Best Tokyo Subway Map: Vollmer Design

Vollmer Design’s superior map of the Tokyo rail and subway system is a must for any visitor to or resident of Tokyo. The map is printed on A3 paper, but is folded small to the size of “3 x 1 2/3 matches” according to the nicely-designed Informa website where the map is available.

Screenshot of Vollmer Design INFORMA Tokyo Rail and Subway Map.Very affordable, even inexpensive, at JPY 270 yen online, it’s less than the cost of a Starbucks latte, or maybe a typical iPhone app. The map is thankfully bilingual, so a visitor can show it to a Japanese speaker and get help, while reading the romanized versions of the names. It also has clear icon markers of major tourist sites like the Tsukiji Fish Market near Ginza, and the Tokyo Tower.

Vollmer Design was founded by Ansgar Vollmer and Yoshiko Tajima. The Informa site looks to be Vollmer Design’s site specifically for this map. Here’s what the Informa site tells us about the map’s concept:

The R&S Map provides quick access to this complex city, and is of particular use to short-term visitors. Conventional route maps function only as route-finders and have been made obsolete by today’s digital information systems. The R&S Map, on the other hand, serves as an orientation guide and gives a good conceptual view of the city.

Tokyo’s train stations, rather than it is streets, are the important feature of the city. For this reason, because the R&S Map shows all lines and stations as well as geographic information, such as parks, islands, etc. in relative position to each other, it is possible to get the idea of a schematized city map.

I always like to have a map of the complex Tokyo subway system on my wall for easy reference, even though I have lived in Tokyo and Greater Tokyo since 1987. This one’s a keeper, and I think even Professor Edward Tufte would be proud [1]. I am looking forward to a map of Yokohama, too, Vollmer Design!

You can buy one here.


21 May 2009 - Just got mine in the mail from Vollmer Design. It’s a small and attractive map!

Vollmer Design's Informa Tokyo Rail & Subway MapVollmer Design's Informa Tokyo Rail & Subway MapVollmer Design's Informa Tokyo Rail & Subway MapInforma->.com SiteVollmer Design- Welcome

[1]Tufte is well-known as a, if not the, authority on information design. Check out his incredible books.