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Kyoto Municipal Subway

12 Uzumasa-Shimokeibu, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 〒616-8104
TEL 075-863-5213(Rapid Transit Department, Operations Section)
FAX 075-863-5219
URL http://www.city.kyoto.lg.jp/kotsu/

Overview of Operations

The Subway of the Capital

Kyoto’s Subway system emerged in response to the growing demands for comprehensive transportation infrastructure set against the backdrop of rapid motorisation. In 1981 the Karasuma Line began operation along the 6.6km between Kitaoji Station and Kyoto Station, quickly becoming a mainstay of Kyoto’s urban transport network. From this point onwards the line was gradually extended. Today, the line covers 13.7km from the International Conference Center to Takeda Station, with a total of 15 stations. The total journey time from end to end is roughly 28 minutes. 1997 saw the opening of the 12.7km Tozai (East-West) Line from Daigo Station to Nijo Station. After numerous extensions, the modern day Tozai line covers a distance of 17.5km from Rokujizo Station to Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station and includes 17 stations. The end to end journey time is approximately 35 minutes.

The Karasuma Line is complemented by the Kintetsu Kyoto Line, whilst the Tozai Line is supplemented by the Keihan Keishin Line. With links to Japan Rail services and private rail services, the Kyoto Municipal Subway forms part of a much larger interurban rail network. As of 2015, the subway saw approximately 372,000 passengers using the service on a daily basis.

Efforts Towards Efficient Management

Construction of the Kyoto Subway was affected by the asset price bubble in Japan in the late 80s and early 90s. Construction costs saw sudden steep increases, and as a result, Kyoto faced the most challenging conditions of all Japan’s subway projects. In response, local public bodies involved in such projects became subject to new laws aiming to bring about sound management practices. Bold targets were set to curtail costs and increase passenger numbers in order to improve the financial yield of the subway system. A target was set for an increase of 50,000 passengers on average per day. The total number of passengers recorded on average per day in 2015 fell just 3,000 short of this target.

Efforts to Increase Passenger Numbers

In 2013 a promotional PR campaign for Kyoto’s subway was introduced to help boost passenger numbers. Posters featuring a series of character mascots – Uzumasamoe, Matsugasaki, and Onomisa – representing the subway and city buses were used alongside other promotional media. In addition to this, in 2016, a festival was held in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Karasuma Line. Promotions included advertising along the railway lines, as well as rally events supported by related businesses.

Safety, Comfort, and Peace of Mind on the Subway

In order to ensure the best possible passenger experience, all station staff undergo regular training and drills to provide the utmost service. Furthermore, station facilities are constantly assessed for safety, with renovation and repairs undertaken to ensure the continued provision of a safe subway environment.

Safety Measures on the Tozai Line

The one-man operated trains running on the Tozai Line are managed by Automatic Train Control (ATC) in conjunction with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) systems. Further to this, all platforms are fitted with platform barriers to prevent accidents.

Station Impediment Removal

So that subway facilities are accessible, easy to use, and comfortable for all passengers, all stations are equipped with elevators and escalators, and in the 18 busy stations that connect with other services, multipurpose and wheelchair accessible toilets are available. In addition to this, work is ongoing to provide tactile paving, braille information boards, as well as voice- and light- guided information displays. Due to size constraints in the accessway between Shijo Station and Hankyu Karasuma Station, elevators and escalators are not available. Instead, stairlifts are in use for passengers unable to take the stairs. All these measures and more are vital to the continuing progress of impediment removal on the Kyoto Municipal Subway.

Introduction of Moveable Platform Barriers

The issue of accident prevention on the Karasuma Line was a problem for many years. Due to the difficulties faced by the administration and the limited funds available, it was resolved to try and do the best with the resources available. Train crew manually stopped trains and operated platform barriers – a first for a publicly managed subway system. At the three most congested stations on the Karasuma Line, moveable platform barriers were introduced – at Karasuma Oike in 2014, and at Shijo and Kyoto Stations in 2015.

Active development of in-station businesses/In order to improve the convenience of using Kyoto’s subway, and contribute to the prosperity of stations around the city – efforts are being made in the form of providing in-station commercial spaces, or ‘Kotochika’. In October 2010, beginning with the opening of ‘Kotochika Shijo’ in Shijo Station, the number of stations participating in the scheme has expanded to include Karasuma Oike Station, and Kyoto Station – a total of 12 locations.
Subway use campaign posters/From October 2015, to more effectively promote the late-night service ‘Kotokin Liner’ that operates on Fridays, the mascot ‘Moe Uzumasa’ and her older sister, ‘Rei Uzumasa’ were introduced and featured extensively in posters and leaflets. In addition to this, in September 2016, the first male characters, ‘Ryo Ono’ and ‘Takeru Jujo’ appeared with the hope of appealing to a wider audience and further promote subway use.
Kotochika Kyoto/In September 2012 the commercial area ‘Kotochika Kyoto’ opened at Kyoto Subway Station near the northern ticket barriers. In March 2013, the area around the central ticket barriers also opened for business. In March 2017, the south ticket barrier area also opened for business, and has proved very successful.
Moveable platform barriers/On the Karasuma Line, the three busiest stations: Karasuma Oike, Shijo, and Kyoto Stations are equipped with moveable platform barriers.
IC Card charging facilities and multilingual ticket, and fare adjustment machines are available in every station/In order to make using the IC Card more user-friendly, all stations are now fitted with IC Card compatible ticket barriers, as well as IC Card charging facilities and multilingual ticket and fare adjustment machines.
Sale of Kyoto Municipal Subway original products: ‘Kotochika Original’/‘Shizuyapan’, a range of traditional Kyoto anpan confectionery, made to a traditional recipe and using traditional ingredients, are available to buy at Shizuya, a participating Kotochika store. In collaboration with Sasaki Brewery, Shizuya has developed the special ‘Kotochika Original: Matsuri’ selection, including matcha, red bean paste, and cinnamon flavors. The set – an ideal present – was first introduced in June 2014, and is a very popular choice among customers at Kyoto and Shijo stations.

Route Map

● Click to enlarge the image.


* Includes queries relating to disabled access

City Bus and Subway Information Desk(07:30–19:30)

075-863-5200 Transportation Bureau (Uzumasa Tenjingawa)
075-371-4474 Kyoto Station Station Plaza
075-371-9866 Kotochika Kyoto
075-493-0410 Kitaoji Station
075-213-1650 Karasuma Oike Station

For lost property enquiries  075-213-1650 (Karasuma Oike Station Information Center)

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