JR新宿駅南口 South Entrance to JR Shinjuku Station

Recorded by Thomas Baudinette

The Shinjuku Station Complex is one of the largest train stations in the world. In 2007, 3.64 million people passed through the station everyday, making it the busiest train station in the world. A number of public and private lines operate at the station, including the JR Lines (Yamanote Line, Chuo-Sobu Line), Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Subway Lines (Toei Shinjuku Line, Toei Oedo Line), the Keio Lines (Keio Line and New Keio Line) and the Odakyu Odawara Line. A number of JR (Japan Railways) shinkansen (bullet train) services are also operated out of the complex, as well as the intercity JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line.

This recording was made at the South Entrance to JR Shinjuku Station by Thomas Baudinette, who was standing near the kaisatsuguchi (ticket gates).

Shinjuku Station, South Entrance (from above)

This is peak hour at the world’s largest and busiest train station, at one of its three main gates. The noise was amazing, it was so loud it was almost deafening, and you could actually feel it as wave after wave of people rushed by. The announcements, which you can just barely hear, were eclipsed by the sea of people, so I positioned myself right under a loudspeaker. You can hear the beeping of the kaisatsuguchi (ticket gates) as people go through, it is very repetitive. Occasionally throughout this recording you can hear announcements for the Narita Express (a train to Tokyo's major international airport): these were made throughout the day in Japanese, English, Chinese and then Korean (always in this order). The announcements are almost completely drowned out by the overwhelming noise of the people as their voices echo throughout the station building. The noise swells and reaches its loudest at around the 2 minute mark of the recording. At around 3.04 you can hear a higher pitched beeping due to someone whose ticket didn’t work at the gate, and who was subsequently barred exit. The duller, lower beeps are for those people successfully going through. At 3.44 there is a Korean announcement, drowned out by the people. Finally, at the 6 minute mark, I decided to move away from the kaisatsuguchi, but it was still quite noisy and you can still hear their beeping from quite a distance away.

The recording is long, but it shows the typical sounds of the station during peak hours on a weekday.

Recording and photo: Thomas Baudinette

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