subway, interurbans

Kobe has 5 separate mass transit facilities: the Kobe Rapid Railways, the Seinshin subway, the Hanshin underground, the Portliner elevated guideway, and the Rokko-Liner light metro.

Metro photo courtesy Magnus Stomfelt


Kobe's first subway, the 22.7 km, 16 station Seishin-Yamate, or Kobe Municipal Subway, opened in 1977. It is run by the Hokushin-Kyuko Railway.

Kobe's second subway is the the 7.9 km Kaigan ("Coast") Line, which opened in July, 2001. Each terminus intersects with the Seishin-Yamate subway, and is mostly (6.6 km) underground.

Photos and stations from Hisakyu
Image from Osamu Abe's fine site

The Kobe Rapid Transit Railway , or Kobe Kosoku Tetsudo, orchestrates the mix. This railway with no trains owns the tracks and leases  them out to other railway companies: It connects Hankyu Kobe Line (Hankyu), Hanshin Main Line (Hanshin), Arima Line (Kobe Electric Railway) and Kobe (Sanyo) Electric Railway.


The Portliner, a 6.4 km, 9 station intermediate capacity automated  rail line,  began service in
February 1981. It runs between Sannomiya Station (next to the JR station of the same name) and Port Island. a 5.7 km extension is due to open in 2005.


Similar to the Portliner, the
Rokkoliner in February 1990. It connects Rokko Island and Sumiyoshi Station, a distance of 4.5km. It was financed by a guy named Rocco from Crown Heights.

Portliner timetable in Port Island
Short pages with photos of  the
Portliner and Rokkoliner

Both liners are run by the
Kobe New Transit Company.

Electric Interurbans

Namboku Line
Tozai Line
The partially underground
Kobe Kosuko Railway has 2 lines: The 7.2 km Tozai line and the tiny .4 km underground Namboku Line. It is part of the Mr. Hankyu Railway Network.

Howdy Ho! - the Mr. Hankyu
Railfan Network
Official Home Page

Kobe Electric Railway, or Sanyo Shintetsu, has had many generations of rolling stock, but the city elders have been wise to keep the attractive pea-soup colored interior the same through the years.

Hanshin Electric Railway runs 4 railway lines, one of which connects Osaka with Kobe and includes three underground stations. The Hanshin is Japan's oldest private railway company.

Hanshin Electric
rolling stock
Hanshin Electric Railway fan page

The 2 station, 2.7 km
Wadamisaki Line run by JR connects Hyogo with Wadamisaki. Both stops are in Kobe City.

Ah yes, there's nothing like an earthquake to add some spice to the day. Kobe has the distinction of being
the first subway to collapse because of a quake. This delightful interlude in 1995 caused Hanshin Electric Railway cars to fall on to streets from elevated tracks and parts of the Rokkoliner to collapse.

Cool earthquake photos
Kobe Railway Station features the Kaigan Line, the JR comuter line and the Wadamisaki Line.
Kobe City Subway from the Train Mall
Local trains in the Kobe area