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80122-0016 - Passengers getting on a street car in Tokyo, Japan (May 1934)

Tokyo 1934
Streetcar Passengers

Artist Unknown
Publisher New York State Education Department
Medium Glass Slide
Period Showa
Location Tokyo
Image No. 80122-0016
Purchase Digital FilePrint

Passengers are getting off a streetcar in Tokyo, while others are waiting.

When this photograph was taken in May 1934, Tokyo’s streetcar system was immense and extremely popular, as can be seen from the number of people riding the streetcar on this image.

Tokyo’s horse-drawn streetcars started operations on June 25, 1882. On August 22, 1903, the streetcars were electrified, and the company’s name was changed from Tokyo Horse-drawn Railway to Tokyo Electric Railway (Toden). The company’s first route was between Shinagawa and Shinbashi.

In 1906, the company merged with Tokyo Urban Railway (Gaitetsu) and Tokyo Electric Railway to form the Tokyo Railways. Tokyo City purchased Tokyo Railways in 1911 and renamed it Tokyo City Streetcar. In 1943, the name changed once again, this time to Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation, when Tokyo City was abolished and its administrative functions were taken over by Tokyo Prefecture.

At its peak, Toden operated 41 routes with 213 kilometers of track. As cars increasingly became common, passengers decreased and between 1967 and 1972, 181 km of track was abandoned.

A total closure was avoided when in 1974 the remaining routes were consolidated into the Arakawa Line.

From 1990, things began to look a little bit more positive again for the Tokyo streetcar. That year, new rolling stock was introduced for the first time in 28 years. Ten years later, a new station was added (Arakawa Itchumae). And in 2007, once again new rolling stock was introduced.1

This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan.


1 Wikipedia, Tokyo Toden. Retrieved on 2008-02-21.


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Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). Tokyo 1934: Streetcar Passengers, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on March 22, 2023 (GMT) from

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