Thursday, May 03, 2018

Sapporo Streetcar - Vintage Tram (札幌市電,) @ Hokkaido [Japan] #sapporostreetcar

Frankly, i didn't plan to take the vintage electric tram for the Sapporo leg of my Hokkaido trip although i am very much aware of its existence; thought i would just snap a few pictures of the exterior and wouldn't go much into the details.

However, i did pencil in a visit to Mount Moiwa observatory and the fastest way to reach there with public transportation is via the Sapporo Streetcar (tram, that is)! The above is quite a familiar sight for local Singaporeans as it reminded me of a train carriage back home! 

I was expecting tons of tourists but the tram was amazingly filled with locals who treated it as a mere public transportation tool to get from point a to b. Should the tram be treated as a touristy activity, prices would likely shoot up and sustainability might be an issue in the long run. 

With 24 stops, the loop line covers 8.41 kilometers in both directions. Before the rise of motor vehicles and the opening of the subway, the network that started 1909 used to be 25 kilometers long at its peak in 1958. 

Frequency was comparable or even better than the bus services we have in Singapore; non-peak is about 7-8 minutes whereas peak is about 3 minutes. 

The ticket price for each adult is 200 yen; kid is half-priced. If you are a tram fanatic, you can opt for a day pass (known as Dosanko Pass) at 320 yen an adult and 160 yen per kid. Do your math; a two-way ticket would cost you more than a Dosanko Pass! 

As no change would be given, you may slot in your notes at the above machine and convert them into coins for ease of payment! What does this remind me of? Those token changer machines in game arcades! 

Old school buzzer to indicate your intention to stop at the next stop.


I refrain from labeling the stations as they looked more like bus stops to me! Aside from having no seats (mostly), the shelter was barely sufficient to shield us from the rain! 


And thanks to the rain, i couldn't manage a decent picture of the outdoors and had to make do with dozens of photographs showing the interior of the tram. 

Tram depot - i read from this website that there were actually different models for trams (including one used during winter with snow-sweeping capability) and it's actually open for viewing at no extra charge! If you are going to Mount Moiwa, the depot is just a stop away and you may wish to check it out if you have time. 

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Website
I find this website pretty helpful. 
You may also check out the Wikipedia page here.

Streetcar Map
Please click here


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