Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Japan Webased Pub. Tranportation Route Mapper

Japan Webased Pub. Tranportation Route Mapper

Feb 23rd, 2004, 05:02 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
Japan Webased Pub. Tranportation Route Mapper

Does Japan offer an online auto-route mapper? For instance, something that allows one to input start/destination addresses and calculates the routes using public transportation as a source. I know several European/US cities offer similar services through there transportation websites. These services actually use real-time information based on train/bus schedules to route how to get you from A to B at xxx time the quickest. This would be a great tool to plan a days event.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 05:54 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 58
Yes, almost all operators offer the web site. Only problem is that most of them are Japanese language site.
tadaoji is offline  
Feb 24th, 2004, 06:48 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 280
Here's the train website equivalent to the europe one. Only glich in it (if you could call it a problem) is that you need to know the station names. You enter station to station and it will give you times, platforms, costs and quickest route. If your not going to major cities though then youll need to research and find out the name of the train station that you need.
http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/
Cosmo is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 06:02 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
Thank you for the link. I'm guessing as technologically advanced as Japan is they would have a site that was bi/tri-lingual. Most Euro/US based sites allows one to literally punch in their start address and destination address. Thus having to enter station to station is pretty much like looking at a paper bus/train schedule which usually includes arrival/departure times and fares. There has to be something similar to, let's say these:

http://www.atac.roma.it/index.asp?LNG=2. - Rome Web Based Trip Planner.

http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com/ - Chicago Web Based Trip Planner.

I actually was able to get around Rome by browsing the site on my cell phone through it's HTML enabled browser. If I stayed out late I knew exactly where and what time I had to catch a bus or train to get to my hotel room. France offers a similar service as I used it a couple times on my recent trip to Paris. The convenience of all of this is that I am able to plan my routes (A to B @ time xxx to yy:yy) with real-time info right on my cell phone. Surely Japan has thought of something like this... If so they would consider having an English link as their subway signs are written in English anyway.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 06:08 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
In addition, one thing I keep in mind is whether the online system shows train to bus to foot details from start to finish. Station to station information gets you no where if the station is 10 miles away from your final destination. These sites will tell you the closest bus stop to the station including bus #, arrival time plus any applicable transfers. It will tell you what direction to walk (by foot) from the train or bus with time and distance to destination. Some even tell you what side of the street you should be looking at.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 06:31 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 574
"a country as technologically advanced as Japan is they would have a site that was bi/tri-lingual. "

Simple question of demographics. Japanese people account for the vast majority of tourists, most Chinese and Koreans can read kanjis. Unless there is a real will and need to attract a significant number of non Asian tourists, the cost of translation doesn't make sense to most operators.
Florence is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 09:21 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
Florence,

Why have english signs in the subway systems? I'm sure their intention was to cater to a broader demographic. With that said, simply coding their transportation webpages to allow different language sets could not be a chore. Japan sees it's fare share of tourists to at least have something similar to what European and US transportation services offer. To implement serveral language sets into these websites could litteraly take a web designer less then a days work to complete. I guess I have to resort to 3rd party web translation services from here on...
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 04:23 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642

It's Japan, BigFeat. It is not Rome and it is not Chicago.

On the roma.it site, I see that they have an English page and it looks like there are links for French, German, and Spanish pages. Do they have a Japanese page?

The rtachicago.com site has an English page, obviously. Where is their Japanese page? It doesn't look like they even have pages in French, German, or Spanish.

In fact, Japan does not get it's fair share of foreign tourists. In the past, the Japanese liked it that way. Recently, I think, they have been making more of an effort to attract foreign tourists.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 04:38 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
I totally understand that.. But then again I'm sure they are conscious of the importance of addressing language barriers if they have subway signs posted in English. What is the cost of a few hundred dollars to implement multi-ple language options in an online transportation trip planner vs the millions they spent on placing English signs on their Westernized Hotels, restaurants, transportation, etc.. Again, my point was directed at their technological advancement vs practical applications in a medium that is intended to reach a global masses (i.e. Internet website). It just didn't make any logical sense to me.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,642

You could read Florence's explanation again. Or you could explain why rtachicago doesn't have a Japanese page and doesn't have Japanese signage on their system. Doing either of those things will answer your question though you may not recognize that fact.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 06:08 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
Well, I think I've come to understand why something I think to be so simple is not utilized in the Japanese webased information architecture. It has come to my attention that Japan is not as savy with computers as I assumed they might be. For instance, It was brought to my attention that many Japanese drafters are not required to learn computer drafting tools (i.e. AutoCad, ProE) whereas it's a pre-requistite in the Western Hemisphere. Moreover, the few companies that do utilize these software will tend to carry outdated versions as they are not inclined to utilize computers in the engineering field as most of its Western partners do. There apparently has been an issue in Cad drawing sharing among companies. Various cad program versions/revision casues a deterioation in information sharing. This information came to me today from an Engineer whom has transferred from Asia to the states. That would explain why even the Japanese online transportation trip planners are not as sophisticated as most that I've seen. As a matter of fact the better ones are 3rd party companies that cater to Japanese transportation info. So bottom line is this really had nothing to do with language at all. It was simply a matter of how Japan rail line companies decided to concentrate its resources in the transportation field. I guess a sophisticated web based trip planner wasn't a priority.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 26th, 2004, 09:12 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,531
The Japanese are very advanced in some ways and seemingly backwards in others (banking in a good example!).
Most of them are not as familiar with PCs, for several reasons...physical space for one, phone access was very expensive at the time that US users were all jumping on the PC wagon, students are home so little that they haven't the time to fiddle with PCs, etc.
But, have you ever seen the Japanese cell phones? They young people spend hours commuting to school, so the developers made ones with useful access to the internet years ago! Colored screens, cameras, instant messaging were de riguer long before we even heard of them here.

They have fabulous auto-route programs on their phones. Type in your location and the phone number of your destination and your phone will walk you right there! I've seen it in action, but haven't a clue how to get on it. We were with college kids.

Translation may be simple but just translating the Kana to English won't always work...the english alphabet can take a lot more space on a tiny
phone screen necessitating redesigning the whole page The bottom line on the translation issue is always if enough people ask for it to be fiscally worthwhile, it probably will happen.

I'm just surprised an American should be so insulted that Japan doesn't do this. Thing about how many places in the US use English/Spanish signs, phone messages, or web sites, especially when you consider how many of our residents are Spanish speaking!
lcuy is offline  
Feb 26th, 2004, 02:02 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
I think insulted is a strong word. Shocked was more like it. I travel to Europe quite often to know how better their mobile technology is then the US. I know the Asian market sells far superior stuff then even them. I purchase my cell phones from London and recently placed an order for their new FOMA N900i Japanese phone for use when I'm there so I'm very much clued in to that aspect. With all that said, I don't think there was anything absurd about me wondering why a company that can put so much technology in a PC (Sony, Toshiba, NEC, etc..) or mobile phone wouldn't consider doing the same with web based services. I think I made a clear point when I stated that they clearly have the outside world in mind when building infastructure with universal language signs. Most other places I've been to have it in their native language. Thus, if one makes the connection between the two it just doesn't add up. But then again, I guess it's all priorities.
BigFeat is offline  
Feb 26th, 2004, 02:10 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
In addition, need I remind everyone that English probably the most commonly learned language universally by all children world wide. A requirement in most institutions. Also a common language that most people in different regions of the world would use with their neighboring countries. So I don't think making an analogy to another language (i.e. spanish, Italian, etc.) other then English in this case is arguable.
BigFeat is offline  
Mar 19th, 2004, 09:49 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 15
I have found a very useful site for the Tokyo subway system. It provides routing between subway / train stations.

http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/

PNEAL107 is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 02:46 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
BigFeat-san,

Many Japanese sites have no English service, that's true.
As a Japanese, I think this situation you mentioned must be improved.

How about learning Japanese before complaining? You seems to come to Japan frequently, so it is highly recommendable.

Follwing sites will meet your need only if you can use basic Japanese. These are very excellent and also available via FOMA N900i cell phone you have.

http://www.ekitan.com/
http://tobus.jp/


Of course every Japanese kids study English in school, but they rarely have oppotunities to use it actually. So many Japanese are still not good at using English.

People who use English as a second language must have some effort to master it.

What is your mother tonge?
yathy is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 03:27 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
Yathy,

I've never been to Japan. My native toungue is English, but I also speak 3 other European languages. I am learning Japanese now as we speak as I do plan on making more trips to the far East in the future. Thanks for the links. However, I think my point was taken out of context. Relative to what some lower level technologically inclined countries are able to do with their transporation infastructure I just assumed Japan would have been light years ahead in that respect. These advances that I speak of do affect the majority of residents and tourist as it appears that the entire country heavily depends on public transportation. Making it easy to plan ahead wouldn't be a bad thing, would it?
BigFeat is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2004, 04:02 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 37
BigFeat-san,

Thank you for reply.

"Making it easy to plan ahead wouldn't be a bad thing, would it?"

Yes. But, it takes time, I think.

Actually, visitors come to Japan are mainly from Asian (not English speking) countries, and Korea is #1, but even Korean signs are not fully developed. (Most Korean especially young people may not use Chinese charaters - KANJI -, now.)

Good or bad, Japanese have never forced to use English or some other langs. That is the difference compared to some other countries you said "some lower level technologically inclined countries" .

From this April, all the subway stations in Tokyo will have station code, such as 'A01' or 'Y18'.
That will help people to find the route easilly, and hopefully these codes can be used when serchiing the sites I mentioned above.

Anyway, I hope you to come to Japan, and please come and see actual Japan and Japanese for yourself.

OMACHI SHITE IMASU (I'm looking forward to see you).
yathy is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 04:24 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 158
Kinda wish I had a chance to participate in the trial for this:

http://www.narita-airport.or.jp/e-navi/

However, I will miss the trial period. All my concerns would have been solved. I wonder if there are any other similar services like this to tourist. I can't activate most of these services offered by cellular companies through contract since I'm obviously not a resident.
BigFeat is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
debj
Asia
4
Feb 22nd, 2017 06:05 AM
inor
Asia
5
Aug 3rd, 2010 11:31 AM
puttakka
Asia
7
Mar 25th, 2008 04:22 AM
Lyndie
Asia
17
May 8th, 2005 04:12 PM
Amanda
Asia
7
May 19th, 2004 06:56 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:20 PM.