【Tips】What are the representative colors of Tokyo Metro?

If you take the subway in Tokyo, you will definitely find a sign that reads:

This is a photo taken at Ueno Station in Tokyo. The orange circle wrapped around G refers to the Ginza Line, and the silver circle wrapped around H refers to the Hibiya Line.

Do you have a lot of questions at this moment? Why is the Ginza Line orange and the Hibiya Line silver? Is there a similar difference between the other lines?

In fact, each subway line has its own representative color, and almost every representative color has its own origin.

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The first introduction of the line color system was in 1970. For the Ginza, Marunouchi, Hibiya, Tozai, and Chiyoda lines of the then-opened Oyodo Subway (now Tokyo Metro), and the Asakusa and Mita lines of the Higashi-Kyoto camp, the representative colors of the lines were set based on the then-current body colors.

The reason for this is to make navigation easier. In the absence of representative colors for each line, the maps of the lines in the stations were only explained by text. Given the complexity of the Tokyo Metro, a single color and a large number of words can be confusing. With the introduction of representative colors, it was possible to clearly delineate the direction of each line and to see which lines passed through each station, so that whenever a new line was built, a representative color was set in advance. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Let’s see what the representative colors of each Tokyo Metro line are!

Ginza Line

The representative color is orange.

When the Ginza Line was built, it was modeled after the German subway BVG, and the orange color was used on the German subway at the time, so the trains on the Ginza Line were painted in this color, which became the theme color of the Ginza Line.

Marunouchi Line

The representative color is red.

Since this line connects Shinjuku Station, Tokyo Station and Ikebukuro Station, and is one of the most heavily trafficked lines on the Tokyo Metro, many people think that the red color of the Marunouchi Line is a manifestation of the Tokyo Metro’s main artery. However, the real source of the red color is probably the color of the cigarette packets seen in the United Kingdom during a visit to the United Kingdom at the beginning of the Marunouchi Line’s construction. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

By the way, I would like to mention. The color red was chosen to represent the city’s major subway arteries, but the Midosuji Line, which passes through Shin-Osaka Station (a Shinkansen station), Umeda Station (the record holder for the largest number of one-day boardings and alightings of any single line in Japan, and the largest shopping district in Western Japan), Shinsaibashi Station (a tourist attraction), and Namba Station (one of the two central areas of Osaka, with North Umeda and South Namba), is the only one in Osaka. The Midosuji Line. The color of the Midosuji Line is not red, but blush. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Hibiya Line

The representative color is silver,although at first glance it may appear to be gray.

As we mentioned earlier, the source of the representative colors for the early five lines was the color of the car bodies. After the construction of the Hibiya Line, it was the first time that an all-stainless steel body model was used, and no other colorful paint was used. Therefore, the Hibiya Line is actually a low-profile, shiny stainless steel and silver color.

Tozai Line

The representative color is light blue。

The Tokyo Metro East-West Line, which connects Tokyo, Chiba and Saitama, is the subway line that carries the largest number of people in Tokyo Metro in Japan. After the Hibiya line, all stainless steel cars without paint were also used. In order not to overlap with the Hibiya Line, the cars were painted with an aqua horizontal stripe and the color was adopted as their representative color.

The reason for the choice of water color, there is a theory that the study of the inner line of the pill, using the water color on the packaging of cigarettes [hi-lite], also called high-light blue (high-light blue), the same name as the cigarette. I don’t know if I should say it’s just the right Japanese joke.

Chiyoda Line

The representative color is green.

One reason for the green color is that the Chiyoda Line passes by many green facilities and parks, such as the National Diet Hall and Yoyogi Park. However, if you check the color hexadecimal code, you can see that the green color used on the Chiyoda Line is inherited from the JR Joban Line.

Yurakucho Line

The representative color is gold.

Starting with the Yurakucho Line, all subsequent Metrorail lines have been built with a representative color before starting construction. The Yurakucho Line passes through busy streets such as Ginza, and the Japanese pronunciation of the word Yurakucho gives a sense of sophistication, so a high class gold color was used as the representative color for this line. As for the reason why a relatively low-profile earthy gold color was used instead of the real shiny gold, I guess it has something to do with the low-profile character of Japanese people who don’t want to be in the limelight.

Hanzomon Line

The representative color is purple.

Purple is a noble and elegant color for Japanese people. There are many reasons for choosing purple, including the fact that the Hanzomon Line is named after the gate to the imperial residence, and that the Hanzomon Line passes through areas of high status in the past. The simplest theory is that they wanted to find a different color for the new line than other lines, but one that was more eye-catching, so they chose light purple.

Namboku Line

The representative color is Emerald green.

If the East-West Line is the main artery that runs east and west through the heart of Tokyo, the North-South Line is the blood vessel that runs north and south through Tokyo. There are many beautiful old gardens along the line, such as the Old Furukawa Gardens and Rokugien Gardens, and that is why this line uses the elegant emerald green as its representative color, right?

Fukutoshin Line

The representative color is blown.

This line is the last of the nine Tokyo Metro lines to be completed, and it is the only one that does not pass through Chiyoda district. When choosing the representative color for this line, the predecessors had almost all the other colors, so in order not to duplicate other lines and to stand out, they chose brown as the representative color.

However, although its representative color does not look so impressive, it is the only Metro line that passes through the three sub-centers of Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and Shibuya!

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