Hokkaido Railway Company

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.

Hokkaido Railway Company
Native name
Hokkaidō Ryokaku Tetsudō ("Hokkaido Passenger Railway") kabushiki gaisha
TypeState-owned KK
IndustryPrivate railway
PredecessorJapanese National Railways (JNR)
FoundedApril 1, 1987; 36 years ago (1987-04-01)
(privatization of JNR)
Area served
ProductsKitaca (a rechargeable contactless smart card)
ServicesPassenger rail
Freight services
Intercity bus
OwnerJapan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (100%)
Number of employees
7,970 (as of April 1, 2007)
SubsidiariesJR Hokkaido Bus

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 The ferry service has also been replaced by the Seikan Tunnel.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 Shintoku. 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. JR Hokkaido closed 25 stations from March 2021 to March 2022 due to a decrease in passengers.[2][3]

JR Hokkaido's headquarters are in Chūō-ku, Sapporo.[4]


Headquarters and branch officesEdit

Headquarters building
  • Headquarters: 1-1-15 Kita-11-jō-Nishi, Chūō-ku, Sapporo
  • Branch offices:
    • Asahikawa branch office: 6-4152-2 Miyashita-dōri, Asahikawa
    • Hakodate branch office: 12-5 Wakamatsu-chō, Hakodate
    • Kushiro branch office: 5-14 Kita-ōdōri, Kushiro

Lines and key stationsEdit

Lines of JR Hokkaido
KiHa 283 series DMU Ōzora
789-1000 series EMU Super Kamui


Trunk linesEdit

  1. ^ Most trains run between Sapporo and Oshamanbe.

Other linesEdit

Under constructionEdit

Former linesEdit

The company also operated the Seikan Ferry until 1988.

Former JNR lines closed before JR Hokkaido formationEdit

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


  1. ^ "JR Hokkaido says it can't maintain half of its railways". 19 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017.
  2. ^ JR北海道 18駅を廃止へ 2021年春のダイヤ見直しで (in Japanese). Norimono News. 9 December 2020. Archived from the original on 24 February 2020.
  3. ^ JR北海道 7駅廃止へ 3月ダイヤ改正 札沼線に新駅開業 (in Japanese). Norimono News. 17 December 2021. Archived from the original on 11 February 2022.
  4. ^ "会社概要 Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine." Hokkaido Railway Company. Retrieved on 27 March 2010.

External linksEdit