Yamanote line
Photo: Kazunari777/Photo-AC

JR East trains in Tokyo will stop running earlier in spring 2021

Japan’s biggest rail company is moving up the last train times in Tokyo by 30 minutes because of coronavirus

Tabea Greuner

Tokyoites know that a night out is always overshadowed by the fear of missing the last train, as most usually depart shortly after midnight. From spring next year, we’ll have to be even more careful: East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced it will move up the departure time of the last trains on some major lines in Tokyo by about 30 minutes.

Train lines affected by the timetable revision include Tokyo’s Yamanote loop line, as well as the Chuo and Sobu lines, which are usually still in service past 1am.

The changes are being implemented because passenger numbers have drastically decreased at night due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Although night owls won’t be happy, the new rules will improve conditions for maintenance workers and railway line inspectors who work overnight. By having the last trains reach their final destinations by around 1am, as well as delaying the departure of the first trains in the morning, JR says workers will have more time to carry out their tasks and provide the highest level of safety for commuters.

West Japan Railway Company (JR West), the operator of JR trains in Japan’s Kansai region, has announced it will also bring forward the time of the last trains on its major routes from next spring.

If you’ve missed the last train in Tokyo, here are some ideas on where to spend the night until the next morning.

Remember to check our guide on going out safely in Tokyo.

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