Turns out there’s a shortcut hint that escapes almost everyone’s notice.

Japan has an extremely convenient public transportation system, and nowhere is the network more thorough than in Tokyo. The city is serviced by more than a dozen subway lines, making station signs a common part of the urban landscape.

Obviously the signs give you the name of the station, in both Japanese and English text, and also the names of the lines that stop there. However, it turns out there’s another piece of information that’s been hiding in plain sight, as explained by Japanese Twitter user @mm_fashiongram.

See how the sign in @mm_fashiongram’s photo lists five subway lines, Tozai, Marunouchi, Hanzomon, Chiyoda, and Mita, for Otemachi Station? Those lines aren’t listed in alphabetical order, nor the Japanese-language equivalent, but that doesn’t mean the order is random. Instead, they’re listed in order of the distance from that entrance to each line’s platform inside the station. So if you’re heading down this particular flight of stairs, you’ll be closest to the Tozai Line, and the Mita Line will be the farthest.

Since you can still access all of the platforms from this entrance, that might not seem like critical information. However, because Tokyo’s subway system is incredibly complex and built in segments, making your way from one end of the station to another can be a long and winding journey, sometimes requiring a walk of several hundred meters as you have to go around, under, or over the facilities for the lines other than the one you’re taking. If you’ve got multiple entrances to pick from while you’re still on the street, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle by using the one that offers the shortest walk to your desired platform, especially if you’re hauling a suitcase or other travel bags around, so @mm_fashiongram’s tip is a handy shortcut to a smooth trip.

Source: Twitter/@mm_fashiongram via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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