Sapporo Streetcar

The Sapporo Streetcar is a great way to get a quick, reasonably priced tour of the city. It operates in a rectangular route around the west side of the downtown core between South 1 West 4, and Susukino, via the Mt. Moiwa area. Get on at any of the 21 stops enroute and pay a flat rate of 170 yen as you get off. A discount rate of 150 yen is available in the mornings before 7:00am. The streetcar has some historical significance as it pre-dates the subway system and was Sapporo’s original form of public transport, and there are still several trams operating on the line that have been in service for decades. There are also new modern trams that were added in 2013.

The main embarkation point is just outside of Odori Subway Station. Walk up from the subway and south on block and you will see the Nishi 4 Chome Streetcar Station just in front of 4 Pla Department Store, across Ekimae Dori from PARCO Department Store. The trams leave from and return to this point. From Nishi 4 Chome Station the cars depart heading west and stop at Nishi 8 Chome, Chuo Kyukasho Mae, and Nishi 15 Chome. From here the tracks head south to Nishisen 6 Jo, Nishisen 9 Jo Asahiyama Koen Dori, Nishisen 11 Jo, Nishisen 14 Jo, Nishisen 16 Jo, Ropeway Iriguchi, and Densha Jigyosho Mae. From here the tracks head East to Chuo Toshokan Mae, Ishiyama Dori, and Higashi Tonden Dori. They carry on two blocks farther east then head north to Konan Shogakko Mae, Yamahana 19 Jo, Seishu Gakkuen Mae, Gyokei Dori, Nakajima Koen Dori, Yamahana 9 Jo, Higashi Honganji Mae, Shiseikan Shogakko Mae, and finally head East 3 more blocks before ending at Susukino.

Several points of interest are conveniently accessed by the stops on this route. It starts from Odori Station at the center of the Odori Shopping District, then visits Moiwa Ropeway (get off at Ropeway Iriguchi Station and take the shuttle bus), the Sapporo Chuo Library (Chuo Toshokan Mae Station), Nakajima Park (Nakajima Koen Dori Station), and ends at Susukino Station at the entrance to the Susukino entertainment district.

Trams run at a frequency of 7 to 8 minutes during the day and 3 minutes during weekend peak periods between Nishi 4 Chome and Nishisen 16 Jo stations. The fare is ¥170. Like the subway, the tram accepts the With You Card, a prepaid magnetic card. From 2013 Kitaca electronic IC cards used on JR Hokkaido trains can also be used.

Although there are other transportation methods such as taxi or subway that may get you to your destination faster, the Sapporo Streetcar offers better views and is a great way to get a visual overview of the city. It’s worth the 170 yen price just for the sightseeing value alone.