Discovering the Oldest Subway Line in Tokyo: A Look at Tokyo Metro’s Timeline


Tokyo Metro, the primary subway operator in Japan’s capital, currently manages nine lines that crisscross the city. Each line has its own unique history and opening date, with some dating back nearly a century. In this article, we’ll explore the chronology of Tokyo Metro’s subway lines and take a closer look at the oldest among them.


Tokyo Metro Lines and Their Opening Dates

Here is a list of Tokyo Metro’s lines in order of their opening dates (original line names are in parentheses):

  • Ginza Line (Tokyo Underground Railway Line): December 30, 1927
  • Marunouchi Line: January 20, 1954
  • Hibiya Line: August 28, 1961
  • Tozai Line: December 23, 1964
  • Chiyoda Line (Joban Line): December 20, 1969
  • Yurakucho Line: December 28, 1974
  • Hanzomon Line: September 30, 1978
  • Namboku Line: November 29, 1991
  • Fukutoshin Line: June 14, 2008

The Ginza Line: Tokyo Metro’s Oldest Subway Line

The Ginza Line, originally known as the Tokyo Underground Railway Line, is the oldest subway line in Tokyo Metro’s network. It began operations on December 30, 1927, making it Japan’s first subway line. Initially, the line ran for 2.2 kilometers, connecting Ueno Station to Asakusabashi Station. Over time, the line was extended and now spans 14.3 kilometers from Asakusa Station to Shibuya Station.

The Ginza Line is a crucial east-west connection in central Tokyo, passing through major commercial and tourist areas such as Ginza and Ueno. The line also offers transfers to other railway lines at stations like Asakusa and Ueno.


Tokyo Metro’s subway lines have a rich history, with the oldest line, the Ginza Line, opening in 1927 and the most recent, the Fukutoshin Line, commencing operations in 2008. Each line has played a significant role in Tokyo’s development over the past century.

As the oldest subway line in Tokyo Metro’s network, the Ginza Line is not only a vital part of Tokyo’s transportation system but also a piece of Japan’s railway history. When visiting Tokyo, consider taking a ride on the Ginza Line to experience a journey through time in one of the world’s most fascinating cities.