Cute and Eco-Friendly Streetcars Run All Over the Country Every Day!
Though in the past streetcars ran all over the country, now their numbers have dwindled enough that they can be counted. Here are some streetcars that continue to run throughout Japan while being gentle with the earth's resources.
Oct 27 2015 (Sep 09 2020)
The Sapporo streetcar once had around 25km of train line, but with the addition of the subway many of those tracks were removed and now it only runs for about 8.4km. In addition, both for ecological purposes and to reactivate the center of the largest urban area in Hokkaido, there are plans in place to link both ends of the routes into a large ring.
Sapporo Streetcar｜Route Map
Hakodate's tram system is around 100 years old. Because the tram links the center of the city with the Yu no Gawa Onsen in the Hakodate suburbs, many tourists use the tram for sightseeing. If you buy a one day pass, you can enjoy sightseeing while being ecologically friendly.
Hakodate Tram｜Route Map
Tokyo Metropolitan Electric Railway (Toden)／Tokyo
At the Toden Arakawa Line's prime, it ran for 213 km. Now it only runs for 12.2km through Tokyo. Since it runs on its own exclusive tracks, it survives in areas where it won't be a hindrance for automobiles. If you want to feel the atmosphere of the historical Shitamachi, taking the Arakawa as it runs through the Tokyo townscape would be the best choice for transportation.
Toden Arakawa Line｜Route Map
Setagaya Line／Tokyu Electric Railway
The Tokyu Setagaya Line froms from Sangenjaya to Shimo-Takaido. In the past it ran from Shibuya to Tamagawa, but now what remains is only in Setagaya-ku. Just like the Toden Arakawa Line, it doesn't interfere with automobiles. Recently the train cars have been updated but you can still enjoy its gentle rocking as it runs through Setagaya.
Toyama Centram／Toyama Chihou Railway
The Toyama Centram connects Toyama Station with the center of the city. In December 2009 the Toyama Center Line (the loop) opened, and for streetcar fans it was a celebrated railway extension. It was a concentrated effort by those who wanted to rejuvenate the town as well as those who wanted to resurrect ecologically friendly streetcars.
Portram／Toyama Light Rail
The Portram is formerly JR West Japan's Toyama Minato Line that was converted into what can be called Japan's first light rail. From Toyama Station it uses new railroad track laid to be usef by multiple lines before continuing on to use what were the old Minato Line's tracks, so it's a small-bodied light rail that runs just like a train all the way to Iwasehama.
Fukubu Electric Railroad／Fukui Railway
The Fukui City Trains have tracks for the electric railroad and regular trains, but before originally only the electric railroad would run. Nowdays both railroad stock run for the morning and evening rush hours. There are plans in place to connect it with the Echizen Railroad, so it's expected that it will become Fukui's very own light rail transportation system.
Fukui Railway Fukubu Line｜Route Map
Toyohashi Railroad City Lines／Toyohashi Railroad
The Toyohashi Railroad City Lines is a train system that runs for about 5.4km. It's famous for having Japan's sharpest curve, which is the Ihara Curve that has a radius of 11m. Many trainspotters and railroad fans ride the train just to see the curve.
Toyohashi Railroad Azumada Line｜Route MapKiyok/Wikimedia
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.