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Japan Subway

Japan flag. Japan Subway Systems

Japan Subway Systems 地下鉄

Japan subway.

Japan has an efficient, safe and cost-effective system of city subways, allowing rapid movement around its inner urban areas.

Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Fukuoka have city subway networks, linked to other rail systems including the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo, the JR Loop Line in Osaka and JR shinkansen lines.

Most subway systems in Japan start at around 5am and last trains depart at around midnight, there are few night buses, so taxis are the only option in the early hours. Services are less frequent on weekends and public holidays.

Some subway lines in Japan have women-only carriages running in the rush hour period, normally 8am-9am, to counter groping in the cars by male perverts, known as chikan. Look out for the pink sign on the platform.

Subways in Japan have announcements on the train in Japanese and frequently in English too. The next station is often displayed on electronic boards in the carriages in both Japanese and English.

Tokyo Metro

Tokyo's subway system is one of the largest and busiest in the world. There are 13 lines, 8 operated by Tokyo Metro or (TRTA) Teito Rapid Transit Authority (formerly Eidan Subways) and 4 lines managed by Toei Subway run by Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Each line has a color and a number and each station also has a number.

Tokyo Metro operated lines are: Chiyoda Line, Ginza Line, Fukutoshin Line, Hanzomon Line, Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line, Nanboku Line, Tozai Line and Yurakucho Line.
Toei Subway operated lines are: Asakusa Line, Mita Line, Oedo Line, Shinjuku Line. * Toei also operates a streetcar, the Arakawa Line between Minowabashi and Waseda.

Ticket prices for the subway in Tokyo start at 160 yen, but if you are spending any time in Tokyo it would be wise to invest in a PASMO or SUICA rechargeable card to ease connections between the two systems and save on the wait for buying tickets. All rechargeable IC cards in Japan can now be used throughout the country, thus a SUICA card can be used on the Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto subways etc.

Changing lines may involve a long walk - sometimes even going up to street level and walking a few hundred meters to the connecting station.

Tokyo subway.Tokyo Metro sign.


Nagoya subway.

Train on the Nagoya subway

Osaka Subway

Osaka has 8 subway lines with fares beginning at 200 yen for a single journey. Osaka's subway lines are the: Chuo Line, Imazatosuji Line, Midosuji Line, Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line, Sennichimae Line, Sakaisuji Line, Tanimachi Line and the Yotsubashi Line. The main hub station is Namba station which connects with 3 lines - the Midosuji Line, the Sennichimae Line and the Yotsubashi Line.

The Icoca card is an IC smart card which can be used on the JR West network in western Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, etc). The Icoca card is interoperable with the Suica card (see above) and can therefore be used on the JR East system in Tokyo and in Sendai.

Nagoya subway map.Nagoya subway sign.

Nagoya Subway

Nagoya's subway has six lines - the Higashiyama Line, Meijo Line, Meiko Line, Tsurumai Line, Sakura-dori Line and Kamiida Line. These lines intersect with other urban rail networks including Meitetsu Railways, JR, Kintetsu Railways and the Linimo maglev train.

The main intersecting stations are Nagoya Station, Kanayama Station, Imaike, Gokiso and Sakae Station. Prices start from 200 yen and it is possible to buy one-day passes for the subway system and for the subway and bus networks combined.

Nagoya's loop line is the Meijo Line which connects the major stations of Kanayama, Kamimaezu, Motoyama & Yagoto.

Sapporo Subway

The Sapporo subway system has 3 lines. They are the north-south Namboku (green) and Toho Lines (blue) and the east-west Tozai Line (orange). Fares start from 200 yen.
There is one street car line which runs from Nishi-Yon-chome to the Susukino entertainment area.
Odori Station intersects with all three lines and Sapporo Station connects with the Namboku and Toho Lines. One day passes are available for the Sapporo subway for 800 yen and for subway, bus and tram/street car for 1000 yen (500 yen on weekends and public holidays). Sapporo will introduce a smart card from 2009 called SAPICA, which is valid on the Sapporo subway.

Sendai Subway

Sendai presently has one subway line - the Namboku Line - running north south with 16 stations. Fares start from 200 yen and announcements are made in Japanese and English.

Kyoto Subway

The Kyoto subway system consists of two lines: the Tozai Line running east west from Umazu Tenjingawa through Nijo Station to Rokujizo, and the north-south Karasuma Line running through Kyoto Station from Kokusaikaikan in the north of the city to Takeda in the south (with connections to Kintetsu). The only station for intersections is Karasuma Oike. There are presently (2013) 31 stations on the Kyoto subway network.

Tokyo subway ticket machine.Tokyo subway carriage.


Tokyo Metro ticket barrier.Nagoya subway ticket machine.

Fukuoka Subway

The Fukuoka subway has three subway lines: the the Hakozaki Line, the Kuko (Airport) Line, and the Nanakuma Line. The Kuko Line runs east-west from Fukuoka Airport to Meinohama via Hakata Station and Tenjin. At Meinohama it connects with the JR Chikuhi Line. The Hakozaki Line runs from roughly north-south from Kaizuka to Nakasu-kawabata (one stop east of Tenjin or accessible by underground passage). The Nanakuma Line runs from Tenjin-minami (accessible by underground passage from Tenjin) south and then west to Hashimoto. The minimum fare is 100 yen or a one-day pass is available for 600 yen with reductions at several local museums.
The Hayakaken smart card system will be introduced in 2009.

Yokohama Subway

The Yokohama Subway system has three lines though Lines 1 and 3 are operated together. Lines 1/3 (Blue) run from Shonandai Station to Azamino Station while Line 4 (Green) operates from Nakayama Station to Hiyoshi Station. Transfers between the two lines are at Center Kita and Center Minami stations. The Blue Line connects with the Tokaido shinkansen at Shin-Yokohama Station and with the Tokaido/Yokosuka Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line and Keikyu Line at Yokohama Station. The minimum fare is presently 200 yen.

Kobe Subway

The Kobe subway consists of two lines: the Seishin-Yamate Line (Green) and the Kaigan Line (Blue), which intersect at Sannomiya and Shin-Nagata stations. The Seishin-Yamate Line runs from roughly east-west from Tanigami to Seishin Chuo with 17 stations and the Kaigan Line forms a southerly loop from Sannomiya Hanadokei-mae to Shin-Nagata with 10 stations. The Kaigan Line trains are propelled by linear motors and the line was opened in time for the 2002 World Cup.

Nagoya Meijo Line train.Nagoya Tsurumai Line train.

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