Toei Ōedo-sen (Metropolitan Greater Edo Area Line)
Edo was sometimes called the Venice of the East because its many rivers and moats were the fastest modes of transportation in the shōgun’s capital. Sadly, very little remains of the vast water network. These days, the best way to get around the city is by train – subways, surface level trains, and the occasional elevated train.
The Ōedo Line makes a kind of loop around the old city of Edo, and it hits a lot of interesting places. Most of the places fit into the story of Edo-Tōkyō very well. It’s the deepest subway in Tōkyō[i]. It stops at so many places that I’ve already written about on JapanThis! that you should be able to easily find what you want to find along its route[ii]. If you’re in town, you’ll probably take it somewhere. I usually translate 大江戸 Ōedo as “the Greater Edo Area” but it’s an old term that never really had an official translation into English. It simply refers to Edo and its surrounding areas – areas that were linked culturally and economically to the shōgun’s capital.
So… How About Taking a Tour of the City on this Train?
It’s possible. But not in one day.
If you are a resident of Tōkyō, I think you could leisurely tour Tōkyō via the Ōedo Line (including the places included in my related links) in 1 year[iii]. If you’re a tourist, read through the article carefully – including the footnotes. Choose your battles wisely. If you’re hardcore, you could hit 3-5 spots in a week[iv]. I say this assuming you will want to visit other places and do other things too. Also, there are quite a few stations in Shinjuku – but I tend to think of Shinjuku as a single place, so these are redundant. There are also some stations that you could easily skip.
By the way, if you’re interested in something like this:
So Without Further Ado, Here Are The 38 Stations of the Ōedo Line in 32 Articles:
The Ōedo Line Extravaganza
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[i] Possibly the world.
[ii] I’m fairly certain that I’ve provided enough links to past articles and external links to keep someone busy for at least a year.
[iii] 6 months, if you’re really committed and dedicated to this as if it were a pilgrimage.
[iv] I totally made this number up, by the way. lol.