Toei Subway

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The Toei Subway of the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation (東京都交通局) is Tokyo’s official subway transportation authority. The word Toei literally translates as “operated by the metro government” and refers to one of the two major rapid transit subway networks in Tokyo, the other being Tokyo Metro. JR East also operates the Yamanote Line, which though it is technically an above ground railway, is considered part of the Tokyo Subway due to its proximity and use of major subway stations.

Originally, the Toei lines were licensed privately to the Teito Rapid Transit Authority, which later became Tokyo Metro in 2004. However, when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government constructed additional lines and transferred the licenses for each line, they took control and formed the Toei network. For much of the networks history, it has recorded losses due to massive construction costs – however, in 2006 it reported its first net profit.

Transfer between the Tokyo Metro and Toei networks require tickets for each train as they are considered entirely separate networks. However, with an SF card or special fare ticket, transfers can be made without additional purchases.



In 1911, Tokyo City made a purchase of the Tokyo Railway Company, which at that point operated streetcars in the city. The streetcars where then placed in the Tokyo Municipal Electric Bureau. Bus service was started in 1924 after the Great Kanto Earthquake knocked out much of the city’s streetcar service. Later, in 1942, the TMEB forced many of the private companies operating transit systems in Tokyo to consolidate within the TMEB including the Tokyo Underground Railway, Keio Electric Railway, and Tokyu Corporation, as well as a handful of small bus companies. When Tokyo City was abolished in 1943, the TMBT was created and all operations were transferred there. Later, subway service was incorporated as licenses expired and the city retained them.

Toei Subway Lines

  • Asakusa Line – Nishi-magome to Oshiage – Rose
  • Mita Line – Meguro – Nishi-takashimadaira – Blue
  • Shinjuku Line – Shinjuku to Moto-yawata – Leaf Green
  • Oedo Line – Hikarigaoka to Tochomae, Roppongi, and Ryogoku – Ruby

Additionally, Toei also runs and is responsible for the Toden Arakawa Line streetcar and the Ueno Zoo monorail, as well as the Nippori-Toneri Liner, an automated transit.

Bus Service

Bus service in Tokyo is generally reserved for small gaps where the Toei and Tokyo Metro networks do not provide subway service. The routes are most often denoted by a single Kanji and a route number such as Shibu 66, a route from Shibuya Station to various suburbs. Additional routes, including those to Roppongi Hills use Romanji instead.

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