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Isuzu BDG-RX6JFBJ Journey J #754

12 september 2018 - Shiki (Saitama Pref.), Honchō 5-chōme (埼玉県志木市本町5丁目), Prefectural Route 244.
志04 (shi-04): 柳瀬川駅 (Yanasegawa Station) → 志木駅東口 (Shiki Station East Exit)
Kokusai Kōgyō has a few of these middle-floor shorties for tighter routes. In order to confuse the enemy, they don`t show the route number anyway. This route here is an example of those tighter routes - it runs on streets where deploying a standard-sized bus would block the traffic for the rest of the day. Unfortunately the service level is just abysmal - the number of trips can be counted on Google Street View (12.5 laps Mon-Fri and 9 laps on weekends), and there are approx. three-hour gaps, probably to allow for driver breaks. Overall it connects two subsequent stations on the Tōbu Tōjō line which are only 100 seconds apart by train, but about 15-18 minutes apart on this bus. Overall it`s a curiosity that is probably in the red, but some social level of service must exist - even if it is commercial.



Isuzu PJ-LV234L1 Erga Non-Step #5132

7 january 2019 - Tōkyō, Toshima-ku, Nishi-ikebukuro 1-chōme (東京都豊島区西池袋1丁目), supposedly Metropolitan Route 441. The western side of Ikebukuro station is Kokusai Kōgyō`s lair, so to speak, as I had already shown before. The two buses displaying "out of service" are most likely only showing it to loop around the terminus located to the south of this intersection (behind the photographer). One of the buildings in the background houses a railway model shop, with prices easily able to make one doubt their wallet (but that`s railway modelling in general anyway).


Hino QPG-KV234L3 Blue Ribbon II Non-Step #5081

18 july 2019 - Niiza (Saitama Pref.), Tōhoku 2-chōme, bus terminus to the south of Shiki station (埼玉県新座市東北2丁目).
志31 (shi-31): 新座団地 (Niiza-danchi) → 志木駅南口 (Shiki Station South Exit)
Route 志31 seen in the photo is operated together by Tōbu Bus and Seibu Bus, both companies deploying the service out of their respective Niiza garage. During most of the weekdays, the service operates every 10 to 12 minutes (with some gaps due to driver duty building), with the companies more or less alternating every other trip. The morning peak service sees departures 5 minutes apart, but even then the service requires only six buses. To make things more interesing, because every company sets up their own stop flag with their own information, it means that there are two versions of the route`s timetable at every stop, with each company carefully highlighting trips operated by the other as if it were a variation in routing.



Eidan 7000 #7110

4 july 2019 - Kawagoe (Saitama Pref.), western half of Tōbu Railway Kawagoeshi station (埼玉県川越市・東武川越市駅).
Yūrakuchō/Fukutoshin/Tōyoko line diagram 93S.
Many thanks to this gentleman here. 7110F was taken out of service this week after 17101F began revenue service, the latter being the first set of the new Hitachi-manufactured 17000 series. Hitachi is taking care of the ten 10-car sets, while Kinki Sharyō is undertaking the construction of fifteen 8-car sets. Altogether the 180 cars are to replace the remaining 7000 series antiquities dating from 1974-89. Compared to the old trains, the new sets are to have more powerful air conditioning units, a lower floor level, and slightly wider seat spacing. At the same time the nominal capacity is increasing: for a 10-car set from 1424 to 1518 pax.
The company of two Tōbu 50000 series sets fits in quite well - the newly arriving 17000 series is being built on the same construction and structural concepts as the 50000 units seen here, even if they are 10 years apart.



Comments: 2

Isuzu QPG-LV290N1 Erga Non-Step #3100

13 december 2018 - Shiki (Pref. Saitama), Honchō 5-chōme (埼玉県志木市本町5丁目), plac terminala autobusowego Shiki-eki Higashi-guchi.
志05-3 (shi-05-3): 志木駅東口 (Shiki Station East Exit) → 中宗岡 (Naka-muneoka)
Pod zdjęciem 1064849 pada stwierdzenie, jakoby przewozy po japońskiej aglomeracji stołecznej to była głównie kwestia kolei. Sprostujmy więc lekko temat. Według statystyk podanych przez ministerstwo odpowiednie ds. transportu, w 2010 roku było 385 tys. użytkowników autobusowych biletów okresowych w aglomeracji stołecznej. Oczywiście przy dziennych 40 milionach pasażerów kolejowych oraz 8,5 milionach sprzedanych kolejowych biletów okresowych jest to naprawdę słaba liczba (ledwie niecały 1% użytkowników i prawie 4,5% posiadaczy), ale trzeba wziąć pod uwagę, że odsetek pasażerów korzystających z biletów okresowych w porównaniu do wszystkich jest zaskakująco niski (w 2010 r. w dojeździe do pracy 31% wszystkich pasażerów kontra 60% płacących z e-portmonetek). Kluczowy jest w tym fakt, że wiele dojeżdżających do pracy lub szkoły i jednocześnie korzystających z kolei dystans "ostatniej mili" pokonuje również innymi środkami, jak np. na rowerze (a ile mnie już takich prawie do szpitala zesłało!), czy też na piechotę. W porannym szczycie powszednim pomiędzy 70% a 95% korzystających z autobusów to dojeżdżający do pracy lub szkoły - liczba ta zmienia się zależnie od terminala autobusowego, natomiast ok. 60% wzwyż z tych osób korzysta z autobusów 5 dni w tygodniu, a ogólnie pasażerów regularnych (przynajmniej 2 dni w tygodniu) będzie pomiędzy 80% a 90%. Skalę autobusowych przewozów pasażerskich niech pokaże jednak jeszcze jedna kwestia, którą policzyłem już ja na podstawie informacji na stronach przewoźników. Wybrawszy z niemal setki przewoźników istniejących w aglomeracji tokijskiej kluczowe 18, tylko 14 z nich miało co prawda takową statystykę, ale te 14 firm razem wziętych posiadało na stanie, wliczając również pojazdy dalekobieżne - niespełna 11800 pojazdów. Obrazki więc jak ten wyżej - kilku ładujących pasażerów pojazdów, często wielu firm, są nie dość że uzasadnione, to bezsprzecznie częste... i potrzebne w funkcjonowaniu tego unikatowego organizmu. Brak angielskiego opisu celowy.



Comments: 6

Hino Blue Ribbon #4-3408

25 january 2019 - Yokohama (Kanagawa Pref.), Nishi-ku, Minami-saiwai 1-chōme (神奈川県横浜市西区南幸1丁目), Yokohama-eki Nishi-guchi bus terminal. Of course just because there is a municipal operator, it doesn`t mean that there are no other operators (well, more on that under further photos). Although two of the buses in the photo belong to the city, the middle one belongs to Kanachū, who operates seven routes from this terminus. Kanji-less numbering of three of them suggest routes operated together with the city, but as it turns out, only one of them (the express 62) is jointly operated by both municipal and private operators, with more departures by the latter - the other two, 1 and 5, are privately operated for nearly 13-14 yeras. Routes operated together by two different companies to this day remain a rather interesting mystery to me, given this is Japan which has no transport authorities at higher level (almost everything, no matter how you look at it, is commercial, albeit rather often profitable).


Comments: 2

Isuzu 2DG-LV290N2 Erga Non-Step #7-1826

25 january 2019 - Yokohama (Kanagawa Pref.), Nishi-ku, Minami-saiwai 1-chōme (神奈川県横浜市西区南幸1丁目), Yokohama-eki Nishi-guchi bus terminal.
87: 横浜駅西口 (Yokohama Station West Exit) → 市民病院 (City Hospital) → 横浜駅西口 (Yokohama Station West Exit) (circular route)
Is this a normal route number? Yes! Yokohama City Bureau of Transportation does NOT use kanji characters in its route numbering. The number and scale of bus operations in Yokohama is slightly mind-numbing, but one way or another you got to somehow cover a 3.73 million population city, which aside from its metric ton of standard-length buses (!!) otherwise only relies on JR, Keikyū, Tōkyū, Sōtetsu, and its own two subway lines. A bit of interesting trivia about Yokohama: as an administrative unit, Yokohama-shi is the most populous city in Japan, however that`s not the case as a general urban unit, in which case it places second - if we can even consider the possibility of splitting out anyting in the wider Kantō agglomeration aside from arbitrary borders.



Comments: 2

Eidan 7000 #7031

25 january 2019 - Yokohama, Minatomirai Line Motomachi-chūkadai station.
Yūrakuchō/Fukutoshin/Tōyoko Line diagram 13S: 713-142/B1413S/6xxx, Motomachi-chūkagai 14:06 → Hōya 15:41
There was a human-related incident on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line that day, and as a result through trains onto the subway and Tōkyū lines were slightly thrown off schedule. According to schedule, this train no. 713-142 should have departed from here at 14:06 - I took the photo at 14:12, while a certain stock allocation tracking website has a note stating "13S 31F 14:13 delayed departure from Motomachi-chūkagai" (I wasn`t the one to put it there), which to be honest isn`t all that bad for a post-accident mess - sometimes such an accident, or to be direct, most often a suicide results in the schedule gone out the window for the next 3-5 hours.



Comments: 4

Isuzu SKG-LR290J2 Erga Mio Non-Step #5759

25 january 2019 - Yokohama (Kanagawa Pref.), Nishi-ku, Minami-saiwai 1-chōme (神奈川県横浜市西区南幸1丁目), Yokohama-eki Nishi-guchi bus terminal.
浜4 (hama-4): 保土ヶ谷駅東口 (Hodogaya Station East Exit) → 横浜駅西口 (Yokohama Station West Exit)
If anyone of you thinks that I`m going to run out of Japanese bus operators, they`re getting closer and closer to the mark. Sōtetsu Bus is closely related to the railway with the same name, which currently operates three lines, with the main terminal some 200 metres behind me. The bus operations area is closely related with the railway service area. The most curious thing of all is however the route number - although the kanji+number scheme is nothing new in the Tōkyō agglomeration, what is new is the kanji character being selected not from, for example, the nearest railway station, but... the operating garage! As a side effect there is a plethora of 旭 (asahi) routes without a single railway station in the area using this character (two of these terminate here anyway).



Comments: 4

Mitsubishi Fuso KL-MS86MP Aero Bus #6566

25 january 2019 - Yokohama (Kanagawa Pref.), Nishi-ku, Minami-saiwai 1-chōme (神奈川県横浜市西区南幸1丁目), Yokohama-eki Nishi-guchi bus terminal. Today`s lot of photos comes from this terminal. Sōtetsu has some intercity bus connections from Yokohama station towards Mount Fuji - judging from the current timetable, this bus arrived from there. In terms of other coach connections, just as any bus operator in the Tōkyō area should have, there is a Haneda airport route (only from Futamatagawa and shared with Keikyū, but still; the Ebina route is currently suspended).


Hino PJ-KV234L1 Blue Ribbon II Non-Step #P-N323

25 december 2018 - Tōkyō, Bunkyō-ku, Ōtsuka 3-chōme (東京都文京区大塚3丁目), Metropolitan Route 437. Here`s a Christmas Blue Ribbon two years later. 25 December 2018 was a Tuesday, so Japanese transport companies operated a regular Monday-Friday schedule. Nevertheless not even a Saturday or Sunday schedule (for which there is no reason on December 25th unless it just falls on the appropriate weekday) would stop routes 学01 and 学07 (gaku-01 and gaku-07) from operating. They are two circular routes connecting the prestigious University of Tōkyō campus with nearby railway stations. I`m only mentioning these routes mostly because apart from 都02 (to-02) they are the only other options that this bus could be pulling out onto.


Isuzu U-LV324K Cubic #G1426-I

27 december 2018 - Niigata (Niigata Pref.), Chūō-ku, Higashi-ōdōri 1-chōme, Prefectural Route 33.
E46: 万代シティ (Bandai City) → 新潟駅前 (Niigata Station) → 新発田営業所 (Shibata Depot)
I also have, why not, this back then 23-year-old Cubic as a present. I think I might have mentioned this with the original Niigata series, but the operator over there has a habit of pushing older stock into its subsidiary, which is responsible for the typically suburban and regional routes. Given that the network is quite centralised around Niigata station, Bandai City bus terminal and the city hall, it doesn`t change much in terms of variety in the city centre itself, however there is a noticeable difference in the middle of nowhere, where low-floor buses don`t venture a whole lot (not that Niigata Kōtsū marks low-floor departures on timetables to begin with). Vertical traffic light as a bonus.



Comments: 2

Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star #6286

15 february 2019 - Himeji (Hyōgo Pref.), Ekimaechō (兵庫県姫路市駅前町), bus terminal area outside Himeji station.
39: 姫路駅北口 (Himeji Station North Exit) → 龍野 (Tatsuno)
Today`s very random series is not motivated by location, but by bus type. Mitsubishi Fusō Aero Star is after all a rather rare model amongst Japanese city bus operators in recent years - given that the market is dominated by Isuzu Erga slash Hino Blue Ribbon (they`re the same thing...). Meanwhile this manufacturer will appear in Tōkyō (or rather in the state operations) for the first time in eight years, given its winning of a tender for supply of 140 buses. Other operators around Tōkyō don`t have the model seen in the photo in large quanities either (Tōbu doesn`t seem to have anything, the other major operators in rather small numbers), so this series is primarily from outside of the capital.



Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star #547

14 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Inari-ōhashi (広島県広島市稲荷大橋).
25: 井口車庫 (Inokuchi Depot) → 広島駅 (Hiroshima Station)
Headlight frames painted like in a Lion`s City - the topic of the livery is one of many floating around now that the Tōkyō metropolitan government has announced the winner of the tender to supply 140 diesel-powered buses to be Mitsubishi Fusō. The titular company first offered its buses for 2,506,000,000 yen, so around 19.9 mln euro, or 142,350 euro per unit. Somehow however, through some sort of sorcery, their winning price was 2,756,600,000 yen, coming to around 156,600 euro per bus.
There will still be plenty of opportunities to discuss the bus side of Hiroshima.



Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star #A5-829

13 december 2018 - Niiza (Saitama Pref.), Higashi 3-chōme (埼玉県新座市東3丁目), Prefectural Route 40.
清61 (kiyo-61): 志木駅南口 (Shiki Station South Exit) → 清瀬駅北口 (Kiyose Station North Exit)
The yellow tactile tiles seen in the sidewalk leads to more or less where the bus should stop at the barely visible Rikkyō-mae stop. The route in the photo, 清61 (kiyo-61), is one of the numerous bus connections criss-crossing the primarily east-west railway network and connecting the various train stations. These routes however primarily serve as feeders to the nearest station as opposed to connecting the railway lines.



Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star #H1026-M

30 december 2018 - Niigata (Niigata Pref.), Chūō-ku, Hanazono 1-chōme (新潟県新潟市中央区花園1丁目), Niigata-eki-mae bus terminal stands.
E22: 新潟駅前 (Niigata Station) → 新潟空港 (Niigata Airport)
Stand no. 9, occupied by the Mitsubishi Fusō, is dedicated entirely to E2x routes. The airport bus, E22, is the shortest route alongside E21 out of all twelve routes on this corridor. Aside from rte E22 and its rather uninspiring schedule (every 30-70 minutes Mon-Fri and every 50-60 Sat&Sun) and a price tag of 420 yen, there is also an "airport limousine" for the same price, but non-stop and much more frequently (every 20-40 minutes every day with some gaps). Personally I didn`t have to use it - I arrived in Niigata on the Shinkansen - but it`s interesting to see the airport connections compared to some European cities, especially those smaller than Niigata. In terms of impressive frequency one has to see the entire E2x corridor, where E22 amounts to barely anything.



Comments: 2

Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Star #H1208-M

30 december 2018 - Niigata (Niigata Pref.), Chūō-ku, Nishiboridōri 5-banchō (新潟県新潟市中央区西堀通5番町), National Route 116.
W10: 新潟駅前 (Niigata Station) → 内野営業所 (Uchino Depot)
The W1x corridor operates every 15 minutes Mon-Fri and every 20 minutes Sat&Sun for most of the day (with higher frequencies in the peaks of course). However, there is a clear lack of pattern as to which route will operate - during daytime there is more W11 trips, but during the peaks there`s more W10s. I can still respect them sticking to a frequency on the corridor though.



Isuzu PJ-LV234N1 Erga Non-Step #2604

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Dōzamachi (長崎県長崎市銅座町). Putting aside how much I had to look for this place on Google Maps, this company has a really strange approach to passenger information. The number seen on the destination display doesn`t indicate the route as much as the destination area, or sometimes the route taken. Thus when using the stop timetables (which I already mentioned briefly under photo 1010960) one has to search for their route by the terminus name and then by the via points. The 20 seen in the photo is first the Ebira Line (江平線) towards the city centre, and second a very summary-like description of anything terminating at the Nagasaki Shinchi Terminal, or Chūō-bashi (Central Bridge). Well, the result is that timetables near the city centre look more like this...


Comments: 2

Isuzu PJ-LV234N1 Erga Non-Step #2715

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Pref. Nagasaki), Shinchimachi (長崎県長崎市新地町). A little complaining from me, but not unjustified complaining. However the route numbers of Nagasaki trams may make sense (daytime 1, 3, 4, 5, one lap as a 2, and unnumbered extra trips), I have no doubt that buses are simply asking to be reorganized, or rather have a normal system introduced. However, what am I expecting from a company that has a grid of green lines with bus stops marked for a network map, with no information on actual routes?


Miscellaneous vehicles #1826

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Pref. Nagasaki), Dejimamachi (長崎県長崎市出島町). Again a 1, but a different route (Ishihara/Kashiyama/Sakura-no-sato Line) and a different garage (Sakura-no-sato). If someone were to come from Kyōto (never mind Europe) where route numbers are holy, they`d likely get lost, because they`ll board a different 1 than they should, especially if five of them came at the same time, each one going in a different direction. Were I the company, I would seriously reconsider the purpose of this system.


Hino Blue Ribbon #3804

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Dejimamachi (長崎県長崎市出島町). This 21-years-old (at the time) Cubic with NSK bodywork is commencing its approx. 50-minute long trip. The Nagasaki-shinchi - Megumi-no-oka (Nagasaki Junshin University) Line is another good example of messing around with numbers. Trips towards the city are scrolled as a 20, but outbound departures are either a 1 or a 9 depending on the via points. Not like it`s the only route using a 1 scroll - practically all routes operated by Matsugae depot carry the pair of 1 and 20, with some additional usage of 6 or 9 sprinkled in.


Isuzu Erga #2902

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Dejimamachi (長崎県長崎市出島町). A 100 scroll set like this could honestly be any route operated by Yanagai depot (the bus belongs to it is what I`m implying here). To the left is 1503 with the tram depot on a white scroll, indicating one of the extra workings done along route 1 between Urakawa-shako and Shinchi-chūkagai. No idea where everything goes, but the locals seem to know what`s happening.


Miscellaneous vehicles #364

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Preef.), Matsuyamamachi (長崎県長崎市松山町), Heiwa-kōen (Peace Park) tram stop. A red tram heading towards Nagasaki city centre on the red route. 125 metres to the east from this car is the epicentre point of the explosion of the second atomic bomb to have been dropped on Japan. The miserable cloudy weather stayed strong throughout the first half of my trip to Nagasaki, including my visit to the museum dedicated to the attack. Only once I`d left the museum did the clouds part - a question follows, should I look for any signs in such a meteorological turn of events?


Comments: 4

Alna Sharyo Nagasaki Denki Kidō 1500 series #1502

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Aburayamachi (長崎県長崎市油屋町), Shiambashi tram stop. This 26-year-old (at the time of the photo) Alna Sharyō car is only one stop away from its terminus. Along Harusame and Shiambashi Streets (legally speaking, along the final section of the Main Line, 本線 honsen) the tracks are laid down the middle of the road, and the stops are made of (really) narrow island platforms long enough for just one car at a time.


Comments: 6

Hitachi Nagasaki Denki Kidō 201 series #209

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Hamaguchimachi (長崎県長崎市浜口町), National Route 206. This photo shows the air-conditioning units added in 1987 rather well. Japanese Wikipedia claims that some big changes were made to the external appearance of these cars when strengthening the body for air-con installation, but I struggle to see any when comparing with a 1954 photo, aside from perhaps changes to the side scroll location and the front window shape. The red bus in the background belongs to Nagasaki Ken`ei Kōtsū, a company that I somehow don`t have a single shot of...


Hitachi Nagasaki Denki Kidō 201 series #203

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Ōbashimachi (長崎県長崎市大橋町), Urakami-shako (Urakami Depot) tram stop. All of the three-light signals seen in this photo (they always only show two lights) are shunting signals. Shunting signals of the exactly same style are used by practically all heavy railways in Japan, so it`s somewhat interesting to see them used in a tramway network as well. Signal 4 (under the red X) allows switching back on the mainline, as the track layout at the depot is quite inconvenient - in order to leave most of the depot tracks towards the city (as in head in the direction of this car), one has to pull out to the outbound platform and reverse on the mainline towards the city using one of the crossovers behind the tram in the photo. The other signals are used for pulling into one of the stabling tracks in the depot. Signal 8 seen above the platform to the right is also for entering the depot, however this is for cars on the inbound track which reverse using the platform where I`m standing. Quite a lot of shunting involved. The red X above signal 4 is to confirm point locking, as far as I remember.


Hitachi Nagasaki Denki Kidō 211 series #214

11 february 2020 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Nakazonomachi (長崎県長崎市中園町), National Route 206, Akasako tram terminus. A brief reprieve from the Kantō area in the form of nearly the edge of the country - Nagasaki. To start this short series off, a rather peculiar terminus structure: a single bi-directional platform (which by the way is the longest in the network, at 53 metres), split into three sectors. As such, three different cars can terminate here simultaneously. However for the same reason cars depart from here in reverse order of their arrival - first to arrive, last to leave. The points splitting off to the double-track section are right at the end of the platform (behind the photographer). Akasako is also the western-most tram stop in Japan.


Eidan 7000 #7002

4 april 2019 - Namegawa (Saitama Pref.), Haneo, eastern half of Tōbu Railway`s Shinrinkōen station (埼玉県比企郡滑川町羽尾・東武鉄道森林公園駅).
Yūrakuchō/Fukutoshin/Tōyoko line diagram 87S: 787-132/B1387S/F1187S, Motomachi-chūkagai 13:03 → Shinrinkōen 14:53 (88.6 km)
For its first nine years, this set operated with only five cars (7102-7702-7802-7902-7002). Only by 1983 were the remaining five cars coupled in, hence half of the set is older than the other half... albeit equipped the same way.



Isuzu PKG-LV234L2 Erga Non-Step #5221

13 december 2018 - Shiki (Saitama Pref.), Honchō 5-chōme (埼玉県志木市本町5丁目), Prefectural Route 244. Now that I mentioned it, Saitama 244 is probably one of the shortest numbered roads in Japan, at only 855 metres.
志05 (shi-05): 志木駅東口 (Shiki Station East Exit) → 宗岡 (Muneoka) → 志木駅東口 (Shiki Station East Exit) (circular route)
5221 is finishing its lap on the circular route 志05. The route connects Shiki Station with the low-density residential areas of Muneoka in northern half of the city, close to Arakawa and just short of the border with Saitama city. The route operates as a circular around the core of these residential areas, both clockwise and anti-clockwise. Amusingly enough, for Japan`s love of splitting out variations as separate route numbers, the two directions carry the same route number - it`s only trips cut short that have off-shoots.



Comments: 2

Isuzu QPG-LV234L3 Erga Non-Step #5457

8 october 2018 - Tōkyō, Toshima-ku, Ikebukuro 2-chōme (東京都豊島区池袋2丁目), Metropolitan Route 441.
池21 (ike-21): 高島平駅 (Takashimadaira Station) → 池袋駅西口 (Ikebukuro Station West Exit)
This 池21 trip, operated by Ikebukuro depot this time, is nearing its end - after this stop, which doesn`t even have a timetable on Google Maps, all that is left is the Ikebukuro terminus. The advert carried is for a popular brand of green tea sold in plastic bottles and available in the vast majority of vending machines (and by extension, of shops). Despite the high number of buses passing through here, photography is made difficult by cars parking almost anywhere and the omnipresent little barriers.



Isuzu KL-LV280L1 Erga Non-Step #5023

16 october 2018 - Tōkyō, Toshima-ku, Nishi-ikebukuro 1-chōme (東京都豊島区西池袋1丁目), Ikebukuro-eki Nishi-guchi bus terminal main section. This terminal is dominated by Kokusai Kōgyō and its frequent connections. The following routes start here after all: 池02, 池03, 池04, 池05, 池11, 池20, 池20-2, 池21, and 池80 which runs to the depot (池 = ike). Route 池07 also appears here for its intermediate stop. All of the routes mentioned are operated by the nearby Ikebukuro depot, although 池20 and 池21 are operated jointly with Shimura depot, and the 池11 with Kantō Bus. Not all routes actually start service from stops in or near this shot, but due to the road and stop layout all of them at least turn around through here. Aside from typically city routes, there are also departures of the night bus parodies and the express airport buses from here. The latter is more so curious as one can get from Ikebukuro by rail to both key Tōkyō airports with one transfer at most (for Haneda via Yamanote and Keikyū lines transferring at Shinagawa; for Narita via Yamanote and Keisei lines transferring at Nippori), and even without transfers to Narita... and it would definitely be faster than by road, but nevertheless there is...was interest.


Comments: 4

Isuzu KL-LV280L1 Erga Non-Step #5037

16 october 2018 - Tōkyō, Toshima-ku, Nishi-ikebukuro 1-chōme (東京都豊島区西池袋1丁目), Ikebukuro-eki Nishi-guchi bus terminal main section.
池21 (ike-21): 池袋駅西口 (Ikebukuro Station West Exit) → 高島平駅 (Takashimadaira Station)
Now that we are outside of the Yamanote line loop (and outside the Akabane, or rather Saikyō line axis), the number of buses operated by the metropolitan government drops a lot, even though there is still over 8 km left until the border of the 23 wards. Instead, bus transport in this area is dominated by an array of private companies, oftentimes associated with the private railway operators which have their lines or terminals nearby. Kokusai Kōgyō is an exception here - the company is not associated with any railway, despite a brief stint with Dai-tōkyū in the 1940s, as historically it was formed from mergers and splits of various private carriers in the Itabashi and Akabane areas. The operator currently has 10 garages spread around Tōkyō and Saitama prefecture. However logical it may be that the company spread out towards Saitama city (more or less along the already mentioned Saikyō line), its Hannō depot, detached from everything else, is quite curious (albeit historically justified), being in a typically Seibu area and what not.



Isuzu 2DG-LV290N2 Erga Non-Step #P-D302

25 december 2018 - Tōkyō, Bunkyō-ku, Ōtsuka 2-chōme (東京都文京区大塚2丁目), National Route 254.
都02 (to-02): 錦糸町駅前 (Kinshichō Station) → 大塚駅前 (Ōtsuka Station)
Today`s topic is a short series of Toei buses. I think it would be worthwhile to explain what Toei actually is. It is in fact a section (bureau) of the metropolitan government of Tōkyō. To lay it over British terms, it`s as if the Greater London Assembly planned and operated the bus services directly using its own buses and hiring its own drivers (not even with TfL, but literally as an office out of the GLA). When referring to the Tōkyō metropolis it`s important to note that I`m referring to the prefectural-level body - Tōkyō city as a local government body ceased to exist in 1943. Perhaps it`s a slightly strange arrangement, but Japan just about doesn`t have tendering and contracting processes in public transport (at least as far as I know) - it`s either one of the 28 local government transport bureaus, or private operators, which are one way or another often tied to one of the railway conglomerates.



Isuzu QDG-LV290N1 Erga Non-Step #R-B771

14 september 2018 - Tōkyō, Edogawa-ku, Naka-kasai 5-chōme (東京都江戸川区中葛西5丁目), bus terminus adjacent to Kasai metro station.
秋26 (aki-26): 葛西駅前 (Kasai Station) → 秋葉原駅前 (Akihabara Station)
Apparently you can get to Akihabara on this bus. So far, true, but whether this thing`s got a set frequency is another story. Mondays to Fridays it sports a solid morning peak at every 6-10 minutes, interpeak at every 26-28, and an afternoon peak at every 19-21, or maybe 15-16. On Saturdays it runs apparently every 19-21 minutes in the morning, but later every 23-24. Only on Sundays does it run every 20 minutes for most of the day. What of it, however, if the last departures are before 10pm? That`s how most more frequent city bus routes look like in Japan: most companies don`t know what a set frequency is, never mind synchronisation modules, and above all, departures after 22:30 are rare beyond rare.



Nissan Diesel PKG-RA274KAN / NSK 96MC #N-P482

12 september 2018 - Tōkyō, Toshima-ku, Higashi-ikebukuro 1-chōme (東京都豊島区東池袋1丁目), Metropolitan Route 305, Ikebukuro-eki Higashi-guchi bus stop.
王40甲 (ō-40-kō): 西新井駅前 (Nishi-arai Station) → 池袋駅東口 (Ikebukuro Station East Exit)
One of the first photos that I took in Japan that can be published here. It`d been only a week and a bit by then - I still didn`t really know what, how, where and when...



Isuzu 2PG-LV290Q2 Erga Non-Step #H1127-I

30 december 2018 - Niigata (Niigata Pref.), Chūō-ku, Hanazono 1-chōme, bus station located in front of Niigata railway station (新潟県新潟市中央区花園1丁目).
C31: 新潟駅前 (Niigata Station) → 西部営業所 (Seibu Depot)
Back to Niigata we go... Two Ergas (titular and H1047-I on rte W22) and another I-have-no-idea-what-it-is are loading passengers at the stands of Niigata-eki-mae bus stop. As seen in the photo, the buses are reversed into the stand entrances, which is good in terms of pulling out from the station, as well as given that passengers board via the back doors.
The bus network is built such that routes that operate mostly within the city terminate here. However, routes that operate outside of the built-up areas but still operated with city buses serve this stop en-route. Since they serve these reverse-entry stands, buses arriving here reverse in service with passengers on-board. However, staff on-site assist with the reversing process; they are also the ones to permit pax to enter the stand area. I don`t have any photos worth publishing from the reversing itself, however. The snow comes as a bonus.



Comments: 1

Isuzu QQG-LV234L3 Erga Hybrid Non-Step #E165

14 september 2018 - Tōkyō, Edogawa-ku, Naka-kasai 5-chōme (東京都江戸川区中葛西5丁目), bus terminal adjacent to Kasai metro station. I wasn`t in Japan for even two weeks at that point, but I made use of the still free days, and I went to the annoyingly located Tokyo Metro museum. I recommend it by all means - for an acceptably priced ticket of 200 yen (approx. €1.50) one can (try to) learn the history of Tokyo`s subways, their methods of construction, methods of power, or make attempts at a number of simulators.
Keisei Bus operates a wide network of bus services to the east of Tōkyō, reaching as far as Chiba. In the Tōkyō area itself they`re biting into Toei and Tōbu areas.



Mitsubishi Fuso QKG-MP37FMF Aero Star #1352

19 february 2019 - Nagoya (Aichi Pref.), Naka-ku, Sannomaru 3-chōme (愛知県名古屋市中区三の丸3丁目), Prefectural Route 215. Oh the irony, I caught a private operator right in front of the city hall that houses the municipal operator! The world`s ending...
There are seven possible routes that the bus in photo may be operating - numbered from 30 to 36. I have absolutely no idea which one however, as the scrolls are showing something completely different (all seven routes share the same route from the closest located terminus, so that`s probably why), but I put in 30 based on the current schedule. Such passenger information of course goes against logical practice, but as I just mentioned, the operator can afford to do so if the variations operate a common route, especially given that it`s the only service they operate in this spot.



Hino PKG-KV234N2 Blue Ribbon II Non-Step #NH-259

19 february 2019 - Nagoya (Aichi Pref.), Naka-ku, Sakae 3-chōme (愛知県名古屋市中区栄3丁目), one of the multiple parts of the bus terminal adjacent to Sakae metro station. On the second day of my stay in Nagoya, the weather went downhill altogether - it was the only day so bad during my 10 days of wandering halway across the country. Nagoya`s city buses use the typical route numbering scheme, that is, a kanji character and some number. Noticeably however, Nagoya is not afraid to use two characters (see NH-264 to the right on rte 高速1 or my previous photo of NH-144), which is for example rather rare in Tokyo if it`s not the Latin alphabet. I only used the buses a few sparse times, using the subway more to move around the city. The municipal operator has a flat fare, and thus passengers board at the front.


Comments: 10

Hino QPG-KV234N3 Blue Ribbon II Non-Step #1365

19 february 2020 - Nisshin (Aichi Pref.), Akaike 1-chōme (愛知県日進市赤池1丁目), near Akaike station. Akaike is a through-operations border station - Nagoya Subway Tsurumai Line ends here, and Meitetsu Toyota Line starts here, and mutual through-operations take place here. Not too far are the Nisshin metro depot and Nagoya City Tram and Subway Museum. In the background, 1386 on rte either 46 or 47.
In contrast with the previous shot from the city hall, here I was able to at least deduce the route number from the digitless scroll. Routes 51 and 53 form an alternative route to Meitetsu Toyota Line between Akaike Station here and Toyota city centre. And yes, it`s the same Toyota City where the car manufacturer by the same name is headquartered. The conglomerate`s name was not a result of the city name by any means however - quite the opposite, it was Koromo-shi in 1959 that took on the name of the manufacturer that was established in 1937.
This photo is the last from the core of my 10-day trip across half of Japan that took place in February 2019. Any further photos from the Land of the Rising Sun will be perhaps filling in gaps from this trip, or photos from areas closer to my then-home around Tōkyō.



Hino PJ-KV234N1 Blue Ribbon II None-Step #NH-144

18 february 2019 - Nagoya (Aichi Pref.), Nishi-ku, Nagono 2-chōme (愛知県名古屋市西区那古野2丁目). Some 16 months after the trip itself I finally got around to photos from Nagoya. I don`t have anything from the subway, considering that the network itself is not really good for photography. To start off a few shots of the municipal operator - much like in Tōkyō, Nagoya has a Transport Bureau attached to the city hall. Worth nothing is that there are 26 local administration units with such a Transport Bureau, most often called kōtsu-kyoku like here.


Hino PDG-KR234J2 Rainbow II Non-Step #39-1305

17 february 2019 - Ōsaka, Kita-ku, Umeda 3-chōme (大阪府大阪市北区梅田3丁目). Since a comment from @empi asked for a Hino Rainbow in front of the rainbow, I will not fail to deliver! I was afraid the photo wouldn`t be good enough for publication, but I managed something out of it - even though it wouldn`t hurt if it was a bit more focused.
To the left, JR West`s 641-15930 (なにわ200か19-85), a 2015 Isuzu Gala.



Hino PDG-KR234J2 Rainbow II Non-Step #39-1305

17 february 2019 - Ōsaka, Kita-ku, Umeda 3-chōme (大阪府大阪市北区梅田3丁目), Ōsakaeki-mae (大阪駅前) bus terminal. Once again it`s 39-1305, but simply because it`s the best seen bus here. One of the indispensable elements of Japanese bus networks is these small bus terminals located at railway stations. In this case 21 different routes depart from here. Aside from the titular bus we also have: to the left on rte 97 20-2866, a 2010 Isuzu Erga, to the right on rte 36 36-0806, a 2006 Hino Blue Ribbon II, and in the background on rte either 8 or 53 39-1307, a 2009 Hino Rainbow II. One will notice that they are barely any different from each other - after all, Hino Rainbow is merely a rebranded Isuzu Erga. To finish off, above all of them is an eight-car JR West 323 series set.


Hino PJ-KV234L1 Blue Ribbon II Non-Step #36-0803

17 february 2019 - Ōsaka, Kita-ku, Umeda 3-chōme (大阪府大阪市北区梅田3丁目), right beside Ōsaka (JR) and Umeda (back then still, currently Ōsaka-Umeda - private railways) railway stations. The topic of Latinization of public transport information in Japan is as broad as the archipelago itself. In the Tōkyō area it`s pretty much an obligatory element on the vehicles, and it`s quite similar in Kyōto. Other areas of the country are quite varying. The scrolls here are likely to remember the bus` introduction into service in 2006, so I`m not overly surprised by the lack of Latin transciption (Itakano-shako, or Itakano Depot, for those curious). However, one should expect even less Latin transcriptions at bus stops, but even that will depend on the area and the company.


Comments: 3

Isuzu PDG-LV234L2 Erga Non-Step #20-2859

16 february 2019 - Ōsaka, Kita-ku, Ōfukachō (大阪府大阪市北区大深町), National Route 176. I spent the most time in Ōsaka during my ten-night long journey - a whole three nights. It was also the only city that I reached without using any Shinkansens - I decided that the conventional railway offer was more than satisfactory for just fraction of the price.
I`m not entirely sure what is happening with the city buses in Ōsaka. The city department finished their operations on 31 March 2018 and since then the entire network has been operated by a supposedly private, but not really private company. Its shareholders are Ōsaka City and Ōsaka Metro Co., Ltd., or rather, also Ōsaka City.
Completely unrelated, but route 34 seen in the photo was 214.5 mln yen in the black in year 2006 (about 1.83 mln euro by today`s exchange rates), and so it was on top of the rankings in the back then municipal operator`s records.



Comments: 2

Hino LKG-KV234N3 Blue Ribbon II Non-Step #奈良200か724

16 february 2019 - Nara (Nara Pref.), Kasuganochō (奈良県奈良市春日野町), or something like that. Nara is known for its deer walking around the area surrounding the temples, which happily accept special wafers from tourists` hands, however risky it may be for sometimes they try to eat the entire tourist (ekhm). As for the bus, I have completely no idea what it`s meant to be running as (there are some 11 routes operating along that street). It definitely won`t be one of the mutually countered circular routes 1 and 2 that operate around Nara`s city centre.


Hino PB-HR7JHA Rainbow HR #29573

15 february 2019 - Himeji (Hyōgo Pref.), Ekimaechō, Ōtemae-dōri extension (兵庫県姫路市駅前町).
13: 姫路駅北口 (Himeji Station North Exit) → 田寺北口 (Tadera North Entrance)
As far as I noted, Shinki Bus is the main bus service provider in Himeji. Its network of over 50 routes is concentranted on the main Himeji railway station. The network is accessible insofar that route numbers don`t contain kanji characters - however, to counterbalance, the company employs a particularly strange fleet number system. For example here, the combination of the first digit (2) and the bus being a Hino means that the 95 in the middle stands for a bus... produced in 2005.



Hino KL-HU2PMEE Blue Ribbon City Non-Step #6672

15 february 2019 - Himeji (Hyōgo Pref.), Honmachi, Otemae-dōri (兵庫県姫路市本町大手前通り). In the background we have the world-famous Himeji Castle (姫路城). Built between 1333 and 1346, it has been associated with the Japanese government since 1580, and on the UNESCO World Heritage index since 1993. It`s located bang on in the city centre - a mere 15 minute walk from the main railway station. The highest-located spaces offer an excellent panorama view of the city. As for the photo itself, what else could have arrived than an out of service bus...


Isuzu 2PG-LV290N2 Erga Non-Step #A8-726

16 may 2019 - Niiza (Saitama Pref.), Higashi 2-chōme (埼玉県新座市東2丁目), Prefectural Route 40, at around Rikkyō-mae stop.
清61 (kiyo-61): 志木駅南口 (Shiki Station South Exit) → 清瀬駅北口 (Kiyose Station North Exit)
This photo may seem random, but it`s mostly for the sake of trivia. For the first time in 67 years, Seibu Bus is changing its route bus livery. You can see the new template at these URLs: sides, front and back. I dare say it`s nothing more than the sprayman`s nightmare, but I imagine they have already come up with a solution for that. The paintjob needs the refreshment (the current template is showing its age), and you can also see the grey and blue which have recently dominated the mother company`s rail stock.



Isuzu QKG-LV234L3 Erga Non-Step #広島200か17-78

14 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Naka-ku, Hashimotochō (広島県広島市中区橋本町). I did not delve deep into the bus network details during my stay in Hiroshima, mostly because I was focusing on the tramway network instead. I did note three main bus operators, however. One positive point for Hiroshima is a somewhat more normal bus route numbering system, without kanji characters.


Hino KL-UA452MAN / NSK 96MC #206

14 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Naka-ku, Hachōbori (広島県広島市中区八丁堀). The line-up for the lights offers a small cross-section of cars used in Japan. Meanwhile, rte 25 is the most convenient connection between Hiroshima station and the Peace Memorial Park area, at least in terms of walking distances as the stops are located just in front of the park.


Eidan 7000 #7110

4 july 2019 - Kawagoe (Saitama Pref.), Tōbu Railway Kawagoeshi station (埼玉県川越市・川越市駅).
Yūrakuchō/Fukutoshin/Tōyoko Line diagram 93S: C2193S/A1293S, Kawagoeshi 12:40 → Shin-kiba 14:03
Speaking of the Yūrakuchō line - despite the 10-car formation, for the first seven stations it will be under one-man operation. The section from Wakōshi to Kotake-mukaihara has been in complete one-man operation since 28 March 2015. Conductors only get on in Kotake-mukaihara. Hence there is no longer a conductors` office in Wakōshi - only the drivers` office remains, since the conductors` office was moved to Kotake-mukaihara, where it is alongside the Fukutoshin line drivers` office.



Comments: 1

Alna Sharyo 3950 #3955

14 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Minami-ku, Matobachō 1-chōme (広島県広島市南区的場町1丁目). On the other hand, articulated cars (which only run on two routes: 1, and the quasi-railway 2) are crew-operated. The conductor is located by the last door, and they handle the doors and help with payment. Regardless, doors for boarding and alighting are still set (enter by the middle doors, leave by the doors by the cabs). Furthermore, crew-operated trams stop at all stops regardless, whereas one-man cars only on request.


Alna Sharyo 801 #814

14 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Naka-ku, Hashimotochō (広島県広島市中区橋本町). The Hiroshima tram network is 35 km long (therein 18.9 km operate under the Tramway Act, and 16.1 km under the Railway Business Act). There are seven lines in terms of infrastructure, and eight service routes (numbered from 1 to 9 without a rte 4). Miyajima Line (the sole Railway Business Act line) is operated solely by rte 2 (served with articulated cars), which is also the longest route in terms of journey time. Worth noting is the relatively uncommon in Japan standard 1435 mm track gauge. Single cars are all one-man operated.


Alna Sharyo 801 #814

14 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Minami-ku, Kōjin Bridge (広島県広島市南区荒神橋). There are of course short articulated cars as well (as you can see on rte 5 in the back), but these are one-man operated - given they have just two sets of doors. Payment as per usual in Japan - upon alighting, and as per usual one can pay in cash or the whole plethora of IC cards. There are also day tickets available, where the passenger scratches off the validity date and just shows it to the driver.


Osaka Sharyo 2601 #912

13 february 2019 - Hiroshima (Hiroshima Pref.), Naka-ku, Ebanishi 1-chōme (広島県広島市中区江波西1丁目). After two nights in Nagasaki I arrived in Hiroshima, taking four hours on the limited express by JR Kyūshu and on the shinkansen by JR West combined.
Perhaps I was just somehow mentally ready for it, but Hiroshima`s atomic bomb museum did not turn down my mood as much as the Nagasaki one did. Nevertheless, the still-standing memorial-ruin of the old Hiroshima Prefecutre Industrial Promotion Hall continues to remind of what took place nearly 75 years ago.
Worth noting that the previous photo of this car also found it on rte 8. I would not be surprised if it was marked in for the 8+7 interworked services (cars work in an Eba -8- Yokogawa -7- Hiroden-honsha-mae -7- Yokogawa -8- Eba pattern).



Isuzu KC-LV380N Cubic #1714

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Shinchimachi (長崎県長崎市新地町).
I would like to wish everyone a positive and successful New Year!
I originally intended to upload this nearly a year ago, but my spring semester didn`t agree with that idea, so I`m only getting to it now... yet the photo`s been laying around ready for all that time. The scroll is showing perahps the most popular destination in Japan - 回送 (kaisō) being any sort of deadhead/empty journey. There`s plenty of those to be seen around in Japan due to a lot of duties (from what I`ve seen) having to finish or start in the garage. And there you go, empty mileage left, right, and centre.



Isuzu QPG-LV234N3 Erga Non-Step #1584

11 february 2019 - Nagasaki (Nagasaki Pref.), Dejimamachi (長崎県長崎市出島町). A Japanese city bus operator without an Isuzu Erga? I probably mentioned it, but it`s like a British operator without an ADL.
Nagasaki city buses irritated me with their lack of Latin transcription on the scrolls - something I`d only seen in Kōbe other than here. On top of that, the timetables on stops were done in the "one table for all routes" style with the different variations in separate rows - without knowing the city I could only be guessing where goes what, given the lack of any route diagrams on the stops, something that`s a blessed standard elsewhere in the country.



Niigata 320 Series #21

13 may 2019 - 東京足立区西新井大師西, 日暮里・舎人ライナー (Tōkyō-Adachi, Nishiaraidaishi-nishi, Nippori Toneri Liner)

A to jedyny pociąg serii 3200.



Niigata 300 Series #15

13 may 2019 - 東京荒川区熊野前駅, 日暮里・舎人ライナー (Tōkyō-Arakawa, Kumanomae, Nippori Toneri Liner)

Oprócz autobusów, dzielonej z innymi operatorami sieci metra oraz "wiśniowego" tramwaju Toei może się pochwalić jednoszynową kolejką w zoo oraz takim bezobsługowym premetrem na estakadzie (a ja spodziewałem się, że to będzie... tramwaj). Obsługiwane jest 18 pociągami, z czego 16 serii 3000 i po jednym z późniejszych serii 3200 i 3300.



Comments: 6