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This is a good time to discuss the main differences between the Shanghai subway and Tokyo subway SO FAR. As we use it more, we will likely navigate it much easier.

In Tokyo, the subway is owned by multiple companies that run different lines. This means going to locations outside the core requires you to take a transfer to another line. What this means is that you have to know which train line you want BEFORE knowing which train line. In Shanghai, it was all one line.

I will say at this point, I much prefer the Shanghai subway, and here are some observations

  • Shanghai used a simple numbering system, like Line 9 (which was the one we usually started from @ the SML Center)
  • Tokyo you may have to go between train companies, then each line has a name like Ginza Line, this just adds more to remember (vs Line 9)
  • Both systems use colour coding for the line, however in Shanghai, the practice of transferring between trains is much easier because they have colour coding on the floor to follow to the other train
  • The stations themselves seem better laid out in Shanghai, for example when you entered a platform, the one side clearly showed which way the train was coming from and going to, the other side the opposite. However, in Tokyo one station we went to Level 2 had the east bound train and Level 3 had the west bound train and as a first time user, this isn’t intuitive. Thankfully a subway attendant by the tracks helped us out right away.
  • Price wise, they are about the same
  • In Tokyo, we have not used the subway at rush hour, but will say the process of boarding and exiting the subway is smoother since the riders seem more aware of others getting on or off
  • I’m surprised that in Tokyo, there are no barriers between the train and platform – in Shanghai there was always some sort of barrier, in most cases a full glass wall & doors (lets just say Tammy makes me nervous when she feels the need to dance less than 2ft from the tracks edge – TAMMY GET OVER HERE 🙂


  1. It sounds like kaelyn may have fun taking the subway by herself to her jobs.

    • Oh man, I worry the first time she needs too (if it’s not on one of the main lines).

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