Sapporo Tram Loop

  • Sapporo Tram Loop 00:00

One of the interesting aspect between the everyday lives of Sapporo’s civilians is the existence of tram. This mass electric transportation system has already been a part of Sapporo, Hokkaido 1918. First pioneered in 1909 without electrical system with the name Sapporo sekizai basha tetsudō or Sapporo Stone Horsecar Railway. According to the script in the official Sapporo government’s site,, a loop route tram station is now available at 8.9 kilometer length which travels to 24 stations nearby Sapporo.  One of the points crowded by passengers is Susukino area. This route has decreased drastically compared to the golden age of this transportation system by the end of 1950 which extends to 25 kilometer and serves seven routes.  The golden age of tram decreased due to the number of citizen using cars had increased and the other reason is construction of a new transportation system, Sapporo Municipal Subway.

Enjoying the tram ride in Sapporo is like going through time in the middle of the hectic, modern Sapporo. Not to mention when crossing the shimmering Susukino at night. Although there is a new tram model, the majority of the old trams still functions well. I always love riding the old tram compared to the new one. There is a sentimental feeling while I listen to the sounds and pay attention to the details inside.  

I recorded this sound during a tram ride from Susukino heading towards my lodge nearby the famous Tanukikoji Shopping Street. The sound of this tram is undoubtedly unique. The creaking of its tires and engines roaring, giving the old tram feel. Then there is a briliant thinkling bell in each tram departure, along with announcements brought calmly and politely. There is also announcement for destinations from an audio record played through loudspeaker. Next there is the sound of the doors opening and closing with hydraulic system which became a ritual during tram rides. The sound goes like psssssttt. From outside the tram, music from stores and traffic lights signal from nighttime Sapporo can be heard.  Trams never operate in high speed. The speed is really relaxed so we can look at the landscapes and hear the noises around. It was such a remarkable experience, going through Sapporo by tram.

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Sounds: Japan