Follow the Yellow Brick Road in Tokyo
A special thing to notice when traveling on the Japanese trains
Have you seen a movie produced by Warner Brother’s call “The Wizard of Oz”？ In one of the parts, munchkins tell Dorothy, the Coward Lion, the Tin Man and the scarecrow to follow the yellow brick road. Well, this is almost like it to help people navigate from point a to b.
When I came back to Japan 3 years ago, I noticed many yellow brick road was placed in many parts of Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya but I did not know the purpose of its existence. Then, one day, I’ve learned that the purpose of the yellow tiles is to assist the visually impaired people to get around the streets of many cities. My colleagues were wondering about them also so I was able to explain its purpose.
I view this movement to be very helpful and visually impaired person friendly. This is one of the special aspects of Japan by thinking about their own people who may not be able to get around as a normal person but allocating funds to make their lives better. If you look at the tiles closer, you will see two different types of tiles in the attached photo. One has straight raised lines and the other one has the circle bumps. The one with straight line signifies to the visually impaired person that the road goes straight and it is safe to proceed until he/she reaches the tile with bumps. This signals them to stop determine if you are at the intersection or at the dead end where right or left turn must be made.
In the case of train station for an example, round bumpy tiles are placed approximately 12 inches from the edge of the train station indicating not to go beyond these tiles.
You can see the raised round tiles when the straight movement is prohibited or not safe to do so and warns the people with poor sights. You can see them in front of elevators, escalators and anywhere else where it is dangerous.
Unfortunately, these tiles are not placed every location throughout Tokyo and other large cities but if you pay attention to the road, I am sure that you will see fairly regularly. A good system to help the people within Japan.