This is for those of you who may be interested in having a closer look at where certain of the mentioned locations (we visit) are - here's a very nice map of central Tokyo.
Initially, you may find it hard to orientate yourself on the map.
An easy way is to take note of the Yamanote Line (railway) which runs in an oval(ish) shape along the central parts of the city. Most of the major areas are right on this line. Just follow this line around the city as a reference to the areas we visited.
For example: Yesterday we came into Shinjuku Station and walked to the Tokyo Metropolitan Office Building (The big M just to the left of Shinjuku Station). From there we went south to Yoyogi-koen (Park) and visited the Meiji-Jingu shrine.
We then walked past Harajuku station down towards Aoyama-dori (dori means avenue), browsed some shops en route and went via Aoyama-dori into Shibuya. We left there taking the train from Shibuya Station to Shimi-Kitazawa Station (just on the left edge of the map you can see the Zawa bit) and from there on towards to Hon-Atsugi.
Were we live (Atsugi), is approx 40km from Tokyo towards the south-west. It falls outside the greater Tokyo area and is part of the Kanagawa area. From Atsugi we normally approach the city from the Shinjuku side and from there go on to our final destination.
Unfortunately Shinjuku is the largest train station in Japan and can be a nightmare to traverse. Depending on whom you ask, it is said that between 3 and 4 million people pass through there EVERY DAY. In terms of passenger volume that makes it the busiest station in the world!
It has been said that the Japanese railway is over-used for the simple reason that it is convenient. I.e. it’s too easy to go anywhere you want to go, without it really always being necessary to go anywhere.
That being said, it does seem like “going somewhere” is a bit of a Japanese pastime. I reckon that these people must spend at least 2-3 hours a day on trains on average.
You just can’t help wondering whether they know how terrible a life it really is.