Survey shows people in Japan have very different opinions.

If you were to ask people around the world to tell you a few things about Japanese trains, you might hear them mention how clean they are, how punctual they are…and how crowded they are.

Generally, these observations have a lot of truth to them, but when it comes to overcrowded commuter trains, this is an inconvenience usually confined to big cities like Tokyo, where rail staff have been known to physically push people onto packed carriages.

Still, what constitutes a “crowded” carriage can mean very different things to different people, depending on where you’re from in Japan. It’s a topic that caused a lot of debate late last year, when Hokkaido-based Twitter user @akit723 posted this image on Twitter, with the message: “Crowded trains in Tokyo are really bad. It’s tough that this continues every day.”

If you’ve ever travelled on a packed Tokyo train during rush hour, you might be looking at this photo thinking, “Is this really considered a crowded train?”

It’s a question that a lot of other Twitter users wondered too, prompting Tokyo-based news site J Town Net to put the question to 9,980 readers over a four-month period from 19 October, in a survey asking them if they thought @akit723’s photo showed a crowded train.

The results revealed that a lot of people had widely differing opinions on the subject, depending largely on which part of Japan they’re from.

Out of all responses, most said this was a train that was “a little crowded”, a description that resonated with 3,879 respondents, or 38.9 percent of the total. In second place, 30.4 percent, or 3,037 respondents were of the opinion that this was just a “regular” train. This meant that close to 70 percent of respondents thought this was a regular or slightly crowded train.

▼ Let’s take another look at that train to refresh our memories.

At the other end of the spectrum, 18 percent of respondents said the train was “a little empty“, 7.8 percent said it was “crowded“, and 5 percent said it was “empty“.

That’s a wide range of differing opinions, the reason for which may be revealed by looking at what part of Japan the respondents are from.

Understandably, people who live around busy transportation hubs were least likely to describe the train as crowded, with the “crowded” breakdown by prefecture being as follows:

Fukuoka 48.9 percent
Nara 48.9 percent
Hyogo 46.2 percent
Kyoto 46.1 percent
Aichi 44.6 percent
Chiba 44.3 percent
Osaka 43.7 percent
Kanagawa 43.6 percent
Saitama 42.2 percent
Tokyo 37.6 percent

On the other end of the scale three prefectures stood out, with 90 percent of people surveyed from these areas saying they thought the train was crowded.

Aomori 91.7 percent
Akita 90.9 percent
Yamaguchi 90.5 percent

While these areas aren’t the least populated in Japan — that title goes to Kochi, Shimane and Totori prefectures — it does suggest that commuters up in these northerly regions enjoy the luxury of really empty trains.

So what do you think of the photo? Does it look like a crowded train to you, based on what trains are like where you’re from? Let us know in the comments section below, and we sincerely hope it’s not as busy where you are as it is here in Japan, which is home to some of the busiest train stations in the world.

Source: J Town Net via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@akit723 
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