Metros in Japan: The Nagoya Metro

The city

Nagoya is the third biggest city in the State of Japan. It is located on the southern half of the Japanese archipelago. Specifically, it is located on the center of the Honshu Island, the biggest island in Japan. Nagoya is located next to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. On the geopolitical map of Japan, the city of Nagoya is the capital of the Aichi prefecture. It has over two million inhabitants within the city’s limits, and over 9 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area.

It is a very important city in Japan in many different commercial activities since it has one of the most important commercial ports in the country. Additionally, the automotive industry is the most developed industry in this city, hosting many different automotive Japanese firms. Next to Nagoya is Toyota, the city which hosts the automotive firm of the same name.

The city has not forgotten about the aeronautics industry, since the firm Mitsubishi has made an important impact on this industry. Agriculture is also a highlight in Nagoya, since it is one of the regions with the most fertile lands in the country. The reason for this is that Nagoya was built at the top of plateaus, with the original purpose of avoiding floods.

This city has become more and more famous due to its museums and theaters. Its temperatures surpass 25 ºC during the hottest months, and they reach values between 4 and 7 ºC during the winter.

The metro

The Nagoya Municipal Metro is the de facto means of transportation utilized in the city of Japan. It was founded on 1957. Currently, there are 87 open stations, which cover a total railroad distance of 93.3 kilometers.

Nagoya Municipal Subway 3050 series 013

With respect of the Nagoya Metro’s rolling stock, the service counts with many different types of trains. It is important to note that the Nippon Sharyo company has been in charge of the design and construction of the trains that operate the system. The most manufactured trains in this line are the 6500 and 7000 models. Recently, Nippon Sharyo joined the Japanese firm Hitachi to develop the N3000 train series, which are managed in the Tsurumai Line.

It is estimated that the number of daily passengers could surpass 900,000. The Nagoya metro is operated by the Transportation Bureau of the city of Nagoya, which is an institution managed by the city’s government.

  • Known as: Metro.
  • Length: 93.3 kilometers.
  • Gauge size: 1067 mm (lines 3, 6, and 7); and 1435 mm (lines 1, 2, and 4.)
  • Number of lines: 6.
  • Number of stations: 87.
  • Maximum speed: 65 km/h (lines 3, 6, and 7); and 75 km/h (lines 1, 2, and 4).
  • Website: www.kotsu.city.nagoya.jp.
  • Operator: Transportation Bureau, City of Nagoya.
  • Daily ridership: Over 900,000.
  • Foundation: November 15th, 1957.

History

The planning for the railway system dates back to many decades ago, which started at 1936. Since its initial planning, the Nagoya Metro was conceived as an enormous system, with a railroad of 52 kilometers long. During that time, the planners understood that its construction would represent a major achievement in engineering, therefore, it would be built in two phases.

During these two phases, seven routes would be built, in which the first route would have a path between the Nakamura and Rikuzan stations. However, the project was stopped and, with the posterior advent of World War II, it suffered many changes.

In the midst of the war, during the year 1939, a more humble metro plan was drafted, now offering a railroad that was 29 kilometers long.

After the war, the project was once again reformulated with the proposition of a 50 kilometer long railway. It was not until 1950 when the definitive project was proposed. And, years later, the construction of the entire metro began. Nagoya – Sakae was the first section inaugurated, comprised of only 2.4 kilometers in length.

Since that moment, a rapid growth of the subway lines began because, between 1957 and 1959, 20.6 additional kilometers were built. The last change in the plans was made on the year 2004, with the completion of the circular line. Finally, on the year 2011, the tramway line was inaugurated for the system, going from Sakura Nozomu and Tokuhisa.

Lines and stations

Nagoya’s Municipal Metro has six lines and, at the same time, has 87 stations. The entire metro network has railway that covers 93.3 kilometers of distance, which is mostly located underground. Also, each line has different routes, or in other words, that each line has different alternate stops. The metro’s operator is not always the same for all of the different lines. Some lines are operated directly by the government, while others are managed by private companies such as Meitetsu, which is the company in charge of some of the suburban trains. The lines for this system are:

Higashiyama Line

It is officially known as Line 1 from the Nagoya Municipal Metro. This line can be identified on the metro´s signaling system in yellow and with the letter H. The terminal stations for this line are Takabata and Fujigaoka. The former station is found in the Nakagawa region, while the latter is found in Meito. It was the first line in the system to be inaugurated during the opening of the metro in general, which was on the year 1957. Its last expansion was finished on the year 1982. It has a single route, with a total number of stations of 22. This route covers a distance of 20.6 kilometers.

Nagoya Metro Map Map in station

Meijo Line

It is the circular line of the Nagoya Municipal Metro. It is identified by its purple color and the letter M. It could be said that the starting point of the line is Kanayama. The line’s journey continues through the regions of Sakae, Ozone and Nagoya Daigaku, until the trains finally return to Kanayama. Since it is a circular line, there are two directions in which the trains drive. The western part of the line is called Line 2 from the Nagoya Municipal Metro, while the eastern part is called Line 4.

Line 2 was inaugurated on 1965, and it had its last expansion on 1971. This line’s trains travel a distance of 8.9 kilometers. Meanwhile, line 4 was built more recently, being inaugurated on 1974 and having its last expansion on 2004. Line 4’s trains have a journey of 17.5 kilometers in length. This line has 28 stations in total.

Meiko Line

This line is also officially part of Line 2 from the Nagoya Municipal Metro. For this reason, it is also identified in purple, but, unlike Line 2, the letter utilized to identify its stations is E. It was inaugurated on 1971, and has not had any changes since its beginnings. This line’s journey starts from Kanayama Station in Naka Ward, and ends at Nagoyako Station in Minato Ward. This line has a total of 7 stations in its short journey through its 6 kilometer-long railway.

Tsurumai Line

Inaugurated on 1977, this line is identified by its blue color and by the letter T that is added as a prefix to its stations. In the official nomenclature, this line belongs to Line 3 from the Nagoya Municipal Metro. Its latest expansion was finished on the year 1993. The line has as terminal stations Kami Otai in Nishi-ku and Akaike in Nisshin. This part of the metro is comprised of 20 stations, which are joined together by a 20.4 kilometer-long railway. One of the most important features of this line is that it is located between the suburban train routes that are managed by the firm Meitetsu.

Sakura-dori Line

It is different than the rest of the Nagoya Municipal Metro since it has tramway-like features. It is red. The letter S is utilized to identify its stations. All of this nomenclature was updated in 2004. This line is officially called Line 6. It was inaugurated on the year 1989, and has kept its original route. It is comprised of 21 stations spread throughout 19.1 kilometers of railway within the city of Nagoya. The terminal stations for this line are Nakamura Kuyakusho in Nakamura Ward and Tokushige in Midori Ward. The line is on the central part of the city, offering rides to the southeast.

Kamiiida Line

Inaugurated on 2007, this is the most recently constructed line from the Nagoya Metro system. According to the official nomenclature, the name of this line is Line 7 of the Nagoya Municipal Metro. It is pink, and it is identified throughout its history with the letter K. Given its short age and lack of expansions, its route is only 0.8 kilometers long and it has only two stations. These stations are Kamiiida and Heian-dori, both of which are located on the Kita Ward region. Its most distinguishable feature is that it is the only line that has automatic doors that separate the platforms from the tracks.

Connections

Just like in any other metropolis, the city of Nagoya has different means of public transportation. The Nagoya Metro keeps together the different means of transportation in the city. Although they technically are not part of the Nagoya Metro, the suburban lines are an essential part of the urban transportation. In Japan, the medium and long distance railway systems are entirely private. Therefore, there are different operators for the suburban transportation.

In Nagoya’s case, the most important operator is Meitetsu. The lines operated by this company in some occasions share nomenclature, signaling systems and color with the ones in the Nagoya Metro. In general, one could say that there are many different lines for the Meitetsu suburban railway. The first of these lines is the Meitetsu Inuyama line, which joins Biwajima Junction with Shin-Unuma Station, which are located in Kiyosu, Aichi, and Kakamigahara, Gifu respectively. The connection with the metro is done at Kami-Otai Station from the Tsuruamai line. This line is identifiable since it is marked with the IY letters.

Another line is the Meitetsu Toyota line, inaugurated in 1979. It makes a connection between the Umetsubo station in Toyota and the Akaike Station in Nisshin. This line has 8 stations in total, and it is distinguishable due to the TT letters in its stations. Akaike, one of its terminal stations, is also found on the Tsuruamai line. Line Tsuruamai and Line Meitetsu Toyota are both light blue, and both share similar access mechanisms.

Yet another line is the Meitetsu Komaki line. Inaugurated on 2003, it shares its signaling system with the Kamiiida Line, joining at the station of the same name. The final destination of this line is the Inuyama Station in Inuyama.

Nagoya's metro train Nagoya's metro train

One of the most important suburban lines is Meitetsu Nagoya, which joins Toyohashi with Meitetsu Gifu in Gifu. This line makes connections with two subway lines: Kanayama in the Meiko Line, and Nagoya in the Higashiyama Line. The other line from this company that is connected with the metro is Meitetsu Seto. In Sakaemachi Station there is a connection with Sakae station, from the lines Higashiyama and Meijo respectively.

There are also other companies that offer their suburban services, although they are not directly related to the Nagoya Municipal Metro. One of these companies is one of the most important in Japan: JR Central. This firm has four lines. One of the most important lines is Tokaido, which connects with many cities in Japan and with Meijo and Meiko lines from the metro at Kanayama Station. Also, Nagoya Station is also found on this line, which allows connections to the lines Higashiyama and Sakura-dori. Additionally, there are connections available at lines Chuo, Kansai, and Tayakama. There is an old high-speed railway line called Tokaido Shinkansen that also belongs JR Central. This line connects Nagoya with cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto. The connection is done at the city’s central station, offering transfers to the Higashiyama and Sakura-dori lines.

Nagoya has many public and private services of transportation at surface-level. Buses are among the most important transportation services. Some of them are managed by the municipal government. Meanwhile, the firm Meitetsu also has its own bus fleet, offering a service called Meitetsu Bus. Finally, there is a BRT line in the city of Nagoya called Yutorito, which is connected with the Meijo line in the Ozone Station.

Finally, the Gozaisho Ropeway is found in the outskirts of the city of Nagoya. This aerial lift is located in the town of Komono. To reach it, an express bus can be boarded at Nagoya Station.

Connection to the airport

One of the biggest architectural highlights of the city of Nagoya is its airport. This airport is the Chubu Centrair International Airport, located on an artificial island built to host its facilities. This airport was inaugurated on 2005 and it is located at 35 kilometers to the south of the city of Nagoya. Due to the fact that it is located far away from the city, the Nagoya Municipal Metro does not have a direct connection. Therefore, the connection to the metro is done via the suburban railway service.

The airport has the Central Japan International Airport Station, which is also managed by Meitetsu. This station belongs to the Meitetsu Airport Line, which only has three stations. To reach the metro, the most recommended option is to board the µSky Limited Express train, which is a high speed train that connects the airport with the Meitetsu Nagoya Station, without requiring transfers. From this station, you can connect with the metro lines of Higashiyama and Sakura-dori.

Schedule, calendar, and timetables

The Nagoya Municipal Metro offers its users clear-cut schedules, which are included in charts that indicate the arrival and departure times for each train. The system’s business hours oscillate between 5:30 in the morning until a little after 1:00 in the morning of the following day. However, each line has its own detailed schedule.

In the case of the Higashiyama line, the first train promptly departs Iwaoka station at 5:30 in the morning. Meanwhile, the last train arrives at Hoshigaoka station at 1:15 in the morning of the following day.

The Meijo Line is a special case since it is a circular line. Clockwise, the first train departs Kanayama station at 5:30 in the morning, while the last train arrives at Nagoya Daigaku at 12:30 at night of the following day. Counterclockwise, the first train departs from Mizuho Undojo Higashi station at 5:32 in the morning. The last arrives at 12:29 of the following day at Aratama-bashi stations.

Meiko Line complements the Meijo Line, and only has 7 stations. In this case, the first train departs at 5:40 in the morning at Kanayama, while the last train arrives at Nagoyako at 12:29 at midnight of the following day.

Tsurumai Line receives its first train in the Kami-Otai station at 5:31 in the morning. The last train arrives at 12:30 at night of the following day to the Yagoto station. This line has connections with two of the Meitetsu suburban trains.

In the case of the Sakura-dori tramway line, the first train departs Imaike station at 5:31 in the morning. Meanwhile, the last train that offers service arrives at this station at 12:30 at night, arriving at the same time that another train at Nonami station.

The Kamiiida Line only has two stations. Its first train departs Kamiiida station at 5:30 in the morning, while the last train arrives at Heian-dori at 12:13 at night of the following day.

The train frequency varies a lot in the Nagoya Metro system. For instance, the trains in the Tsurumai Line are available each four minutes during the morning’s peak hours, and changes to 7 and a half minutes during the rest of the day. The frequency changes once again during the evening’s peak hours, in which there are trains available each five minutes, or in other words, the trains drive by quicker.

For the Sakura-dori Line, the train frequency during the morning’s peak hours is of 4 and a half minutes. This frequency changes to six minutes during the afternoon’s peak hours, and to seven and a half minutes during the rest of the day. The frequency also changes during Saturdays and Sundays, which is of 10 minutes during most of the day, and of six minutes during the morning’s peak hours.

Finally, the Kamiiida Line frequency is of seven and a half minutes during the morning’s peak hours, and of 15 minutes during the rest of the day.

Prices, tickets, and cards

The fares for the Nagoya Municipal Metro are calculated according to the distance travelled by the system. To calculate the different prices, the Nagoya Metro has divided its network into five zones. The pricing system also shows different ticket prices for adults and for children. The prices established by the metro’s operator are the following:

Zones: Zone 1 (less than 3 kilometers,) Zone 2 (between 3 and 7 kilometers,) Zone 3 (between 7 and 11 kilometers,) Zone 4 (between 11 and 15 kilometers,) and Zone 5 (over 15 kilometers).

Adults: Zone 1 (200 yen or 1.77 USD,) Zone 2 (240 yen or 2.13 USD,) Zone 3 (270 yen or 2.39 USD,) Zone 4 (300 yen or 2.66 USD,) and Zone 5 (330 yen or 2.92 USD.)

Children and adults with disabilities: Zone 1 (100 yen or 0.89 USD,) Zone 2 (120 yen or 1.06 USD,) Zone 3 (130 yen or 1.15 USD,) Zone 4 (150 yen or 1.33 USD,) Zone 5 (160 yen or 1.42 USD.)

Children with disabilities: Zone 1 (50 yen or 0.44 USD,) Zone 2 (60 yen or 0.53 USD,) Zone 3 (70 yen or 0.62 USD,) Zone 4 (80 yen or 0.71 USD,) Zone 5 (80 yen or 0.71 USD.)

Passengers also have other options with regards of tickets. For instance, there is the popular Free Day Ticket, which offers unlimited rides during a day in the metro system. The Free Day Ticket comes in many variations. The first variation is the Combined Free Pass Ticket, which allows rides among buses and the metro. This ticket costs 850 yen (7.53 USD) for adults, and 430 yen (3.80 USD) for children. The next ticket is the Free Day Ticket that only allows trips on the metro. The price for this ticket is 740 yen (6.56 USD) for adults and 370 yen (3.28 USD) for children.

People that will stay for a longer time in the city of Nagoya could also buy passes for unlimited rides for a period of up to six months. The prices for these passes are the following:

One month: Zone 1 (8390 yen or 74.32 USD,) Zone 2 (9370 yen or 83 USD,) Zone 3 (10,280 yen or 91.06 USD,) Zone 4 (11,100 yen or 98.32 USD,) Zone 5 (11,850 yen or 104.97 USD.)

Three months: Zone 1 (23,920 yen or 211.89 USD,) Zone 2 (26,710 yen or 236.61 USD,) Zone 3 (29,300 yen or 259.55 USD,) Zone 4 (31,640 yen or 280.28 USD,) and Zone 5 (33,780 yen or 299.23 USD.)

Six months: Zone 1 (45,310 yen or 401.37 USD,) Zone 2 (50,600 yen or 448.23 USD,) Zone 3 (55,520 yen or 491.81 USD,) Zone 4 (59,940 yen or 530.97 USD,) and Zone 5 (63,990 yen or 566.84 USD.)

If the users do not desire to purchase a zone-related ticket, they could also buy an Unlimited Line Ticket. The cost for each pass is 15,000 yen (132.88 USD) for the One Month Pass, 42,750 yen (378.69 USD) for the 3 Month Pass, and 81,000 yen (717.52 USD) for the 6 Month Pass. Besides these passes, there are special fares for students, which are adapted to their current education level, and for people with disabilities. Meanwhile, student organizations and touristic teams can buy group tickets, which will allow them to save money.

Most of the population of Nagoya has opted to use an integrated payment mechanism: the Manaca Card. This is a contactless card, which requires a 500 yen (4.43 USD) deposit to be issued. This card is personalized since it has a mileage system that allows the user to win discounts. The Manaca Card is also accepted to pay for purchases in different local stores, and is also compatible with 9 other similar cards in Japan.

A special option has been created for tourists, which can only be purchased via presenting a tourist visa or the certification of temporal residency. This option is called the SHORYUDO Unlimited One Day Pass, which allows the passenger to travel any number of times within a day on the metro, the buses belonging to the city hall, and the Meguru touristic bus. This ticket has a 600 yen (5.31 USD) price.

Bike stations

Although the parking lots for bicycles are not completely integrated to the Nagoya Municipal Metro, it is recommended to access these parking lots from the metro. The bike parking lots are managed by the municipal government of the city of Nagoya. There are a lot of parking lots of this type, generally located outside of the metro stations. Parking a regular bicycle costs 100 yen (0.89 USD) for 24 hours, 2000 yen (17.72 USD) for a month, 5500 yen (48.72 USD) for three months, and 10750 yen (95.23 USD) for six months. Parking for motorized bicycles has higher prices. In contrast, there are lower fares for students in secondary school or in a university.

Tips in Metro Nagoya

In a system such as the Nagoya Metro, it is very important to have in mind some basic tips to use it, especially if it the first time that the user boards it.

  • Go on the internet and know beforehand the possible routes and its respective fares. This way, you will not waste time when you board the metro.
  • The purchase of the ticket is done via an electronic machine, which has English as an available language.
  • Be sure to know which ticket you need to buy, as well as its price. You can also buy the Manaca Card from the vending machines.
  • At the exit, you will need to validate your ticket again at a turnstile. If the trip costs more than what you paid with your ticket, you will need to pay the rest of the fee in an available machine.
  • Use the metro’s maps to find your way at the stations. The stations on the maps are identifiable by codes, which consist of a letter that represents the line and a number that represents a station. This is done to easily find the stations on the maps.
  • Ask the metro’s personnel for assistance. If you do not speak Japanese, make sure to say it beforehand to the metro staff.

Fun Facts

  • Since the year 2002, Hatchii is the official mascot of the Nagoya Municipal Metro. Hatchii is dressed as a metro employee. It is yellow. Hatchii is anthropomorphic, but its head is shaped like Shachihoko’s, the Japanese mythical tiger.
  • Google Street View for the system’s stations is now available.
  • Since Japan is a country with a lot of earthquakes, there are drills on the metro to prepare people to escape in an organized way in case of an earthquake.
  • There are also drills to prepare passengers to escape in case of storms, typhoons, or fires.
  • A wagon that is for exclusive use for women has been added to some lines. These wagons were installed with the main purpose of being used during peak hours.

Nearby attractions

Japan is a country that has acquired international fame in the last decades due to its massive technological and automotive industry, and for their commercial success with respect to animation. However, Nagoya is a city that has been winning tourists little by little. Some of the places that can be visited via the Nagoya Municipal Metro are:

  • Nagoya Castle: It is the city’s landmark, and its construction is estimated to date back to 1525. It symbolizes the pride of the city of Nagoya, while also keeping the traditional architecture of the Japanese towns. To reach it, the passenger will have to disembark in the Shiyakusho station from the Meijo Line.
  • Nagoya’s Science Museum: With an architecture that is definitely modern, alongside a gigantic sphere that represents the biggest planetarium in the world, the Science Museum is one of the favorite places for children and curious adults. It has easy access, since the visitor will only have to use the Fushimi Station from the Higashiyma and Tsurumai lines.
  • Public Aquarium from the Nagoya Port: the harbor of the city of Nagoya is undoubtedly big, and that can be proved with aquariums with the size of the Public Aquarium from the Nagoya Port. This aquarium has dolphins and other animals that give beauty to this attraction. It is easy to access it, since the visitor will only have to reach the Nagoyako station from the Meiko Line.

Metro map of Nagoya

Metro map of Nagoya Full resolution
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Nagoya Subway map

  • Also Known As: Subway
  • Passengers/Day 1170000
  • Fares: gates
  • 24h operation: No
  • Air Conditioning: No
  • Walk between platforms: Yes
  • Driverless trains: Tobu Kyuryo maglev line (since 2005)
  • Screen Doors Platforms: Tobu Kyuryo maglev line
  • Operator: Transportation Bureau City of Nagoya
  • ï¿¥100
  • Nagoya Metro Official Website

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