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Jordi Lippe-McGraw
April 11, 2016

For travelers, subway maps can be a struggle. Between the colors, directions, and station names, figuring out which way you need to go can be one of the trickiest parts of your trip to a major city. Throw in some foreign language characters and the possibility of getting lost increases exponentially. That’s why East Japan Railway Co. in Tokyo (perhaps one of the world's most confusing railway lines) is changing its labeling system to (hopefully) make navigating the rails just a bit easier for visitors.

According to Japan Times, the rail operator will follow in the footsteps of Tokyo Metro Co. and other railway companies who have already implemented alphanumeric codes. In that system, each line has a specific color, which is then combined with a specific letter signifying the subway line and a number given to each station. For international travelers who don't speak Japanese, this change makes it much easier to remember which station is which. 

East Japan Railway Co. will start updating station signage and other displays by the end of this year in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. 

This tourist-friendly system is spreading across Asia as well. Taipei Metro is set to change the name of its lines and will follow a similar color-coded process along with giving station names alphanumeric codes. 

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