Cycling The Shortest Tokyo Subway Journey That Ticks Off The Alphabet

Have you ever wondered what the shortest route on the Tokyo Metro is that ticks off all the letters of the alphabet? Of course you haven’t but as you can see in the title that was the objective for the latest train challenge on Tokyo Fox! One of my favourite UK-based YouTubers Geoff Marshall did this on the London Underground at the end of 2021 and I will include his video at the foot of this post.

There are 26 letters in the alphabet but in Japanese there is no equivalent of letters L, Q, V or X so that means you only have to do 22 letters. Options are fairly limited for some of the more difficult letters so, after much scouring of the train map, I was quite surprised to see that it was rather straightforward. As a result, I thought it’d be slightly more interesting to cycle the route. For the record, I did initially do it by train as that is how I got the inside shots of the stations.

1. Yotsuya – The starting point on the Namboku Line and seven letters are instantly ticked off. Only 15 to go!!



2. Nagatacho – Another four letters (N, G, C and H) are gone.



3. Tameike-sanno –  Four more are checked off. They are M, I, K and E. Thank you Mike!



4. Roppongi-itchome – P is a really difficult letter to do and this station is the one to do it at along with R. 17 letters have now been done after just four stops!



5. Azabu-juban – The difficult B, J and Z are all acquired.



6. Shirokane-takanawa – All those letters in that long name (17 in total + the hyphen!) and the big W is the only one to be ticked off!



7. Shirokanedai – The D is gone. Only one left!



8. Meguro – No letters are added here but the line does change (automatically) from Namboku to the Tokyu Meguro Line.



9. Fudo-mae – The F is finally ticked off. This most pointless of subway challenges is over.



This challenge took just under three and a half hours by bicycle and the ride was about 40 kilometres with the Yotsuya to Fudo-mae part being 8.5 kilometres!. I did this in person but of course it could just be done with a map at home or wherever!

This particular train journey takes 22 minutes. Is there a shorter continuous route in terms of time or the number of trains or lines used? How about using the Tokyo Metro only? Or maybe just using one line? Is it possible to do all 22 letters on just one line? If so, how many lines can it be done on? How about trying this using the 52 main hiragana sounds?! Now there’s a few ideas for future challenges!

Click here to read ‘The Quickest Route For Passing Through All Tokyo Subway’s 13 Main Lines’

Click here to read ‘The Quickest Route To Ride The A-Z Of Tokyo Subway Stations!’

Click here to read ‘Cycling Round The Yamanote Line In The Opposite Direction To 12 Years Ago!’

Click here to read ‘The Complete Tour Of Katakana-Named Stations In Tokyo’ 

Click here to read ‘Going Back & Forth To Visit All The Stations Of Kawasaki`s Industrial Line’

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
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