Currently, Sendai has one subway line running north-south, with a proposed east-west line due for completion in 2016.
The Sendai subway line runs from Izumu-chuo in the north, to Tomizawa in the south. It takes 28 minutes to travel from one end of the subway line to the other. Sendai station is roughly middle of the line, 15 minutes south of Izumi- chuo, and 12 minutes north of Tomizawa.
Schedules can be picked up at each station, usually at the Commuter Pass office, or the small window by the subway gates.
Online schedules are also available for the four main stations (Izumi-chuo, Kotodai-koen, Sendai, and Tomizawa) on the Sendai City Transportation Bureau English website: http://www.kotsu.city.sendai.jp/e/index.htm
Ticket prices range depending on how many sections you travel through. Adult fares cost from Y200-350; children’s fares from Y100-180:
Tickets can be purchased from ticket vending machines, usually located beside the subway gates. Above the machines, there are subway route maps listing the price to each stop. Simply put your cash in the machine, which will print you a ticket and gave you change. Use the ticket to go through the subway gate. If you’re in a hurry to catch the subway, you can simply buy the cheapest ticket, then pay the difference when you reach your destination: look for a “Fare Adjustment” machine near the exit gates, and put in your ticket. The machine will tell you how much extra to pay. Add the extra fare, and you’ll receive a new ticket allowing you to exit through the subway gates.
SKIP cards and SKIP/Joy Cards
If you take the subway a few times a week, pre-paid SKIP or Joy cards are probably more convenient than buying tickets each time. Alongside the regular ticket machines, there are machines for purchasing SKIP and SKIP/Joy cards.
SKIP and SKIP/Joy cards can be used on city buses, Miyagi transportation buses and the subway. Both types of card are available in Y1000, Y3000, and Y5000 denominations. Y3000 and Y5000 SKIP/Joy cards contain a 10% premium, so although you pay Y3000/Y5000 for cards, they are actually worth Y3300 and Y5500 respectively. Regular SKIP cards don’t contain a premium. However, if you use a SKIP card to transfer between the bus and subway at a designated subway station, you will receive an automatic Y40 discount on the fare. There are no transfer discounts for SKIP/Joy cards.
Both types of cards can be purchased at all subway stations, Commuter pass ticket offices, bus offices, the information center at Sendai Nishiguchi Bus Pool, and consigned ticket windows. Y1000 SKIP cards (not SKIP/Joy) can also be purchased on the bus.
Using SKIP and SKIP/Joy cards:
To use either card when riding the subway, simply pass the card through the ticket gate at your departure station, and again when you reach your destination. The amount of the fare will be deducted from your ticket, and the remaining value printed on the back of your card. Don’t bend your ticket, or the card will become unreadable. If this happens, take your card to the window beside the subway gate, where they should be able to print you a new one, equal in value to the value left on your card.
If you have less than Y200 left on your card, you won’t be able to put it through the subway gate. In this case, take your card to the regular ticket vending machines beside the subway gates. Insert your card into the card slot, and add the extra cash required to make up your fare. You will receive a printed ticket. Use this ticket to go through the gate, not your card. Alternatively, insert your almost-finished card, followed by a new card. The money remaining on your old card will be used up first, then the remaining fare deducted from your new card. You’ll receive a ticket from the machine. Put only this through the subway gate, not either of your cards.