Hokkaido Railway Company

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Hokkaido Railway Company
Native name
Romanized name
Hokkaidō Ryokaku Tetsudō ("Hokkaido Passenger Railway") kabushiki gaisha
Type State-owned KK
Industry Private railway
Predecessor Japanese National Railways (JNR)
FoundedApril 1, 1987 (privatization of JNR)
Area served
Products Kitaca (a rechargeable contactless smart card)
Services Passenger rail
Freight services
Intercity bus
Owner Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (100%)
Number of employees
7,970 (as of April 1, 2007)
Subsidiaries JR Hokkaido Bus
Website www.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global

The Hokkaido Railway Company (北海道旅客鉄道株式会社, Hokkaidō Ryokaku Tetsudō Kabushiki-gaisha) is one of the constituent companies of the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), and is often referred to using its official abbreviation of JR Hokkaido (JR北海道, Jeiāru Hokkaidō). It operates intercity and local rail services in Hokkaido, Japan. The company introduced Kitaca, a smart card ticketing system, in autumn 2008.


At the time of its privatization in 1987, JR Hokkaido operated 21 railway lines totalling 3,176.6 kilometres (1,973.8 mi) of narrow-gauge (1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)) track, as well as a ferry service to Aomori. Since then, that figure has dwindled to just below 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi), as unprofitable lines have been shut down or spun off (in the case of the Hokkaidō Chihoku Kōgen Railway). The ferry service has also been replaced by the Seikan Tunnel.

On 19 November 2016, JR Hokkaido's President announced plans to further rationalize its network by the withdrawal of services from up to 1,237 km, or about 50% of the current network, [1] including closure of the remaining section of the Rumoi Main Line (the Rumoi - Mashike section closed on 4 December 2016), the Shin-Yubari - Yubari section of the Sekisho Line (closed on 1 April 2019), the non-electrified section of the Sassho Line (closed 17 April 2020) and the Nemuro Line between Furano and Kami-Ochiai Junction. Other lines including the Sekihoku Main Line, Senmo Main Line, the Nayoro - Wakkanai section of the Soya Line and Kushiro - Nemuro section of the Nemuro Line are proposed for conversion to Third Sector operation, but if local governments are not agreeable, such sections will also face closure. In March 2021, 18 unmanned stations were closed due to a decrease in the number of passengers.

Hokkaido Railway's headquarters are in Chūō-ku, Sapporo. [2]


Headquarters and branch offices

Headquarters building JR-Hokkaido main office.JPG
Headquarters building

Lines and key stations

KiHa 283 series DMU Ozora Kiha-283 Nemuro-Main-Line.jpg
KiHa 283 series DMU Ōzora
789-1000 series EMU Super Kamui New789 01.jpg
789-1000 series EMU Super Kamui


Trunk lines

  1. Most trains run between Sapporo and Oshamanbe.

Other lines

Sapporo Station Sapporostation south.jpg
Sapporo Station

Under construction

Former lines

The company also operated the Seikan Ferry until 1988.

Former JNR lines closed before JR Hokkaido formation

These lines have been closed by JNR in Hokkaido before April 1, 1987.

Related Research Articles

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Hokkaido Prefecture had 14 branch offices called 支庁 (shichō) in Japanese, which is often translated in English as subprefectures. Normally, a subprefecture consists of a few to a dozen cities, towns, and/or villages. From April 2010, Hokkaido has 9 General Subprefectural Bureaus (総合振興局) and 5 Subprefectural Bureaus (振興局).

Dō-Ō Expressway

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Hokkaido Shinkansen high-speed rail line in Hokkaido and Aomori Prefecture, Japan

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Sapporo Station Railway station in Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo Station is a railway station in Chūō-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. It is served by Hakodate Main Line and other lines of Hokkaido Railway Company, and is also connected to the Subway Sapporo Station.

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Hakodate Main Line

The Hakodate Main Line is a railway line connecting the cities of Hakodate and Asahikawa via Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan. It is one of the trunk lines operated by the Hokkaido Railway Company. The Sawara Line, a 35 km loop line from Ōnuma to Mori opened in 1945, is included as part of the Hakodate Main Line.

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Shimukappu Station is a railway station on the JR Hokkaido Sekishō Line. It is located in Shimukappu, Hokkaidō, Japan. The station code is K21.

Sōya Main Line

The Sōya Main Line is a Japanese railway line operated by Hokkaido Railway Company in Hokkaido. The line connects Asahikawa Station in Asahikawa and Wakkanai Station in Wakkanai, and is the northernmost railway line in Japan. The name comes from Sōya Subprefecture.

Nemuro Main Line

Nemuro Main Line is a railway line in Hokkaido operated by Hokkaido Railway Company, connecting Takikawa Station in Takikawa and Nemuro Station in Nemuro, including Obihiro and Kushiro. Higashi-Nemuro is the most easterly situated station on the Japanese rail system.

Sekishō Line

The Sekishō Line is a railway line in Japan operated by Hokkaido Railway Company. The main Sekishō Line connects Minami-Chitose in Chitose and Shintoku Station in the town of Shintoku. The name of the line comes from the subprefectures along the route, namely Ishikari (石狩) and Tokachi (十勝).

Sekihoku Main Line railway line in Hokkaido, Japan

Sekihoku Main Line is a railway line in Hokkaido, Japan, operated by Hokkaido Railway Company between Shin-Asahikawa in Asahikawa and Abashiri Station in Abashiri. The name comes from the first Kanji characters of Ishikari Province (石狩国) and Kitami Province (北見国), names of ancient provinces along the line.

Muroran Main Line Railway line in Hokkaido, Japan

The Muroran Main Line is a railway line in Hokkaido operated by Hokkaido Railway Company, between Oshamambe Station in Oshamambe and Iwamizawa Station in Iwamizawa, approximately paralleling the coast of Iburi Subprefecture. There also is a branch line within Muroran, between Higashi-muroran and Muroran Station.

Hokkaido Television Broadcasting Television station in Chūō-ku, Sapporo

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The Hokkaido Chuo Bus Co., Ltd. is a Japanese bus company operating local and long-distance buses in Hokkaido prefecture, Japan. The company operates routes connecting cities within Hokkaido, as well as local city and chartered bus services.


  1. "JR Hokkaido says it can't maintain half of its railways". 2016-11-19. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02.
  2. "会社概要 Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine ." Hokkaido Railway Company. Retrieved on March 27, 2010.