Chuo-Sobu Line

Chuo-Sobu Line 中央・総武緩行線

Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo.
Chuo Line train

The 60km-long JR Chuo-Sobu Line (or "Sobu-Chuo Line") is a major east-west commuter railway artery in Tokyo running between Mitaka Station (三鷹駅) in the west and Chiba Station (千葉駅) in the east.

The Chuo-Sobu Line is the slow-train (every-station) service for the two separate lines it is named after, they being the Chuo Main Line that runs from Tokyo westward to Nagoya, and the Sobu Main Line that runs from Tokyo eastward to Choshi (in Chiba prefecture).

Although the Chuo Line and Sobu Line are separate, there is a another track called the Chuo-Sobu Line that runs parallel to them, and which spans them for the stretch of five stations through which neither runs. The Chuo-Sobu line acts as the local service for these lines where they run through Tokyo.

Train Colors

The trains that run on the Chuo-Sobu Line are differentiated by color: yellow is local and referred to as "Sobu Line," and orange is Rapid and referred to as "Chuo Line."

Paralleling the Chuo and Sobu Main Lines

The Chuo-Sobu line's official name is Chuo-Sobu Kanko Sen, "slow-moving Chuo-Sobu line." That's because it provides those two lines with their local (every-station) service by running alongside them.

The Chuo Main Line and the Sobu Main Line are "Rapid" (Kaisoku) lines for the length of the Chuo-Sobu Line, i.e., between Mitaka in the west and Chiba in the east. Past where the Chuo-Sobu Line stops, they change back to being "slow" (local) lines.

Chuo-Sobu Line (black), where it joins the Sobu Main Line (yellow) and Chuo Main Line (red).
The Chuo-Sobu Line (black) runs parallel to, and connects, Chuo Main Line (red) and the Sobu Main Line (yellow). (The Chuo-Sobu line, in black, extends west past Ochanomizu and east past Kinshicho stations.)
Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo.
Chuo Line platforms at Tokyo Station

Bridging the Chuo and Sobu Main Lines

The Chuo-Sobu line also provides continuity between the Chuo Main Line and the Sobu Main Line, that head respectively west and east from Tokyo Station, by bridging a section where they diverge. Until 1972, the Chuo Line, which has always gone as far as Tokyo Station, met the Sobu Line at Ochanomizu, which is where the Sobu Line started from. However, that year, the Sobu Line was also extended as far as Tokyo Station, curving down to Tokyo Station from Kinshicho. So, now, if Tokyo Station is the base point of the letter V, then the Chuo Main Line proceeds up and out west from it like the left arm of the V, and the Sobu Main Line up and out east like the right arm. The section between the two tips of the V is the original initial stretch of the Sobu Line, from "left-tip" Ochanomizu in the west to "right-tip" Kinshicho in the east via Akihabara, Asakusabashi, and Ryogoku. The Chuo-Sobu Line connects these two tips. (This section is now considered a branch of the Sobu Main Line.)

Early Morning and Late Night Exceptions

The Chuo-Sobu Line service does not operate early in the morning or late at night. At these times, local services run separately on the Chuo and Sobu main lines, as follows.

Chuo Main Line to and from Tokyo

The Chuo-Sobu Line is the local service of the express-only Chuo Main Line, so, if boarding the Chuo Line at Tokyo Station, you might expect to have to always change at Ochanomizu to the Chuo-Sobu Line if your destination is a local-train-only station. However, after 10 pm and until 6 am, there are Chuo Line trains departing Tokyo Station that stop at every station to Mitaka and even beyond, and trains from the western end of the line that stop at every station all the way to Tokyo.

Sobu Main Line to Ochanomizu

No local trains ever run from Tokyo Station on the Sobu Main Line. You will always have to take the Yamamote Line to Akihabara, or a Sobu Rapid train to Kinshicho, and change to the Chuo-Sobu Line. However, before 6 am (or a little after on weekends) and after 10 pm, inbound Chuo-Sobu Line trains (i.e., those coming into the center of Tokyo from out east) go no further than Ochanomizu, necessitating a change of trains there to the above-mentioned early-morning/late-night Chuo Line-only local service.

Chuo-Sobu Line, Tokyo
The Chuo-Sobu Line crossing the Sumida River in Tokyo
Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo.
Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo
Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo.
Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo

Chuo-Sobu Line Map

See a Google Map of the Chuo-Sobu Line: the course of the line and station locations. Chuo-Sobu Line stations are shown in yellow, except for stations where express ("Rapid") trains also stop, which are left in the color of the Rapid train that stops there: orange for the Chuo Rapid, blue for the Sobu Rapid. The solid line of orange and blue stations at either end of the (mainly yellow) Chuo-Sobu Line are the Chuo Main Line and Sobu Main Line respectively.

Chuo-Sobu Line Stations

The following is a full list of stations on the JR Chuo-Sobu Line with information on stations, nearby attractions, trains that stop there, and transfers.

Chuo-Sobu Line, Tokyo
Chuo-Sobu Line train to Mitaka
Chuo-Sobu Line, Tokyo
Chuo-Sobu Line train

Chiba 千葉

Chiba Station, in Chiba City, with a population of almost 1 million people, is the gateway to Chiba prefecture.

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) and Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku) trains also stop at Chiba Station. Change at Chiba Station for the Chiba Urban Monorail Lines 1 and 2, the Keisei Chiba Line, the Narita Line, the Sotobo Line, and the Uchibo Line.

Nishi-Chiba 西千葉

Nishi-Chiba Station is in front of the Nishi Chiba (West Chiba) campus of Chiba University.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Nishi-Chiba. There are no transfers at Nishi-Chiba Station.

Inage 稲毛

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) trains also stop here. There are no transfers at Inage Station.

Shin-kemigawa 新検見川

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Shin-Kemigawa. There are no transfers at Shin-Kemigawa Station, however Kemigawa on the Keisei Chiba line is a 7 minute walk west.

Makuhari 幕張

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Makuhari. There are no transfers at Makuhari Station, however Keisei-Makuhari Station on the Keisei Chiba line is a 3 minute walk west.

Makuhari-hongo 幕張本郷

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Makuhari-Hongo. Change at Makuhari-Hongo Station for the Keisei Chiba line.

Tsudanuma 津田沼

Tsudanuma Station is right in front of the Chiba Institute of Technology.

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) trains also stop here. Transfer at Tsudanuma Station Station to the Shin-Keisei Line (Shin-Tsudanuma Station).

Higashi-Funabashi 東船橋

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Higashi-Funabashi. There are no transfers at Higashi-Funabashi.

Funabashi 船橋

Funabashi is a major commercial center with a lot of shopping around the station.

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) and Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku) trains also stop at Funabashi Station. Transfer at Funabashi Station to the "Tobu Urban Park Line" (officially called the Tobu Noda Line). Also, Keisei-Funabashi Station on the Keisei Main Line is 2 minutes walk from the Main Exit.

Nishi-Funabashi 西船橋

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Nishi-Funabashi. Transfer at Nishi-Funabashi to the Musashino Line,the Keiyō Line, the Toyo Rapid Railway Line, and the Tokyo Metro Tōzai Line.

Shimosa-Nakayama 下総中山

Nikke Colton Plaza shopping and amusement center and the Chiba Museum of Science and Industry are 8 minutes walk west of Shimosa-Nakayama Station.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Shimosa-Nakayama. There are no transfers at Shimosa-Nakayama, but Keisei-Nakayama Station on the Keisei Main Line is 4 minutes walk from the North Exit.

Moto-Yawata 本八幡

Ichikawa City Office is 6 minutes walk from the North Exit of Moto-Yawata Station.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Moto-Yawata. Transfer at Moto-Yawata (North Exit) for the Toei Shinjuku Subway Line. Keisei Yawata Station on the Keisei Main Line is 4 minutes walk from the North Exit.

Ichikawa 市川

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) trains also stop at Ichikawa Station. There are no direct transfers at Ichikawa Station, but Ichikawamama Station on the Keisei Main Line is 6 minutes walk from the North Exit.

Koiwa 小岩

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Koiwa. There are no transfers at Koiwa Station.

Shin-Koiwa 新小岩

Shin-Koiwa Park is 3 minutes walk west of Shin-Koiwa Station.

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) trains also stop at Shin-Koiwa. There are no transfers at Shin-Koiwa Station.

Hirai 平井

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Hirai. There are no transfers at Hirai Station.

Kameido 亀井堂

Kameido is quite a large commercial district and has Kameido Tenjinja Shrine.

Transfer at Kameido to the Tobu Kameido Line.

Kinshicho 錦糸町

Kinshicho is a large, lively commercial center and with the large Sumida Triphony Hall. Sarue-onshi Park is one stop south (Sumiyoshi Station) on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line. Change at Sumiyoshi Station for the Toei Shinjuku Subway Line.

Sobu Rapid (kaisoku) and Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku) trains also stop at Kinshicho. Transfer here for the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line.

Ryogoku 両国

Ryogoku is the center of Japan's sumo world, and has the Edo-Tokyo Museum.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Ryogoku. There are no direct transfers at Ryogoku Station, however Ryogoku Station on the Toei Oedo Subway Line is 5 minutes walk east.

Asakusabashi 浅草橋

Asakusabashi (not to be confused with Asakusa) is famous for doll, accessory and leather stores, and for its numerous budget hotels.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Asakusabashi. Transfer at Asakusabashi to the Asakusa Subway Line.

Akihabara 秋葉原

Akihabara Station is in Akihabara, Tokyo's prime district for electronic goods and home appliances, and for computer gaming and Japanese pop culture (anime, cosplay, manga).

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Akihabara. Transfer at Akihabara to the Yamanote Line, the Keihin Tohoku Line, the Tsukuba Express Line, and the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Subway Line.

Ochanomizu 御茶ノ水

Ochanomizu Station is in Ochanomizu, a university district that also has some elegant religious buildings such as the imposing Yushima Seido, Yushima Tenjin Shrine, as well as the beautiful Kyu-Iwasaki Tei Garden

The Rapid (kaisoku), Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku), Chuo Special Rapid (Chuo tokkai), Ome Special Rapid (Ohme tokkai), Commuter Special Rapid (tsuukin tokkai), the Chuo Liner (Chuo lainaa) and Ome Liner (Ome lainaa) also stop at Ochanomizu.

Change at Ochanomizu Station for the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Subway Line (Shin-Ochanomizu Station - take the Hijiribashi Exit from Ochanomizu Station), the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Subway Line (take the Ochanomizu-bashi [i.e., West] Exit, then cross the bridge).

Suidobashi 水道橋

Tokyo Dome and the Tokyo Dome City amusement/recreation park and Koishikawa Koraku Garden are near Suidobashi Station.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Suidobashi. Change at Suidobashi for the Toei Mita Subway Line (take the East Exit and cross the bridge, 3 minutes).

Iidabashi 飯田橋

Iidabashi Station is in front of the Kagurazaka Campus of the Tokyo University of Science (take the West Exit and cross the bridge). Yasukuni Shrine is 10 minutes walk, away from the river, down Waseda-dori Avenue.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Iidabashi. Change at Iidabashi for the Tokyo Metro Tozai Subway Line (take the East Exit), the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Subway Line, the Tokyo Metro Namboku Subway Line, and Iidabashi Station on the Tokyo Toei Oedo Subway Line.

Ichigaya 市ヶ谷

Ichigaya Station is near the Ministry of Defense headquarters, across the river. Yasukuni Shrine is a 10 minute walk east.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Ichigaya. Change at Ichigaya for the Tokyo Toei Shinjuku Subway Line, the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Subway Line, and the Tokyo Metro Namboku Subway Line.

Yotsuya 四谷

Yotsuya Station is near is near the Yotsuya campus of Sophia University, with its St. Ignatius Catholic Church, and Akasaka Goyochi. The international-class Hotel New Otani Tokyo the Main is less than 10 minutes walk.

The Rapid (kaisoku), Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku), Chuo Special Rapid (Chuo tokkai), Ome Special Rapid (Ohme tokkai), Commuter Special Rapid (tsuukin tokkai), the Chuo Liner (Chuo lainaa) and Ome Liner (Ome lainaa) also stop at Yotsuya.

Transfer at Yotsuya Station for the Tokyo Metro Namboku Subway Line and the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Subway Line.

Shinanomachi 信濃町

Shinanomachi Station is near Meiji Jingu Gaien, which is mainly sporting facilities. Shinanomachi Station is also in front of the huge Keio Gikudai Hospital and the headquarters of the Soka Gakkai.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Shinanomachi. Change at Ichigaya for the Tokyo Toei Shinjuku Subway Line, the Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Subway Line, and the Tokyo Metro Namboku Subway Line. There are no transfers at Shinanomachi.

Sendagaya 千駄ヶ谷

Sendagaya is right in front of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to the north and Tokyo National Stadium to the south. The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium and the National Noh Theater are also nearby.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Sendagaya. Transfer here to Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station on the Tokyo Toei Oedo Subway Line.

Yoyogi 代々木

Yoyogi Station is near the Meiji Jingu Shrine. It is also near the South Exit of Shinjuku Station, and it can be more pleasant, and maybe even quicker, to get off at Yoyogi and stroll the 5 or so minutes to the South Exit shopping area than trying to get out of crowded Shinjuku Station.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Yoyogi. Transfer here to the Yamanote Line and the Tokyo Toei Oedo Line. Minami-Shinjuku Station on the Odakyu Odawara Line is a 5 minute walk west.

Shinjuku 新宿

Shinjuku Station is the biggest station on the Chuo-Sobu Line.

The Rapid (kaisoku), Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku), Chuo Special Rapid (Chuo tokkai), Ome Special Rapid (Ohme tokkai), Commuter Special Rapid (tsuukin tokkai), the Chuo Liner (Chuo lainaa) and Ome Liner (Ome lainaa) also stop at Shinjuku.

Transfer at Shinjuku to the Yamanote Line, the Saikyo Line, the Shonan Shinjuku Line, the Narita Express, the Odakyu Odawara Line, the Keio Line, the Keio New Line, and the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Underground passages facilitate transferring to the following nearby stations: Shinjuku San-chome Station on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Subway Line and the Tokyo Toei Shinjuku Subway Line, Nishi-Shinjuku Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Subway Line, Shinjuku Nishi-guchi Station on the Tokyo Toei Oedo Subway Line, Tocho-mae Station on the Tokyo Toei Oedo Subway Line.

Okubo 大久保

Okubo Station is in the Okubo district, best known for its sizeable Korean, as well as Chinese, population, and therefore food.

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Obubo. There are no transfers here, however Shin-Okubo Station on the Yamanote Line is 5 minutes walk east.

Higashi-Nakano 東中野

Only Chuo-Sobu Line trains stop at Higashi-Nakano. Transfer here for the Tokyo Toei Oedo Subway Line.

Nakano 中野

Nakano Ward Office and Nakano Sun Plaza shopping center are just to the north of Nakano Station.

The Rapid (kaisoku), Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku), Chuo Special Rapid (Chuo tokkai) (on weekdays only), and the Ome Special Rapid (Ohme tokkai) also stop at Nakano. Transfer here for the Tokyo Metro Tozai Subway Line.

Koenji 高円寺

Koenji has an alternative vibe, a good, relaxed nightlife, and is a center of anime, manga, and cosplay culture.

The Rapid (kaisoku) train stops at Koenji only on working day weekdays, so change to a local train at Nakano or Ogikubo if you are going to Koenji on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday. There are no transfers at Koenji.

Asagaya 阿佐ヶ谷

The Rapid (kaisoku) train stops at Asagaya only on working day weekdays, so change to a local train at Nakano or Ogikubo if you are going to Asagaya on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday. There are no transfers at Asagaya.

Ogikubo 荻窪

The Rapid (kaisoku) and Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku) also stop at Ogikubo. Transfer at Ogikubo to the Tokyo Metro Marunochi Subway Line.

Nishi-Ogikubo 西荻窪

The Rapid (kaisoku) train stops at Nishi-Ogikubo only on working day weekdays, so change to a local train at Ogikubo or Kichijoji if you are going to Asagaya on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday. There are no transfers at Nishi-Ogikubo.

Kichijoji 吉祥寺

Kichijoji is best known for its Inokashira Park, elegant shopping, and for being one of Tokyo's most desirable residential districts.

The Rapid (kaisoku) and Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku) also stop at Kichijoji. Transfer at Kichijoji to the Keio Inokashira Line.

Mitaka 三鷹

The Ghibli Museum is in Mitaka, showcasing the works of Japan's most famous animation studio.

The Rapid (kaisoku), Commuter Rapid (tsuukin kaisoku), Chuo Special Rapid (Chuo tokkai), and the Ome Special Rapid (Ohme tokkai) also stop at Mitaka. There are no transfers at Mitaka.

Akihabara Station, Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo.
Chuo-Sobu Line in Akihabara, Tokyo
Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo.
Chuo-Sobu Line in Akihabara, Tokyo

The basic fare for the Chuo-Sobu Line, for a journey of one or two stations, is 140 yen if you buy a paper ticket, or 133 yen if you use a pre-paid card such as Pasmo or Suica.

Women only cars operate in the rush hour and the seats of the trains can be pushed up to produce more space. The Chuo Rapid Line has a reputation as being the train preferred by Tokyo suicides. Riding the Chuo-Sobu Line out of the rush-hour period is a good way to get a glimpse of central Tokyo.

Announcements on the train are in Japanese and in English too. The next station is often displayed on electronic boards in the carriages in both Japanese and English.

JR Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo Map

JR Chuo-Sobu Line Tokyo map.

Chuo-Sobu Line Video

Watch a short video of the Chuo-Sobu Line.


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