This time our facts on Japan section is centered around train and train stations. Getting the train is a large part of living in Japan, more so than when compared to most Western countries. More people travel by train in Japan than any other form of transportation
Shinjuku Railway station, situated in Tokyo; has an average of 3.5 million people pass through it on a daily basis. This makes it the busiest station in the world with regards to passenger numbers. The station has a whopping 200 exits and currently serves a total of 20 different tracks.
If you happen to find yourself waiting for a train in Japan, chances are you will hear recordings of birds blasting throughout the train tracks. At first this used to wreck my head a bit. I assumed it was to relax people during the stress of rush hour. Actually these recording have a more practical use. The recorded bird calls are to help guide visually impared people towards exit points. Essentially they just follow the sounds and will be brought straight to an exit. It's a very non intrusive way of using sound.
There are a total of 9,250 train stations listed and in use in Japan.
Of course we cannot forget to mention the world famous, high speed Shinkansen (bullet-train) of Japan. The first Shinkansen line built in Japan was in 1964. Currently the top speed for the Shinkansen can reach up to 320 km/h. For more information on this topic visit the Wikipedia page here.
When I first arrived in Japan, I was quite surprised how early some of the train lines stop running. Some stop as early as 10:30pm making it hard to stay out late (hence the booming capsule hotel/net cafe industry). The latest train line in operation would be the Takasaki Line which terminates at 1:37am. The one exception to this rule would be New Year's Eve/ Day when most train lines are running 24 hours. It it the only time of the year when this is possible.
The longest train line in Japan is the Sanyo train line, which runs from Kyoto to Yamaguchi. It measures at a total of 673.8 kilometers long.