Historical Map: Japanese Match Box Cover, date unknown (1920s?)
Beautiful vintage match box cover with a little map showing the location of the “Fuji Restaurant” relative to the nearby streetcar line.
Official Map: Isometric JR West System Map
I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so completely, madly and totally in love with a transit map as I am with this. A giant, sprawling, isometric representation of much of Japan showing JR Group railway lines. The map is produced by the JR West company, and its operating area is shown in full detail within the green area (apart from the heavily urbanised areas around Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, where — wisely — not all stations are shown). Connecting services and routes operated outside the JR West area are also shown, but in less detail — only major stations along the routes are indicated. Shinkansen lines are light blue, JR West main line routes are dark blue (main line routes outside their operating area match the company that operates in that area - red for JR Kyushu, for example), while urban routes seem to follow their established colour-coding.
As can be seen from the two detail images from the area around Osaka, there’s both an English and Japanese version of the map. The Japanese version is arguably more effective because of the in-built ability to set the text vertically, but the English version isn’t half bad either. I particularly like the way the line names have been set to conform to the isometric grid — a very nice design touch.
Our rating: I like to imagine that this is the world map from some incredible railroad-building computer game. 5 stars!
(Source: Official JR West website)
Kermit takes the train in Tokyo; my heart swells with joy.
Okay, perhaps not the real Kermit — it’s a stuffed toy that’s taken around the world by its owners, but a small green frog navigating the Marunouchi Line is still pretty darn cute.
(Source: Kermit the Frog’s Kickass Vacation in 15 Epic Photos/Mashable)
A lovely little slice of Tokyo life, complete with a very compact but informative strip map for the Yamanote Line: current station, connecting services (both in two languages), and estimated time to other stations on the line. It’s basically the analogue version of the digital map that’s on the trains themselves, as seen in this post.
Lost in Tokyo
Love this photo!
(Source: mark justin harvey/Flickr)
Keio Railway Map Bath Towel
Submitted by Jeffery Bridgman, who says:
A bath towel with the different services (different types of local/express trains) that run on the Keio lines in Tokyo. Hilarious!
Transit Maps says:
Oh, those crazy Japanese! Still, one can’t help but think that Douglas Adams — whose 61st birthday would have been two days ago — would have approved. Because, after all, a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Especially one with a railway map on it.
Hand Drawn-Map of Japanese Rail System by Wyton Chu
Okay, this is nothing short of amazing.
Drawing a complex transit system map is hard enough, even with computers and the precise drawing/drafting tools they offer. To draw something like this by hand and have it look so clean and accurate beggars belief. Love love love.
Click through to view a whole set of images of this remarkable piece on Flickr.
Osaka Subway Map, Area Map and Wayfinding System
Nice big maps, and clear (but maybe a little dull) directional signage. A full review of that system map looks to be in order in the near future…
(Source: Ian YVR/Flickr)
On Our Way to Asakusa
Here’s a dreamy shallow depth of field photo from Tokyo’s Ginza Line. Yum.
(Source: Eric Flexyourhead/Flickr)
Official Map: Fujikyuko Line, Japan
And now for something completely different… possibly the strangest official map I’ve ever seen (but oh so Japanese!). This map is for the privately-run Fujikyuko Line in in Yamanashi Prefecture, between Ōtsuki station and Kawaguchiko Station in Fujikawaguchiko.
The line runs through mountainous country and has spectacular views of Mount Fuji… hence the cute anthropomorphic mountains, I’m guessing. Which, awesomely, also carry across onto the livery of the rolling stock as well.
Despite the overall weirdness of the map, it actually works quite well: the thick red line shows express service, and the black and white dashed line shows local trains. Easy!
Our rating: Five stars for being unique, very strange and altogether awesome.