Riding The Nagasaki Electric Tramway

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Rob Dyer The Real Japan

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The Nagasaki Electric Tramway

The Nagasaki Electric Tramway is a private tram (streetcar) system running on public streets in Nagasaki, on the island of Kyushu.

I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for travelling by tram - wherever in the world I happen to be.

Not only does Nagasaki have a comprehensive tram network stretching north, south, east and west, but the trams add immeasurably to the retro charm of this too often overlooked city.


Riding Nagasaki's Electric Tramway (Streetcar) The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Riding The Nagasaki Electric Tramway
by Rob Dyer

 

Founded in 1914

The company was founded on August 2, 1914, while the tram line was opened on November 16, 1915. The company and the lines are commonly known as Nagasaki Electric Railway (長崎電鉄 Nagasaki Dentetsu).

Nagasaki Electric Tramway tram The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Trams passing at a stop in the city centre

There are five routes regularly in service over one or more lines. Route 2, however, only runs once a day late at midnight.

The current fare is ¥120 for adults and ¥60 for school aged children. The fare is a flat rate.

If you're planning to visit Nagasaki then we recommend reading our 5 Days In Kyushu Itinerary.

 

How To Ride A Tram

Nagasaki Electric Tramway tram The Real Japan Rob Dyer

View from inside an older tram

4-Step Tram Travel Guide

  • Board from the rear
  • Press button to stop tram
  • Pay next to driver
  • Exit from the front
step 1

Board From The Rear

Doors will open automatically. Only board the tram through the rear door.

step 2

Press Button To Stop Tram

When approaching your desired stop press one of the many 'Stop Buttons' location around the interior.
This lets the driver know you want to get off at the next stop.

step 3

Insert Exact Fare Into Fare Box

If you are using cash you must have the exact fare ready. Place your coins into the fare box next to the driver.
If you are using a One-Day Pass simply show this to the driver (so he can see the valid date). If using a smart travel card simply tap it on the card reader and it will automatically debit the card.

step 4

Exit From Front Door

Doors will open automatically. Exit the tram through the front door.
Ocasionally you may also see a middle door. If so, this may also be used to exit the tram.

Nagasaki Electric Tramway tram The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Nagasakieki-mae stop in front of Nagasaki Train Station

PRO TIP: Fare boxes do not provide change. You must use the correct fare. However, money changers are provided inside all trams and will change coins an small notes. Note: the larger ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 bills are not accepted.

Alternatively, you can simply show a One Day Pass or pay using a smart travel card. 

If you are using a One-Day Pass simply show this to the driver (so he can see the valid date). If using a smart travel card simply tap it on the card reader and it will automatically debit the card.

Related: How To Travel In Japan Without Speaking Japanese

 

Routes and Line Guide

The trams run on five lines (although one of the lines, Route 2, only runs once at midnight or on special event days).

Each route is colour-coded and, as well as names, all stops are numbered making it easy to identify trams, lines and stops. There is a number sign on the board at every stop, circled in the route colour.

  • ROUTE 1 (Blue) Akasako — Sumiyoshi — Nagasaki-Ekimae — (Dejima) — Tsukimachi — Nishihamanomachi — Shōkakuji-shita
  • ROUTE 2 (White) Akasako — Sumiyoshi — Nagasaki-Ekimae — (Dejima) — Tsukimachi — Nishihamanomachi — Kōkaidō-mae — Hotarujaya
  • ROUTE 3 (Red) Akasako — Sumiyoshi — Nagasaki-Ekimae — (Sakuramachi) — Kōkaidō-mae — Hotarujaya
  • ROUTE 4 (Yellow) Hotarujaya — Kōkaidō-mae — Nishihamanomachi — Shōkakuji-shita
  • ROUTE 5 (Green: Hotarujaya — Kōkaidō-mae — Nishihamanomachi — Tsukimachi — Ishibashi


Using A One-Day Pass

The Nagasaki Electric Tramway Company sells a One-Day pass costs ¥500 for adults and ¥250 for children, providing unlimited use between 6:10am and 11:40pm on all lines.

Given that the regular single ride fare is ¥120 and ¥60 respectively, you need to make 5 rides or more for it to offer better value. Five rides is easy in a day of sightseeing in Nagasaki.

Nagasaki Electric Tramway tram One Day Pass The Real Japan Rob Dyer

A One-Day Pass simplifies tram travel in Nagasaki

One-Day passes cannot be purchased on trams - you have to buy in advance from Tourist Information Centre located on the ground floor of JR Nagasaki Station. Passes are for individual use only - they cannot be shared.

You can download a handy, printable PDF guide to Riding Nagasaki Trams here.

 

Sightseeing by Tram

Nagasaki is well-suited to sightseeing by tram. With the exception of Route 2, all the lines stop near major sights and the main tourist areas are also well-served.

Here's a list of some of the most popular sites (in alphabetical order) and the tram lines serving them:

Glover Garden - Line 5

Hashima Island (aka Gunkanjima) - Ferry terminal access via Line 1

Meganebashi ('spectacles' bridge) - Lines 3 and 5

5 Days in Kyushu Nakashima River district, Nagasaki The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Meganebashi 'spectacles' bridge, in Nagasaki's Nakashima River district

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum - Lines 1 and 3

Nagasaki Peace Memorial for Atomic Bomb Victims - Lines 1 and 3

Nagasaki Peace Park - Lines 1 and 3

Nagasaki Peace Statue Peace Park The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Peace Park Statue, Nagasaki Peace Park

Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum - Line 5

Ropeway for Mt. Inasa - Lines 1 and 3

Suwa Shrine - Lines 3, 4 and 5

Urakami Cathedral - Lines 1 and 3

Honestly, whether you are a fan of trams or not, you only need a One-Day Pass and your feet to see pretty much everything Nagasaki city has to offer.

If Nagasaki isn't already on your must-visit list, I strongly recommend adding it.

Have you ever ridden on the Nagasaki Electric Tramway, or a tram anywhere else in Japan? If so where? Please tell me about it by leaving a comment below - I love trams!

VIDEO: Nagasaki Tram Ride - Route 5


And One More Thing…

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Resources

Getting Around Nagasaki (Official Visit Nagasaki website)

You can download a handy, printable PDF guide to Riding Nagasaki Trams here.

Related: 5 Days In Kyushu Itinerary

Related: How To Travel In Japan Without Speaking Japanese

Back Roads of Japan (inc. Nagasaki) 10 day Tour


Location Map

Nagasaki Eki mae Higashiguchi Stop - Tram lines 1, 2, and 3 - is a main tram stop.
(In front of Nagasaki Train Station)


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Leave A Comment

  • Nagasaki is one of my favorite stops in Japan. I rarely go to Japan without spending at least a couple of days there. It is laid back, not crowded, inexpensive, and it is easy and fun to get around with the color coded trams. It is easiest with a day pass or travel card so you aren’t searching for exact change each time, especially if the car happens to be crowded. The night view from Mt. Inasa that Rob mentions is one of the best in all of Japan and best at dusk or later. A couple of real interesting sites that are sometimes missed are the Nagasaki Koshibyo Confucius Shrine and China museum at end of line 5 past Glover Garden and the Museum of 26 Martyrs of Japan next to a strange Catholic Church across from the train station (5 minute walk). The church has been visited by a pope and Mother Theresa as well as much of the movie “Silence” was based on the history depicted in the museum. Both sites are unique to Nagasaki. Also don’t ever miss any festival if you it you get a chance to see no matter where you are in Japan.

    • Thanks for sharing your passion for Nagasaki Brek.

      I’m pleased to hear that you (like me) revisit the city as often as possible.

      It’s too often overlooked in my view, and I always recommend including Kyushu (and Nagasaki) into people’s travel plans where sensible to do so.

      Thanks too for highlighting some of your favourite, lesser-known spots.

      I didn’t know about the connection to Scorsese’s “Silence”, so thanks for sharing the interesting trivia!

      • I lived there for three months 45 years ago! Many of the same trams I rode back then are still in operation and they were old back then. I also really like the Hotel Forza. It has comfortable beds, a wonderful breakfast, and a free self-service Cappuccino machine in the lobby.

        • Lucky you Brek!

          Yeah, I’m a sucker for riding trams, the older the better!

          Good to hear you rate Hotel Forza too.

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