Those who live in other metropolitan areas around the globe may be surprised to learn that Japanese subways and commuter trains do not run 24 hours a day. While the time of the last train varies depending on the line, it’s usually between about 12:00 and 12:30AM. The earliest trains the following day will run intermittently starting from about 5:30AM.
As Tokyo is a city with no lack of nightlife, many may wonder why it does not have public transportation to match. If you ask a Japanese person, most will tell you that it’s a cleverly disguised trick to force salarymen to leave the office for the night. Working hours can be grueling, and suspending service for early morning hours functions the same as last call in a bar. Hardworking businesspeople who don’t want to take expensive cabs back home (or stay at the office all night!) hustle to make it to the station on time. Be aware that the last train is often even more jam-packed than those at rush hour, so head back a little earlier if you don’t want to be squeezed!
If you miss the last train and don’t want to party all night, stay the night in a capsule hotel close by the station to emulate the lifestyle of the truly dedicated salaryman. Prospective guests should know that these hotels are only open to men.