When you go by a large train station in Japan in Google Maps, you can see that it, along with its surroundings, is often heavily colored (see this example, another example).

First example

I would like to know whether this is more of a national convention, something specific to Google Maps or simply something done by the transport authority?

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    Red= underground shopping area. Orange and yellow= see this Google blog Areas of interest.
    – Kazuhito
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 7:22
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    @Kazuhito I think your suggestion should be converted in an answer.
    – mgri
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 9:45
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to be a general geography/cartography issue, not GIS-centric.
    – Vince
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 15:44
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    @CécileBertau, the best way for saying thanks here is accepting the answer you found as the most useful for solving your issue.
    – mgri
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 18:47
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    I understand OP is not satisfied with the answer. A confusion here is the historical background (data origin) and how it was implemented in Google's API. I can add some pointers if needed.
    – Kazuhito
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


Red is not shopping area. Red is station undeground area together with all station exits. Still you can find some shops in thick part but rare. Especially it's impossible to find any shops in narrow red parts. You can check that info comparing map from Higashi Ginza station to Otemachi station through Ginza, Hibiya and Tokyo stations with this video. There are some shops but mostly it's just a passage way.

Dark red parts are pedestrian bridges over the ground overlapping underground ways. You can see them if switch to 3D view.

Yellow are major roads but it can be buggy in different zoom levels.

  • Red: Underground shopping area
  • Orange and yellow: see this Google blog Areas of interest

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