after street names, and this makes another problem. It means some nearby stations facing the same street often have the same station names, at least in their planning stages. It's still OK if those stations belong to different lines, but it really becomes problematic when they are the stations of the same line. (Line 9 having Dàmùqiáo Road station, which is next to another Dàmùqiáo Road station...) So I decided to name all the stations (with a few exceptions) differently. However, this also means the map is now more like a personal fantasy map, at least about station names.
Yet another problem, although relatively smaller, is which Romanization of Shanghainese to use. Unlike Cantonese or Holo Taiwanese, Shanghainese doesn't seem to have the (de facto) standard Romanization. The one I used here is from this site, but I don't know if this system is more common than others, like "French Wú" system. Well, what I do know is the fact none of them are really common anyway.
A comment on the version 1.8 (July 2008):
As many (unofficial) maps now have non-overlapping station names, I simply
stole resorted to them. The map is now largely based on the great
map by Fǎguó TGV. Also, after a year, we now have nice online
maps on Bǎidù or Google.
Can I use your maps?
As long as you keep my credit, yes.
Can I link to your map images?
No. I know there aren't that many people who would watch these maps, but I'm still concerned with bandwidths. Do not directly link to maps on this website, please. If you downloaded images and uploaded to your own site, or uploaded to image sharing services such as ImageShack, then it's fine to link them.
Will you make a map of my favorite city too?
If you pay me well.
Actually, I have some other questions...
If you have questions concerning Japanese/Tōkyō railways in general, you'd better find someone knowledgeable, as I'm not an expert at all. But if you still do have questions, you can try mailing .
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