Tokyo Station Signage


JR East is joining the station numbering scheme found on Tokyo Metro and other private company train lines such as Tokyu, Keio, and Odakyu. As a long time Japan resident I find station numbering more confusing than helpful and with platform signage now offering English, a recognized international language, along with Chinese and Korean, which are only there for the convenience of tourists. I don’t see the point. Squeezing more information in a limited space doesn’t mean the sign is more informative, it’s just harder to read.

In real world use it all comes down to how much information can be taken in at a three second glance from a moving train. The small station numbers, Chinese, Korean, even the English get lost. The intent to be helpful here only makes things more complex. And I’m sure somebody somewhere is making a lot of money making all those new station signs.

Like so much in life, simpler is better, and easier to understand. Especially at a glance.