While Tokyo is boosting its already efficient public transport and implementing new technology for the upcoming Olympics, Osaka is also making big strides to cater to its rapidly growing tourist numbers. For two days on January 24 and February 21, Osaka Metro will have a trial run to extend its train service until around 2am. This should be good news for party-goers and night owls who now need not worry about missing the last train at midnight – or killing time at fast food restaurants until the first train at 5am.
The Midosuji line, which stretches from Esaka to Nakamozu stations, will run every 15 minutes during the extension hours, stopping at popular nightlife hubs including Namba and Umeda. Depending on how popular this turns out, Osaka Metro will consider implementing this late-night service permanently.
This initiative is part of a nationwide effort to boost the country’s – at least the major urban centres' – night-time economy, as it’s relatively under-developed compared to its Western counterparts who have restaurants, bars, entertainment and public transport running round the clock. With a surge of tourist arrivals in recent years, we can expect major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka to roll out more late-night transport service in the near future.
We certainly do hope that Tokyo will soon keep its train running late into the wee hours, if not all night. In the meantime, here's our guide to exploring Tokyo after dark.
[Corrections, Jan 10] Our report previously stated that the train service will be extended until 3am, but more precisely, the last train departs Esaka Station at 1.56am and terminates at Nakamozu Station at 2.41am. This trial service will only happen on two days – Friday January 24 and Friday February 21 – and not the entire period in between.