One of the wonderful things about Japan is the incredible transportation system. In one form or another, this system likely brought you to your kinjo, or neighborhood, whether by train, subway or bus.

In the big cities, the subway system is extremely well organized. For those of us who grew up in Tokyo, the subways follow the old streetcar lines that used to crisscross the city. In fact, one of these, the Arakawa line, still runs today.

Living outside the city can present challenges for the commuter, but in recent years, an interesting phenomenon has arisen that unites the suburban lines and the subway lines. This has made it much easier for commuters to seamlessly move from the outskirts into the subway all on the same train.

An example is traveling between points to the north and south of Tokyo. It’s now possible to take a train that starts in Saitama and ends up in Yokohama, all while traveling through Shinjuku, Shibuya and other parts of the city without transferring. Technically, the same train goes from being a suburban line to a subway line and back again.

Running between the various train lines are bus routes that connect the lines laterally. Before he left, former governor Naoki Inose put together a series of late-night buses so people can get home even after the last train has left.

The best part of the system? It actually works and everything runs on time! A train that leaves on schedule is a rarity in most cities around the world, but in Tokyo the 6:47 will indeed leave at 6:47!