Oct 24, 2018

Making the best of your commute

A lot of people that work in Japan commute to work by train and especially when you work in a bigger city the commuting time is probably quite long and the trains can be pretty packed.  I am spending about 2 hours on the train everyday so am trying to make the best of this time.

If your company doesn't offer flexible working time you will probably end up commuting during the rush hours on very packed trains. In general, this is not a very pleasant experience but there are some ways to make it less painful.

For example, in some train stations you can see such posters that show you which wagons or carriages of the train are very crowded and which are less crowded. When you take the Yamanote Line you can also check the this information on the JR app.

Making the best of your commute photo

This might not be completely accurate but there definitely is a difference between wagons. You can try different wagons every day and check which ones are less crowded. There can also be  a difference between trains, so if you can take a train earlier or a train later you should also compare these to your regular train.


In order to make the best of your time spent commuting there are several different options. If you are one of the lucky ones to get a seat you have a variety to choose from. You can bring a book, your handheld console, your tablet or just browse the Internet on your phone.

Most people, however, have to stand and depending on how crowded the train is space is also quite limited. In such positions sometimes even looking at your phone can become difficult so you are basically limited to your headphones for entertainment. But recently there is such a wide variety to choose from it is not difficult to fill several commutes. For people that like music streaming services offer access to a lot of songs for a small monthly fee. For people that like audio books there are similar services as well.

I personally like to listen to podcasts during my commute. Most of them are completely free and you can find podcasts for every topic you can think of. You can stay updated on the most recent developments in your fields of interest or also listen to podcasts related to your field of work in order to learn new techniques.

There are also a million podcasts for language learning so you can also brush up your Japanese skills will on the train.

Do you have a long commute? How do you spend your time on the train?



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/