For a visitor to Sapporo, it’s natural that the practical question of how to get around town will be uppermost in one’s mind. And that’s because, whether you are visiting for sightseeing or for business, it’s very difficult to get around in an unfamiliar place without utilizing public transport (trains, buses, subway, etc.) Or, even if it can be done, it would be very expensive!
The Sapporo subway system is a convenient means of getting around the city, whether it’s snowing or sunny, and here we will provide the key information you need to use it. Basically, all lines branch off from Odori Station, although it’s simpler and more convenient to depart from Sapporo Station (after transferring from the subway) if you are headed for the airport via the JR rail line.
The Subway Lines and their Stations
Color-coded green, and running north-south, this line was the first one established in Sapporo. It was extended at the time of the Sapporo Olympics, but underground works were not completed in time, so the line runs above ground south of Minami-Hiragishi.
Asabu – Kita-Sanjuyo-Jo – Kita-Nijuyo-Jo – Kita-Juhachi-Jo – Kita-Juni-Jo – Sapporo – Odori – Susukino – Nakajima-Koen – Hirohira-Bashi – Nakanoshima – Hiragishi – Minami-Hiragishi – Sumikawa – Jieitai-Mae – Makomanai
Color-coded orange and running east-west, parallel with the JR rail line for part of its length
Miyanosawa – Hassamu-Minami – Kotoni – Nijuyon-Ken – Nishi-Nijuhatchome – Maruyama-Koen – Nishi-Juhatchome – Nishi-Juitchome – Odori – Bus Center-Mae – Kikusui – Higashi-
Sapporo – Shiroishi – Nango-Nana-Chome – Nango-Jusan-Chome – Nango-Juhatchome – Oyachi – Hibarigaoka – Shin-Sapporo
Color-coded sky blue, the newest of the three lines, and the line which runs deepest underground
Sakaemachi – Shindo-Higashi – Motomachi – Kanjo-Dori-Higashi – Higashi-Kuyakusho-Mae – Kita-Jusan-Jo-Higashi – Sapporo – Odori – Hosui-Susukino – Gakuen-Mae – Toyohira-Koen – Misono – Tsukisamu-Chuo – Fukuzumi
Note: All stations are numbered, making it easy to identify your destination station, even if you can’t read the station names – as long as you remember the number!
Using the system
On arriving at a station, buy your ticket from a ticket-vending machine. A large route map is displayed above the ticket-vending machines, so that you can check your destination. Adult one-way tickets cost between 200 and 400 yen. If you make a mistake, press the “Cancel” button and the money you inserted in the machine will be refunded. There are many other types of tickets, and it is to your advantage to consider purchasing them if you will be using the system on a number of occasions during your stay.
Types of tickets available (incomplete list)
* SAPICA: This is a rechargeable IC card. The “unregistered SAPICA” card-type is easiest for tourists to use.
* Prepaid “With You” cards can be used for the subway, streetcar and regular city routes offered by JR Hokkaido Bus, Chuo Bus and Jotetsu Bus. A discount applies for connected journeys using multiple transport providers. This ticket is good value as 10% of the purchase price is added to the value of the ticket.
* One-Day Cards offer unlimited rides on the day of purchase on the subway, streetcar, and regular city routes offered by the Chuo, Jotetsu, and JR Hokkaido Buses (excluding bus sections charged by the kilometer, and buses serving special events.)
* A subway one-day ticket, for use only on the subway system, is also available for unlimited use on the day of purchase.
* Donichika Tickets allow unlimited one-day travel on the subway system, to be used only on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.
Rules and Etiquette When boarding a train, please remain behind the white line marked on the platform while passengers exit. Alighting passengers have priority. Inside train carriages, please switch off cell phones in the vicinity of courtesy seats (seats provided for the elderly, disabled, etc.), set cell phones to silent mode in all areas, and refrain from making phone calls. When the train is very crowded and you are standing near the door, please step off the train temporarily each time the train stops, out of consideration for passengers who wish to get off the train.
We trust you will find that the Sapporo subway provides a pleasant service which gets you to where you need to go – on time.
This post is also available in: Japanese