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If you’ve ever used the Tokyo Metro, or even browsed maps of the rail network online, you’ll know that it is a positive maze of lines, colours, numbers and names that even locals sometimes have trouble navigating. Compared to the London Underground or even New York’s massive subway system, the Tokyo Metro is absolute chaos on paper, making us wonder how it could possibly all run so smoothly on a daily basis.

Thanks to one Tokyo University graduate’s efforts, however, we now know exactly what is going on beneath our feet, with this three-dimensional model filled with coloured liquids representing every twist, turn, climb and dip the Metro’s tunnels make in real life.

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Titled “Arteria”, Takatsugu Kuriyama’s 80cm x 80cm model was first unveiled back in 2009, but was recently put on display at the Trans Art Tokyo event, and caused quite a stir on Twitter, with many Japanese netizens sharing photos and saying how astounded by the model they were.

Check out this short video showing Arteria, the very lifeblood of Tokyo, in action.

Some of the dips look awfully steep, but we can only assume that this is because of the scale to which the model is built, making a couple of them seem rather exaggerated and enough to have the real-life Metro’s six million daily passengers struggling to hold onto their lunch while making a trip across town. Even so, this is seriously impressive stuff, and we actually quite like the way the occasional air bubbles look like train cars zipping along the lines.

Source: togech (Japanese)
Video: YouTube papryicomputing

▼ Just for reference, here’s the official Tokyo Metro Map

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Image: speedymole