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Sapporo Municipal Subway
Native name札幌市営地下鉄
LocaleSapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines3
Number of stations49
Daily ridership573,000 (2008 estimate)
Annual ridership209 million
Began operation16 December 1971; 52 years ago (1971-12-16)
Operator(s)Sapporo City Transportation Bureau
System length48.0 km (29.8 mi)
Track gaugeNamboku line: Central and side-mounted guideways, with rubber tires
Tōzai and Tōhō lines: Central guideway with rubber tires
ElectrificationNamboku line: 750 V DC third rail
Tōzai and Tōhō lines: 1,500 V DC overhead catenary
System map

The Sapporo Municipal Subway (札幌市営地下鉄, Sapporo-shiei-chikatetsu) is a mostly-underground rubber-tyred rapid transit system in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Operated by the Sapporo City Transportation Bureau, it is the only subway system on the island of Hokkaido.


The system consists of three lines: the green Namboku Line (North–south line), orange Tozai Line (East–west line), and blue Tōhō Line (North East Line). The first, the Namboku Line, was opened in 1971 prior to the 1972 Winter Olympics. The Sapporo City Subway system operates out of two main hubs: Sapporo Station and Odori Station. Most areas of the city are within a reasonable walking distance or short bus ride from one of the subway stations.

The three lines all connect at Odori Station and with the JR Hokkaido main lines at Sapporo Station. At Odori and Susukino stations, it connects to the streetcar (tram) above. The system has a total length of 48 km (30 mi) with 46 stations. Except for the section of the Namboku Line south of Hiragishi Station, the tracks and stations are underground; despite being aboveground, this section of the Namboku Line is entirely covered, including the stations, the depot access tracks, and the depot south of Jieitai-Mae Station.

Color & icon Mark Name Literal Translation First section
Last ex-
Length Stations Train


green N Namboku Line South-North Line 1971 1978 14.3 km (8.9 mi) 16 6 cars
orange T Tōzai Line East-West Line 1976 1999 20.1 km (12.5 mi) 19 7 cars
sky blue H Tōhō Line Higashi-Toyohira Line 1988 1994 13.6 km (8.5 mi) 14 4 cars
Total: 48.0 km (29.8 mi) 49


Sapporo Subway guide rail and flat steel roll ways

All lines of the subway use rubber-tired trains that travel on two flat roll ways, guided by a single central rail. This system is unique among subways in Japan and the rest of the world; while other rubber-tired metro networks, including smaller automated guideway transit lines such as the Port Liner, use guide bars, the Sapporo system does not because the central rail makes them superfluous (similar to some rubber-tyred trams, such as the Translohr and Bombardier Guided Light Transit). This rubber-tired system, combined with the heavy snowfall that Sapporo gets during winter, means that the system must be fully enclosed (including the southern elevated segment of the Namboku line), therefore all rolling stock cannot be fitted with air conditioning as it would otherwise trap hot air in the tunnels.

There are differences between the technology used on the older Namboku Line and the newer Tōzai and Tōhō Lines. The Namboku Line uses a T-shaped guide rail, double tires, and third rail power collection, while the Tōzai and Tōhō Lines use an I-shaped guide rail, single tires, and overhead line power collection. Also, the surface of the roll ways is either made up of resin (on the entirety of the Namboku Line and the central section of the Tōzai Line) or steel (on the outer sections of the Tōzai Line and the entirety of the Tōhō Line).

Rolling stock

Namboku Line

5000 series (6-car formation with 4 doors per side, since 1997)

Tōzai Line

8000/8300 series (7-car formation with 3 doors per side, since 1998)

Tōhō Line

9000 series (4-car formation with 3 doors per side, since May 2015)[1]

Former rolling stock

Namboku Line

Tōzai Line

6000 series (7-car formation with 3 doors per side, from 1976 until 2008)

Tōhō Line

Rolling stock gallery


Ticket prices range from 210 yen to 380 yen,[3] depending on the distance to travel. All stations accept the SAPICA rechargeable IC cards which can be used as a fare card for the subway, and may be upgraded to a commuter pass.

Day passes and discount passes can be purchased at the vending machines. Prior to its discontinuation on March 31, 2015,[4] prepaid "With You" magnetic cards could be used for the subway, streetcar and regular city routes offered by JR Hokkaido Bus, Chuo Bus and Jotetsu Bus.

One-day Cards offer unlimited rides on the subway, streetcar, and regular city routes offered by the Chuo, Jotetsu, and JR Hokkaido Buses (excluding some suburban areas) on the day of purchase.

A subway one-day card, for use only on the subway, is also available for 830 yen. Donichika tickets (ドニチカキップ, donichika kippu, where "donichika" is a portmanteau of 土日 donichi meaning "Saturday and Sunday" and 地下 chika meaning "underground") allow for unlimited one-day ride pass for the subway to be used only on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays at a lower price of 520 yen. Due to their identical functionality, subway one-day cards are unavailable on days where Donichika tickets are sold. Neither may be bought with prepaid balance charged to a SAPICA card.[5]

Commuter SAPICA cards offer unlimited rides between specific stations during their period of validity. There are two types of commuter pass: one for those commuting to their workplace and one for students. Both are available for one-month or three-month periods, and can be newly purchased from commuter pass sales offices located at major stations. Standard SAPICA cards may be upgraded to a commuter pass through ticket vending machines. Commuter SAPICA cards downgrade to a standard SAPICA card once the time period expires.

Shopping areas

There are two main shopping areas located underground, connected to the exits of three central stations on the Namboku line: Sapporo Station, Susukino Station, and Odori Station. Pole Town is an extensive shopping area that lies between Susukino and Odori stations. Aurora Town is a shopping arcade that is connected to Sapporo station. It links some of the main shopping malls in Sapporo, such as Daimaru, JR Tower, Esta, and Stellar Place.[6]

Network Map



  1. ^ 札幌市営地下鉄東豊線で9000形が営業運転を開始 [9000 series enters service on Sapporo Municipal Subway Toho Line]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  2. ^ "札幌市営地下鉄東豊線の7000形がラストラン…6月25日 | レスポンス(". Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  3. ^ 札幌市. "乗車料金". 札幌市 (in Japanese). Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  4. ^ "札幌市営地下鉄、旧「ウィズユーカード」の払戻期間迫る 3月31日まで". 札幌経済新聞. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  5. ^ 札幌市. "乗車券のご案内". 札幌市 (in Japanese). Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Pole Town and Aurora Town - Go! Sapporo". Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.