Understanding Japan’s complex train lines just got a lot easier.

Tokyo’s sprawling train system is a thing of beauty, even inspiring artists to create intriguing works of art based on the tangled tunnels running beneath the world’s most populous city.

While confusing to some of us, the labyrinthine subway system happened to be an object of fascination for one six-year-old boy in Japan, whose father initially thought of buying a 3D metro toy model as a present for him. The toy measured 30 by 30 centimeters (12 by 12 inches), and though it would be a neat educational tool providing hours of fun, it might just end up collecting dust after a few weeks of disuse.

Drawing upon years of experience as a Niantic employee who helped shaped augmented reality (AR) hit games like Pokémon GO and Ingress, the father thought of an even better idea: create an AR version of the Tokyo metro.

▼ The father turned out to be none other than Yoshiji Kawashima,
the Asian General Manager of Niantic.

Viewable with the Microsoft Hololens, the AR 3D model saved more space, was far larger in scale, and proved to be more detailed than what the toy would have provided.

▼ We suspect the project was also a master plan to start
the boy down the path of following in his father’s footsteps.

▼ The AR map also featured train line elevation, a feat possible only in 3D.

Kawashima is currently working toward making the map available as an app on ARKit-compatible iPads and iPhones, which would be a welcome addition for train enthusiasts or people who just wish to figure out Tokyo’s massive subway. We hope he included that mysterious phantom train station too, since that place is just too cool to pass up.

Source: YouTube/Masashi Kawashima via Japaaan
Images: YouTube/Masashi Kawashima