Pram/Stroller Friendly Subway Stations|
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Pram/Stroller Friendly Subway Stations
By Annmaree & Owen on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - 10:58 am:
Hi. Does anyone know of a list of subway/train stations which have escalators, elevators or ramps that facilitate the (easier) use of prams?
By Stephanie Martin on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 - 11:38 pm:
I am sure there are plenty more, but I know these ones.....
Roppongi - oedo line
Ueno - not sure which line
Sorry, I forgot which ones have them now,
Lots of stations have escalators though, Akihabara doesn't, neither does Hiro-o.
Also beware of walking towards Shibuya on Roppongi Dori, they have an overpass for pedestrians with a ramp you walk up it, and then there is no other way down other than stairs, they have had elevators ready to go now for months but they are still not open for use. It gets me every time.
Good luck with finding more stations, I wish I could remember a bit better.
By Karen on Thursday, August 1, 2002 - 8:15 pm:
This is a good thread!
I find that the subways have way more elevators/escalators than the JR trains. Is this just me?
Akihabara is a big no-no with a stroller. Got a million stairs, even for a transfer. Hiro-o is rather hellish too.
Meijijingumae has escalators to street level near the exit for JR (near Meiji Temple).
We should get a list of these stations together; it would be really helpful! I gave up on strollers and just use a sling if I can manage it these days (with a 25-pound kid and a sore back that is!).
By Nathalie on Saturday, August 10, 2002 - 1:01 am:
I've also been trying to find out this info. I asked a subway employee where I could get such a list, and he showed me a little Japanese guidebook on Tokyo subways, which is sold in bookstores. I bought it, but was a bit disappointed. This book does show all the subway stations with maps of inside and ouside the stations. Unfortunately, it only shows the platform level and one level up. You can see all available escalators there, but not all the way to the ground level. It also indicates phones, toilets, exit numbers...
In case anybody is interested, the ISBN code of the book is 4-7959-1275-0. It costs 1238 yens + tax, and I think the title reads CHIKATETSU ZEN EKI GAIDO.
By Sherri Leibert on Monday, January 6, 2003 - 3:57 pm:
This is a subject close to my heart since at the time of writing I am 12 weeks pregnant and have a 19-month-old toddler. I think about pram-friendliness every time I go out. I can't even use my own local station because there are too many stairs!
Here are my best and worst stations.
Ikebukuro -- good:
Very pram friendly. All the JR lines have escalators and elevators
Marunouchi and Yurakucho lines each have escalators and elevators.
The Seibu Ikebukuro line has escalators and elevators.
Use the Metropolitan Exit(Tobu side) for both escalators and elevators.
Most hated big station -- Shinjuku:
Almost no escalators, at least none on the platforms. There is sometimes ONE escalator working so you never know whether it will be going up or down (usually for the convenience of the able-bodied, pram-free commuters). I cannot believe that this is the terminus of the Narita Express! I have noticed that there is a lot of building going on so perhaps in the future we should have some access.
Most loved line -- The Oedo Line:
Every station is served by an elevator from ground level to the platforms (not every exit, so be careful). It is a pleasure to use!
Station of SHAME -- Hiroo:
How I hate this station with all those stupid stairs.
Anyone else have info on this topic? It would be great to compile all the major lines in Tokyo.
By Stephanie Martin on Monday, January 6, 2003 - 6:08 pm:
I think everyone is singing the praises of the Oedo Line; the elevator at Shinjuku Station comes out just across the road from Times Square. Which is great if you are looking for a good selection of foreign books especially for children at the Kinokunya Book Shop at Times Square. (6F)
They now have the elevators working at the Shibuya pedestrian bridges out beside the bus station which has been wonderful.
The train (Yurikome? line) that goes from Shimbashi to Odaiba has Elevators at every exit.
Other than that I am not much more help. If everyone puts in info about their local station and stations they use, eventually all the info will be on here.
By Cindy on Monday, January 6, 2003 - 9:53 pm:
Are Tamieke Sanno (Ginza line), I just do the extra walk to no.13 so I can take an escalator up. (by andersen and the ANA hotel).
My suggestion is to go to Akachan Hompo and buy a backpack stroller. Use the sling until they can hold their head up and then the backpack. We still use it for my 18month old. (good for restaurants without highchairs too)
Since my 2nd son was born here - I too remember lugging my 2 year firstborn around while pregnant in the summer. Funny how it did not help me go into labor any sooner :)
By Cornelia on Tuesday, January 7, 2003 - 2:13 pm:
There is a free pamphlet from Eidan Metro lines in Japanese (not TOEI subway trains) that has diagrams showing exits/entrances/escalators/elevators for some of the subway stations (but not all of them). I personally did not find it too useful at the time due to where I live. I think the latest one is dated June 2002 and not all stations will have them on hand.
I was really lucky in that my daughter was born extra small and stayed fairly light for a very long time. Even now she is only about 19 kilos at age 6. Even so I had a severe lower back pain at one point (in my opinion from carrying a child to much) that required me to go to my local back pain place every day for 15 minutes of heat therapy after I picked up my daughter from daycare. It was covered 100% by NHI at the time! After a week and a half I was OK again. (I found out about this place from the tobacco shop lady across the street. She always knows where I can go for x).
I think most of the train lines were built in an era where temporary or permanent handicaps were not taken into consideration. A friend told me that the date impressed in the steel supports holding up the roof at Shinamachi station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line is 1886?, well, anyway last century...)
I had days when I just could not deal with the buggy on my own. So I went to the ticket window and asked for help. Sometimes I had to wait a bit, but help always came. I'm sure that this would also work at Hiro station, and if it happened a lot, they might finally get around to budgeting an improvement there. Let's face it, that neighborhood is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Tokyo these days. The station should finally get a major facelift.
The Marunouchi line has been getting a lot of help one station at a time (since I arrived in 1992). I think this line was the first underground line built in Tokyo. It is only one story below or above street level in most places so even without elevators it is usually not so bad. For a fact elevators are now available at Myogadani and Korakuen stations.
The Yurikamome line mentioned above is an un-manned trained, a little bit expensive (because it is so new), which runs to O-daiba from Shimbashi. It runs above ground and offers a great view totally worth waiting for front row seats at the head of the two car train. And just like the spanking new Oedo line it has very good handicap access.
There is kind of a universal rule that you are not allowed to roll a stroller onto an escalator. You are supposed to take the child out, carry it, and then carry the folded stroller. I never did that, and I was never stopped or reprimanded. But one does need to be careful at the top of the escalator. Get ready to tip the stroller up a little so that it doesn't "trip" at the top.
By Sherri Leibert on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 5:46 pm:
I have had to make the transfer from the Oedo Line at Shinjuku Station to the the Odakyu Line several times recently. If you find yourself making the transfer between the Oedo Line and other Shinjuku-based lines, it is actually better to take the elevator (Maynes Building Exit) and go to the main Shinjuku Station overground than to take the underground passage. I checked the station map and it appears that you can take escalators the entire way--but it is a LIE! There are several places with sneaky stairs along the way. If you don't mind lugging your stroller up a few stairs here and there it is fine, but if you are lazy and pregnant like me, take the overground route!
By Monica Hobbs on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 7:38 pm:
Thanks for bringing up this topic - I have been here only 4 months and get stranded in stroller unfriendly stations all the time. To add to the list - Shinagawa station has elevators and escalators on the platforms and the main entrance. Sengakuji station (Asakusa line)where I live has none but nearby Takanawadai station has elevators and escalators. FYI - Asakusa station (Sensojii temple) elevator was under repair last month - it was a long way up. Also for those coming from south Tokyo heading to Disneyland it is better to route through Tokyo station where there are elevators than to bypass it for a shorter route where the transfer stations don't have elevators/escalators.
By Admin on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 2:52 pm:
The Yamanote line at Sugamo station has an elevator! Amazing.
By Steve K on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 9:54 am:
Interesting tidbit from my wife, who is Japanese. She was talking about this issue with another mom one day, particularly her struggles at Keisei Yawata station (which we use to get to the airport and shopping areas in Chiba). The mom told her not to be a hero: she suggested that my wife ask the station attendants to help because that's what they're there for. Apparently, when asked, station staff carry strollers up (or down) the stairs WITHOUT the kids in them. Mothers are responsible for this mom carrying kids (and bags?). This policy may apply only to Keisei stations, as far as I know.
By Sherri Leibert on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 2:42 pm:
Thanks for that info Steve. I think it is important for people to make these demands on the station staff, to raise their awareness of our struggles. I do think it depends on the line. A friend of mine with twins, asked if she could ask for help with the many stairs--this was the Seibu Shinjuku Line, and she was bluntly told no. Later after pushing it, they said that the problem is that at smaller stations, if there is only one guard, he cannot help, if there is more than one there, then they can help. But who knows when that will be? Irritating.
Also it is hard to ask for help when it means that you have to climb stairs to find it. And then what do you do with the baby and stroller? I wouldn't be keen to leave my stroller unattended even if my baby was with me as it is usually full of shopping.
On a positive note, I did notice that on the Yurakucho Line they have started building elevators, Kanamecho, Senkawa and Kojimachi.
By Bethan Hutton on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 9:41 pm:
There seem to be a lot of elevator building programs going on at the moment - several Mita line stations (Hakusan, Sugamo etc) are due to have them working within a couple of months, and the Yamanote-sen is getting better. The Namboku line is usually a good bet, but one or two stations have caught me out, eg trying to change from the Yamanote line to the Namboku line at Komagome.
One thing that surprised me going back to the UK for the first time with a baby was how many people offered to help with the pushchair on the London underground - normally I only had to get within a few metres of the stairs for at least one or two people to offer to help, and they were a huge range of ages/genders/races. Here you just get the occasional person who offers, usually a woman who has obviously been through that stage herself.
I know it's not the done thing in Japan, but if you are really stuck it is worth trying to spot a genki and motherly-looking middle aged woman (they seem the most likely to be sympathetic), and smiling hopefully at her at the bottom of the stairs, or even making a direct request...
By Cornelia on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 10:36 am:
"genki and motherly-looking middle aged woman (they seem the most likely to be sympathetic), and smiling hopefully at her at the bottom of the stairs, or even making a direct request..."
My favorite was always the young man, or high school student. They'd look totally surprised but always rose to the occasion, nor did I have to take my daughter out of the stroller.
This is the place where no one offers to help because they are afraid you might be insulted, but where if you ask, you generally will receive help.
By the way Karen, Akihabara JR station is getting a major face lift, nice new toilets with western seats and bigger cubicles, but I didn't check for elevators.
By Bethan Hutton on Monday, February 9, 2004 - 9:52 am:
Omotesando station finally has an elevator to ground level! It may have been open a few weeks, but I only noticed at the weekend. It's in the new building on Aoyama-dori, on the side opposite Natural House, Kinokuniya etc, just a little way down from the Omotesando/Aoyama-dori crossing. It opens directly onto the street so is not hard to find.
The elevators to the platforms at Omotesando have been there for quite a while, and there have always been escalators up to ground level, but now at last you don't have to carry the pushchair down the stairs to get into the station. Makes getting to and from the Children's Castle and Children's Hall a lot easier.
By Bethan Hutton on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 8:50 pm:
Meijijingumae station (Chiyoda Line station closest to Harajuku) now has an elevator to ground level. It comes out on the first floor of the new building with the curved orange and glass facade, on your left after the junction with Meiji-dori if you are heading towards Harajuku; the building houses a Zara store and Golds Gym.
Meijijingumae also has an elevator from platform to ticket barrier, but strangely you don't seem to be able to get from one elevator to the other without having to negotiate a staircase in between. I wonder whose bright idea that was...
So to get out of the station with a pushchair you can either take the lift to ticket barrier level, then the escalator to ground level (comes out by Harajuku JR Station), or take the escalator from the other end of the platform to the other set of ticket barriers, and get the elevator to ground level. Fine for getting out of the station, not so good on your way home: there are no down escalators at either end.
By Bethan Hutton on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 08:52 pm:
Oh yes, and on the Mita Line, Hakusan and Sengoku stations now both have elevators to ground level. Useful if anyone's planning toddler cherry blossom viewing at Koishikawa Botanical Garden (near Hakusan) and Rikugien (near Sengoku).
By Bethan Hutton on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 9:58 am:
Yoyogi Uehara station on the Chiyoda/Odakyu lines - elevators are due to open today (March 31st 2004).
By Sherri Leibert on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 12:46 pm:
A warning, just because a station has an elevator, does not mean that you can depend on it! A friend of mine pushing a double stroller had to turn away and go home after finding the elevator on the Oedo Line was closed for maintainance. The guard watched her buy a ticket and go past, never said a word. When she came back to complain to him, he gave her money back but made no offer to help. When she asked for help he refused.
Her husband called later to complain but was treated very dismissively. At one point he was asked, "did your wife really need to make the journey?" They failed to see why it was important to keep the elevator functioning during opening hours of the station, or to see why they should provide help for people to get up and down the stairs when the elevator is out of order. Very depressing.
By Jellund on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 6:46 pm:
Sangubashi station on the Odakyu line is getting elevators put in now and they will be finished and ready to go in March 2005. I also noticed that there are elevators in Shinjuku on the Odakyu line that are being built now so that could make it a lot easier to get to the South exit from the Odakyu line.
Also, I saw at the weekend that Takadanobaba is getting new elevators too but I do not know the completion date.
Hope this is useful to someone..
By Suzanne on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 8:51 pm:
Hello, I am starting a list of subways that have elevators from the street to the platform. I have a double stroller and using the escaltor is not the best option and often it is too narrow.
I have discovered that there are some elevators in stations that are locked and that even if you call the station attendant, they will not unlock the elevator, rather they will help you carry your stroller down the stairs and other stations have elevators from the platform to the ticket
area, but not to the street or vice versa.
Here are the stations with exits that I've found so far:
Yushima - Elevator all the way up, walk to
exit 1-4, after exiting the turnstiles, turn
left to the elevator to street level - short
walk to Ueno station, zoo from this station
Omotesando - take elevator to the mid
level - cross over to Entrance/Exit B3 to
elevator to street
Nogizaka - elevator to track and to street
- entrance/exit 2
Otemachi - Entrance/Exit E1 - elevator to
tracks on Chiyoda Line - but I did notice
an elevator going to the tracks at
Hibiya Line -
Roppongi - I know there are elevators
from the platform to the station and also
to the street, but I'm not sure the entrance
It would be great if others would post the
elevators at stations that they have used.
By Jellund on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 9:45 pm:
Odakyu line - Sangubashi station will have lifts from February 2005.
Also, there is a webpage, www.ekikara.jp that shows maps of each station and you can tell if there is an elevator or not, it is sometimes hard to know which way the escalators go if they are on the map though
By Bethan Hutton on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 10:15 pm:
New lifts are opening all the time. Here are a few more in my area:
Sugamo station now has lifts from both Yamonote line and Mita line to the surface.
Ikebukuro station has lifts from the Marunouchi line and JR lines to ticket barriers, and then you can either use the lifts/escalators in Seibu or Tobu department stores, or (if it's outside department store opening hours) the lift to pavement level on the Seibu side (near the Marunouchi line ticket barriers). There may be a public lift to ground level on the Tobu side, but I haven't looked recently.
Korakuen/Kasuga station on the Marunouchi/Namboku/Oedo line has a variety of elevators to the ticket barriers and ground level, but you can't access them from the Mita line platform of Kasuga station.
By Yuko Kubota on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 10:31 pm:
Wheelchair guides like the following are also useful for strollers, especially keeping in mind that wheelchair accecible toilets accept parents with infants as well (but once, my toddler pressed the door button while I was...!)
By Nancy on Monday, November 22, 2004 - 10:48 pm:
In case you ever travel to Yokohama, here is a link with station access. http://www.welcome.city.yokohama.jp/eng/tourism/walking/1100.html
Unfortunately it is out of date and the Minato Mirai Line - MM21 from Shibuya to Motomachi is not shown. I believe most of the new stations along this line have elevators.
By Roxy Drake on Thursday, November 25, 2004 - 10:10 am:
The entire Toyoko from Shibuya through to China town has elevators, except Jiyugaoka (which is one of the busiest stations on the line). The Nanboku and Oedo lines are good, however when the Nanboku hits what used to be the Meguro line it is hit and miss. Per the powers to be on these lines every station will have elevator access within the next ten years.
When you enter a station (providing that it is possible to do so) you can ask them to have someone meet you at your destination and they will carry the stroller down/up the stairs for you. For subway lines this can be impractical as it is often very difficult to get down the stairs, however where it is possible ask away.
By Suzanne on Friday, November 26, 2004 - 9:33 am:
Thanks everyone for contributing. I did check on the other link as well.
I did discover that the Hibya stop has an elevator from the platform to the ticket gates on both the Chioyda line and the Hibya line, however, if you want to transfer you are in trouble. There are only stairs.
I had one daughter in a sling and one sleeping in a stroller loaded down with groceries when I discovered this. Luckily, I had a kind station attendent and they put my daughter in the stroller on the wheelchair lift to get her up the stairs. I have discovered that this is very uncommon. Usually the station attendant will help carry the stroller up and down the stairs rather than use the wheelchair lift. Which makes me a little nervous
about following the wheelchair accessible guide.
By Elizabeth on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 4:53 pm:
Chiba station now have elevators on most platforms, as does narita station. If not elevators, escalators are good. Everytime I have been to either of these places, I have been given help with the stroller
By Bethan Hutton on Monday, April 4, 2005 - 10:45 pm:
JR Akihabara station has now been revamped and has elevators everywhere, as far as I can see (I didn't have time to check every platform, but the Yamanote line was certainly fine). Makes life easier if you are electronics shopping or visiting the Transport Museum with a little one in a pushchair.
By Kelly Wang on Sunday, April 10, 2005 - 11:37 pm:
When I transfered from Sinkansen (Osaka to Tokyo) to subways at the Tokyo station last week, I found two elevators, back to back, at the end of the platform of Sinkansen. One is "for staff only". Another appears to be for wheelchairs, but it was shut down. I pushed the "staff only" elevator. It came up but there was an attendant in it. No matter what I said, he wouldn't let me and my baby with stroller in. He only repeated one sentence to us: "No. Staff only." But our arguement called the attention of a station attendant on the platform. He called another attendant and after about 5 minutes the other attendant came. He turned on the elevator for wheelchairs and lead me through a storage area of station and walked a long way till Marunouchi line. I have to admit that the first attendant in the "staff only" elevator is right. Even if he let me in, I could not find the way to the subway stations without guide.
The conclusion is, transfer from Sinkensan to subways, there is an elevator, but you must call the station staff to lead you through it.
By Melissa Woods Nelson on Friday, August 5, 2005 - 1:02 am:
There is a great free guide available at the occasional subway station called "Barrier Free", which lists, for every station on every line in the Metro system (but NOT JR or Toei lines, etc.) whether there is an escalator or elevator from platform to ticketing area, and from ticketing area to ground level. When there is an escalator or elevator, it lists where they are located. It was published in June 2004 so it should be pretty up to date.
It is hard to find, and only in Japanese - but fairly easy to use with just with Katakana and HIragana, some (Kanji) shape recognition skills, and a little patience. It is organized by Metro line (color-coded), listing the stations in order as they occur on the line. Elevators and escalators are indicated by pictures, and one column shows the trip between platform and ticketing area, and the next column shows ticketing area to outside.
I think it was Oji station where I found it a few weeks ago. Even if you don't read Japanese, I recommend you pick up one if you find it. A 10-minute briefing from a Japanese-reading friend can make it usable ... and certainly better than pure guess work.