京都地圖|Mapping Kyoto|京都をマップ

看地圖成了我每天的課題|My daily homework - Mapping Kyoto|毎日の宿題

看地圖成了我每天的課題|My daily homework – Mapping Kyoto|毎日の宿題

 

說到地圖,日本人在這方面也真的很細心。地區觀光局的網站不用說,各景點的網站都會附有地圖和各種交通手段的介紹,甚至會註明從哪個起點開始到目的地所需要的時間。

在互聯網還未發達的年代,外地人去日本旅遊不能說很容易。拿着一本厚甸甸的旅遊書一幅地圖,如果本身不懂漢字,都不知要如何把書裡的英文字跟街上的日文字配對了。即使懂漢字,迷路的時候,一樣無法跟普遍不諳英語的日本人問路,儘管他們總會很努力的嘗試以日語跟你說明。就連日語班的老師也打趣說,日本人總覺得只要他們講得慢一點清𥇦一點,對方便會明白自己講的日本語。但是每次我遇到這些明明無法溝通,卻因為接受了你的依賴而無論如何也要幫到底的日本人,都會感到萬分感謝和敬意。

原本我也擔心會搞不懂日本的地理,尤其是這兒自家的市町村系統,但結果也是過慮了。在現今每個人都手握一部智能電話的年代,在日本迷路基本上是不太可能的事。出門前先查看了備有各國語言的網站和下載了地圖(最近開始把所有感興趣的地點都存在Google Maps,還可以用GPS,真的太方便了),再在交通網查閱適用的交通工具時間表和車資,那麼就連旅遊書和地圖也不用帶便可以輕鬆上路了。

當要乘市公車時,那張附有景點位置的市公車路線圖便非常方便。很多公車站都以景點名稱為名,如果你要去金閣寺,那在金閣寺前下車準沒錯。每個公車站都顯示了公車到站的時間(真的一分不差)、路線和方向。在公車上隨了有全線的路線圖,也有廣播和電子屏幕顯示公車的行程。

即使想隨心一點,甚麼地圖也不帶不看的走上街上,在這兒四處都會看到地圖。不計在遊客服務站和重要交通樞紐可以拿到的觀光地圖,在京都街上每一個街角都會有指示牌和地圖顯示周邊的大小景點和距離,而最令我佩服的是在各鐵路車站內,都會有該鐵路公司製作的沿線觀光地圖,推介各種旅遊路線和特別觀光車票。例如之前便會有很多不同的櫻花路線,教你如何買一張日票看盡沿線的櫻花。在主要景點、文化設施、甚至店舖,也會發現他們自家製的周邊地圖,不只要你看他一個,也邀請你去看他們身處的地區和周邊的好去處。每一幅地圖都各有重點主題特色,於是我都一一拿回家,每晚看地圖便成為了我最近的一個興趣 。

 

Speaking of maps, the Japanese are really scrupulous. Not to mention regional tourism websites, even in the websites of each individual sight there are detailed access information, stating time needed to travel from a particular starting point.

In the time when internet was still unknown, it could only be difficult for the foreign visitor to travel Japan. With a thick travel guidebook and folded map, it was near impossible to match the foreign names in the book and map with the Japanese words out there if one did not know any Japanese or Kanji characters. Even if one could read some Kanji, it would still be impossible to ask for directions from the local Japanese who barely spoke any English, though they would try their best to explain in Japanese. My Japanese teacher once joked that the Japanese tended to believe that if they spoke Japanese slowly and clearly they would eventually be understood. Yet whenever I meet these kind Japanese people who always try their utmost to help even when it is impossible to communicate, I cannot but feel a deep gratitude and respect for them.

In fact, at first I did worry that I would not be able to make sense of Japanese geography, especially their municipal system. But it proved that I have been worrying too much. Nowadays when everybody has a smartphone, it is rather difficult to get lost in Japan. Before going out one checks the websites in different languages and downloads the maps (recently I begin to save the interesting spots onto Google Maps, and use it with GPS – it cannot be more convenient), then consults the transport time table and fare, then it is not even necessary to bring a travel guidebook nor a map.

When one takes the city bus, that bus map with all the important sights printed on it proves very useful. A lot of bus stops are named after the sights, so for example to go to Kinkakuji one can just confidently get off at Kinkakuji-mae. At every bus stop there is information about the arrival time schedule at that particular stop (and it is more punctual than punctual), bus route and direction. Inside the bus there is the entire city bus map, while there is announcement at every stop and a monitor displaying the progress of the bus.

If one prefers to be more random, and take nothing with you out, there are maps everywhere in Kyoto. Regardless of those free maps available for free at the tourist centres and major transport depots, there are signs and maps at every street junction showing major and minor spots in the area and the distance. What impresses me most is that within each railway station there are sightseeing maps produced by the respective railway company, recommending spots along their railway lines and special tickets. For instance there were different recommended routes for seeing Sakura blossoms, how to see all the flowers along the railway line using a one-day pass. In major sights, cultural institutions, and even shops, one finds specially designed area maps, recommending not only themselves but the entire area and interesting things within. Each map has its own interests and style, and whenever I see one I would take it home, and studying maps has become my recent evening pastime.

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