In Japan, the mostly commonly used public transportation is the train. I can say that you can go everywhere in Japan by train. It is the most convenient public transportation in Japan. Unfortunately, there's a bad side : rush hours in Japan are so horrible. If you have experienced rush hours in Shinjuku Station, you probably know what I mean. So, let’s learn more about these horrible rush hours in Japan!
Photo : Mathias Erhart on Flickr
One word for this thing, horrible! It usually happens in the morning or in the evening. The morning rush hours are heavier and more difficult than the evening rush hours. The peak of these rush hours is between 8am and 9am, due to the large number of people commuting to work at the same time. So, where does the most horrible rush hour happen then? It usually happens in Tokyo, especially Shinjuku Station. Shinjuku Station alone disgorges about 900,000 passengers each morning, and of course sucking them in again in the evening.
Photo : alq666 on Flickr
During the morning rush hours, the traffic volume is so intense that passengers are pressed against each other to a degree where they are unable to move. I can recommend you to avoid morning rush hours if possible, especially when you are traveling with some luggage or children. For me, it is better to wait for the other trains than take the rush hours trains. Once you have that experience, I can say that you will think the same.
Photo : Alexander Olm on Flickr
Another terrible rush hour in Japan is the train that goes to Comic Market in Odaiba, Tokyo. I experienced this before, and it is really horrible, more horrible than the usual rush hours in Japan.
Photo : Amir Jina on Flickr
Surprisingly, there are almost no rush hours during weekends and public holidays. So, it is safe to take any trains during weekends and public holidays in Japan. For big stations like Shinjuku, however, don’t be shocked as it will be crowded as always, due to the numbers of commuters there.
If you have an opportunity to go to Japan, I am not recommending you to use train between 8am to 9am, and between 5pm to 6pm on weekdays. When you have no choice, just stay calm and do not worry about robbery and etc. I can say that Japan is the safest country in the world. Although inside the train is really crowded, there are generally no bad things happening, such as pushing others, smoking, and etc. If you step on someone else's foot inside the train, don’t forget to say “Sumimasen”, which means “Sorry” in Japanese. They will most likely not blame you. The only problems inside the train during rush hours are that it's often hot and smelly.
Photo : rc! on Flickr
As for women passengers, please be careful with “Chikan” or known as perverts in Japanese. During rush hours, please be extra careful. Many men are regularly arrested for groping women and schoolgirls.