Most crowded train lines in Tokyo, Japan FY 2018

The Tokyo Metro operated Tozai Line was reported to be the busiest train line in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area in fiscal year 2018, reaching a congestion rate of almost 200 percent. The Tozai Line connects the suburban city Funabashi in Chiba prefecture with Nakano Station in western Tokyo, stopping at several train stations in the capital’s bustling Shinjuku ward.

What is a congestion rate?

The congestion rate is determined by the capacity level of a train line during rush hour. The Japanese government set a congestion rate of 100 percent as a situation where all seats are taken, and all standing passengers can find a strap to hold on to. A rate of 180 percent was set as the upper limit during peak traveling hours for passenger comfort, marking a point where passengers feel substantial pressure through touching bodies. Despite heavily congested train lines, rail transportation continues to be Japan’s leading mode of passenger transport, providing access to and from the country’s centers of employment and entertainment.

Tokyo’s notoriously overcrowded train lines

Foreign media does not tire of featuring Japan’s crammed railways, with service staff pushing yet another patiently queuing businessman into the already over spilling train car. The most notorious lines for high congestion rates are run by JR East, connecting central Tokyo with suburban parts of Greater Tokyo and its neighboring prefectures. To avoid busy trains during rush hours, Tokyoites commonly resort to bicycles for running short distance errands. For lengthier travel routes or commuting, however, most people have to rely on public transport, since the city’s road traffic is equally swamped and parking options are limited and pricy.

Train lines with the highest congestion rates in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, Japan in fiscal year 2018

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Release date

August 2019



Survey time period

fiscal year 2018; the Japanese fiscal year starts April 1 of the stated year and ends March 31 of the following year

Supplementary notes

According to the source, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism defines a 100 percent level as a situation where all the seats in the train are taken and the standing passengers can find a strap to hold on to, while 180 percent is a situation where a passenger can, with some difficulty, read a folded newspaper.

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Statistics on "Public transport in Japan"

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