Yamanote line
Photo: Hardik Pandya/Unsplash

JR East upgrades its phone app with real-time train congestion information

From mid-July, you’ll be able to check JR East’s official app to see how crowded your Tokyo train is

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner

To make your train ride in and around Tokyo smoother, JR East has announced that its smartphone app JR東日本アプリ (JR East Japan App) will be upgraded with real-time information on congestion levels for train lines and stations. While the service may already exist for the Yamanote line and some stations, it will be expanded in mid-July to include major train lines within Tokyo and the capital’s outskirts.

JR East Japan App
Photo: Screenshot of JR East Japan App

Taken from the JR East Japan App, this screenshot shows the current crowd level of a Yamanote line train, including real-time information for each car. The congestion status is divided into five levels, indicated by colour and the number of figures shown in the icon.

The icon with a single figure means seats are available while the one with two figures suggests that you may have to stand. Be prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder if you see the four-figure icon, and given the current coronavirus situation, you might want to avoid trains showing the five-figure icon, i.e. very crowded. This information will be updated every five minutes.

Below, you’ll find a list of Tokyo JR lines covered by the service. Even though JR East runs an English-language app called JR-East Train Info, so far the new function has only been announced for the company’s Japanese app. As soon as new information is available, we will update this article.

Train lines which will be supported by this new feature:

  • Tokaido line between Tokyo and Yugawara stations
  • Yokosuka/Sobukaisoku line between Kurihama and Chiba stations
  • Shonan-Shinjuku line between Utsunomiya, Shinjuku and Zushi stations, as well as Jimbohara, Shinjuku and Odawara stations
  • Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi line between Omiya and Ofuna stations
  • Yokohama/Negishi line between Hachioji, Higashi-Kanagawa and Ofuna stations
  • Nambu line between Kawasaki and Tachikawa stations
  • Chuo Main line between Tachikawa and Otsuki stations
  • Chuo line (rapid) between Tokyo and Takao stations
  • Chuo-Sobu line between Mitaka and Chiba stations
  • Ome line between Tachikawa and Ome stations
  • Itsukaichi line between Haijima and Musashi-Itsukaichi stations
  • Utsunomiya line between Ueno and Kuroiso stations
  • Takasaki line between Ueno and Jimbohara stations
  • Saikyo/Kawagoe/Sotetsu line between Komagawa, Omiya, Osaki and Musashi-Kosugi stations
  • Joban line (local and rapid) between Shinagawa and Hatori stations
  • Joban line (local) between Ayase and Toride stations
  • Keiyo line between Tokyo and Soga stations
  • Musashino line between Fuchu-Honmachi, Nishi-Funabashi, and Tokyo or Kaihin Makuhari stations
  • Ueno-Tokyo line between Yugawara, Tokyo and Kuroiso or Jimbohara stations, and between Hatori and Shinagawa stations

For tips on how to go out safely in Tokyo, or anywhere for that matter, read our guide.

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