Traffic that Brings New Vitality to the City Where People Gather


On Collection at the Edo-Tokyo Museum

Rickshaws and Stagecoaches Supporting Tokyo’s Development
The star of urban transportation during the Meiji era was the rickshaw, said to be a symbol of the progress of the era. While there are various theories surrounding its invention, the first people who applied for and received permission to run rickshaws in Tokyo in 1870 were Yosuke Izumi, Tokujiro Suzuki, and Kosuke Takayama. An easy mode of transportation for short distances, the rickshaw exploded soon thereafter, with the number of rickshaws in Tokyo increasing to over 10,000 by 1871. Another mode of transportation thriving at the time was the stagecoach. The Tokyo Horse Tramway Company helped many people move between the main streets of Tokyo, connecting Shimbashi, Ueno, and Asakusa for roughly 20 years from its inception in 1882 up until the conversion to electric trains in 1903.
Moving People Around in Comfort, From the Debut of the Railroad to the Opening of the Bullet Train
The first railway in Japan opened in 1872. It ran nine times a day between Shimbashi and Yokohama (currently Sakuragicho), taking 53 minutes. While the speed of transportation advanced as time went by, the most dramatic evolution was achieved with the emergence of the bullet train. What sparked the opening of the bullet train was the Tokyo Olympic Games, hosted in 1964. A total of 515.4 km of track between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka were built in the short period of five years and three months in order to transport visitors from all over the world. Although it had taken six hours and thirty minutes to get from Tokyo to Osaka on the conventional express train, the Tokaido Shinkansen shortened this to about four hours. This was further shortened to three hours and ten minutes in 1965, then to two hours and twenty-five minutes in 2007.
Futuristic New Modes of Transportation Appear
The installation of new modes of transportation is underway for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. One of these is the fuel cell bus, which uses hydrogen as its fuel. The use of hydrogen is effective in reducing CO2 emissions, a cause of global warming, and as such, cars using this as energy are called the “ultimate eco-cars”. As of July 2018, five fuel cell buses developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation are running in Tokyo. The route is roughly 8.4 km long and connects Tokyo Big Sight with the Marunouchi South Exit of Tokyo Station. The city aims to have over 100 such buses by 2020 and is promoting the establishment and expansion of hydrogen stations in order to achieve this.