Unveiling the History and Iconic Red Color of Tokyo Metro’s Marunouchi Line


The Marunouchi Line, operated by Tokyo Metro, is a crucial transportation artery running through the heart of Tokyo. Known for its distinctive red-colored trains, this line has become an iconic symbol of the city. In this article, we’ll delve into the history of the Marunouchi Line and explore the reasons behind its famous red livery.


The History of the Marunouchi Line

The Marunouchi Line’s history dates back to 1954 when the first section between Shinjuku and Komagome opened. In 1957, the line was extended to Ikebukuro, followed by the opening of the Ochanomizu to Nakano-sakaue section in 1959. The line reached its current form in 1962 when the entire route from Shinjuku-sanchome to Ogikubo was completed.

Today, the Marunouchi Line spans 24.2 kilometers, connecting Ogikubo in the west to Ginza in the east, passing through major hubs like Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Tokyo, and Otemachi. With an average of 1 million passengers daily, it is a vital transportation link for commuters and visitors alike.

The Iconic Red Color

The Marunouchi Line’s distinctive red color scheme was introduced in 1988 with the debut of the 02 series trains. Prior to this, the line’s trains featured various colors such as green, blue, and cream. The decision to adopt red as the line’s signature color was based on several factors.

Firstly, the red color enhances visibility, making the trains easier to spot in the dimly lit underground stations, thus improving safety. Additionally, red is Tokyo Metro’s corporate color, so the choice also serves to reinforce the company’s brand identity.

The red livery has been well-received by passengers, and the association between the color red and the Marunouchi Line has become deeply ingrained in the public consciousness. Today, the red trains are an iconic symbol of the line and the city itself.


Since its opening in 1954, the Marunouchi Line has played a pivotal role in serving Tokyo’s bustling city center. Its red-colored trains, introduced in 1988, have become a beloved symbol of the line and the city, representing both safety and brand identity. As the Marunouchi Line continues to serve millions of passengers, its iconic red trains will undoubtedly remain a cherished part of Tokyo’s urban landscape.