Avoid rush hour and get free noodles

The operator of the Tokyo train line that topped last year's congestion rankings in Japan is asking commuters to sign up for an early bird campaign to reduce overcrowding, offering participants a bowl of "soba" noodles as a reward.

Tokyo Metro Co., a subway network operator in the metropolitan area, said it would buy 3,000 passengers on its Tozai Line a 420-yen ($3.90) bowl of soba with a piece of "kakiage" tempura if the number of participants in the campaign reaches the goal.

The company said if the total number of participants in the campaign is between 2,500 and 2,999 then those signing up will only get a 290-yen bowl of soba without the kakiage tempura.

If the number is between 2,000 and 2,499 the payoff would be a 130-yen piece of kakiage tempura, Tokyo Metro said, adding there would be no reward if less than 2,000 people sign up for the campaign.