Book of Dreams


The snow has been falling off and on all day. A good day to snuggle up with my book of dreams which arrived today, December’s Japan Railroads Timetable. Oh, if you’re concerned about the barcode label smack on the train on the cover, the label says that you can take it off without damaging the book. That’s considerate that they let you know that trying to peel off the label won’t mar your dream book.


At over 1,000 pages, it is loaded with information. It has maps of all the JR lines from the very south to the very north of Japan listing all the stations as well as many bus and ferry lines.


There are detailed train station guides of major stations showing the levels and platforms used by different train lines. With these guides you can quickly determine that if you get off from car 3 instead of the car 6 you are in, you’ll be right by the stairway or escalator to take you to the level and platform you need to make that two minute connection.


The timetables are invaluable for deciding which train to take to where you want to go.


The timetable is also chuck full of mysteries. For example, it warns you when a train arrives even one minute later or earlier on some days. In the example here on page 44, the Komachi 25 bound for Akita, arrives 4 to 7 minutes later on December 28 through 31, and 3 to 9 minutes later on January 1 through 4. What it doesn’t explain is why. In this case it must be on account of the New Years holidays, but why does the Kodama 753 train, listed on page 9, arrive in Kokura one minute early on February 2 and 9 at 21:26 instead of the usual 21:27? It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? If you need one additional minute in Kokura, those are the days to travel.