Tobu Railway

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Tobu Railway Co., Ltd.
Native name
Tōbu Tetsudō kabushiki gaisha
Company typePublic KK
IndustryRail-focused conglomerate
Founded1 November 1897; 126 years ago (1897-11-01)
18-12 Oshiage 2-chome, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
(Registered in Tokyo Skytree East Tower, 1-2 Oshiage 1-chome, Sumida-ku, Tokyo)
Area served
Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Gunma, Tochigi
Key people
Nezu Kaichirō (former Representative Director)
Yoshizomi Nezu [jp](Chairman)[1]
Yutaka Tsuzuki (President)[2] (Representative Director)
ServicesPassenger railway
Total assets¥1.3 trillion
OwnerInvestment trusts (JTSB 6.13%, TMTBJ 4.19%)
Fukoku Life (2.47%)
SSBTC Treaty 505234 (2.26%)
Mizuho Bank (2.20%)
Number of employees
3,470 (As of March 2022)
SubsidiariesVarious, including the operating company of Tokyo Skytree, Tobu Bus, Asahi Motor
Old Tobu Railway logo used until July 2011

The Tobu Railway Company, Ltd. (東武鉄道株式会社, Tōbu Tetsudō kabushiki gaisha) is a Japanese commuter railway and keiretsu holding company in the Greater Tokyo Area as well as an intercity and regional operator in the Kantō region. Excluding the Japan Railways Group companies, Tobu's 463.3 km (287.9 mi) rail system is the second longest in Japan after Kintetsu. It serves large portions of Saitama Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture and Tochigi Prefecture, as well as northern Tokyo and western Chiba Prefecture. The Tobu Railway Company is listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the Nikkei 225 index.

The Tobu corporate group is also engaged in road transportation (bus/taxi), real estate, and retail. It is the owner of the Tokyo Skytree, the third tallest tower in the world. The company is a member of the Fuyo Group keiretsu.

The name "Tobu" is formed from the kanji for east () and Musashi (蔵), the initial area served.


Tobu is one of the oldest railway companies in Japan. It was established in November 1897 and began operation between Kita-Senju and Kuki in August 1899. The Tojo Railway was founded in 1911 as a separate company, but shared its president and head office with Tobu.[3]

Inside the DeHa 1 Class No. 5, the first electric train of the Tobu Railway

In 1905, Nezu Kaichirō became the president of Tobu Railway and successfully helped to grow the company to one of the largest private rail operators in the Kanto region.[4]

In 1924, Tobu began operating its first electric train on the Isesaki Line between Asakusa (later Narihirabashi, today Tokyo Skytree Station) and Nishiarai.

Tobu was the first railway in the Kanto region to adopt quadruple tracks, on the Kita-Senju to Takenotsuka sector in 1974.[5] The Tobu Dobutsu Koen (Tobu Animal Park) opened in 1981.[6]

Railway network[edit]

Diagram of the Tobu network, showing main lines to right and Tojo Lines to lower left

Tobu has two isolated networks which are connected by the Chichibu Railway for ferrying of its rolling stock.

The Tobu Main Line network has a tree topology starting at Asakusa in Tokyo, with the Isesaki Line as the trunk, and the Tobu Kameido Line, Daishi Line, Tobu Urban Park Line, Tobu Sano Line, Koizumi Line, Tōbu Kiryū Line, and Nikkō Line forming the branches, with further branches into the Tobu Utsunomiya Line and Tobu Kinugawa Lines. It offers surcharged, seat-reserved limited express services from Tokyo to Nikkō and Kinugawa.

The Tojo Line runs northwest from Ikebukuro in Tokyo to central and western Saitama Prefecture. A branch, the Ogose Line, runs to Ogose from Sakado.

Tobu's terminals in Tokyo are at Asakusa (Main Line express services), Oshiage (most other Main Line services) and Ikebukuro (Tojo Line). The Skytree and Isesaki Lines interoperate with the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line and the Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line to serve central, southwestern Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, while the Tojo Line interoperates with the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line and Minatomirai Line to serve central and southwest Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.

Main lines[edit]

Name Symbol Stations Length
Skytree Line AsakusaTōbu-Dōbutsu-Kōen 41.0 km (25.5 mi)
Kameido Line HikifuneKameido 3.4 km (2.1 mi)
Daishi Line NishiaraiDaishimae 1.0 km (0.62 mi)
Isesaki Line Tōbu-Dōbutsu-KōenIsesaki 73.5 km (45.7 mi)
Sano Line TatebayashiKuzū 22.1 km (13.7 mi)
Koizumi Line TatebayashiNishi-Koizumi, ŌtaHigashi-Koizumi 12.0 km (7.5 mi)
Kiryū Line ŌtaAkagi 20.3 km (12.6 mi)
Nikkō Line Tōbu-Dōbutsu-KōenTōbu Nikkō 94.5 km (58.7 mi)
Utsunomiya Line Shin-TochigiTōbu Utsunomiya 24.3 km (15.1 mi)
Kinugawa Line Shimo-ImaichiShin-Fujiwara 16.2 km (10.1 mi)
Urban Park Line (Formerly Noda Line) ŌmiyaKasukabeFunabashi 62.7 km (39.0 mi)

Tobu Tojo lines[edit]

Name Symbol Stations Length
Tojo Line IkebukuroYorii 75.0 km (46.6 mi)
Ogose Line SakadoOgose 10.9 km (6.8 mi)

Rolling stock[edit]

As of 1 April 2016, Tobu Railway operates a fleet of 1,890 electric multiple unit (EMU) vehicles, the third largest fleet for a private railway operator in Japan after Tokyo Metro (2,728 vehicles) and Kintetsu (1,905).[7]

Express EMUs[edit]

Eight new three-car 500 series EMU trains were introduced on limited express services on lines from Asakusa on 21 April 2017.[8]

Commuter EMUs[edit]

Steam locomotive[edit]

Tobu plans to operate steam-hauled tourist services on the Kinugawa Line from 10 August 2017 using JNR Class C11 steam locomotive C11 207 loaned from JR Hokkaido together with JNR Class DE10 diesel locomotive DE10 1099 purchased from JR East, a fleet of six 12 and 14 series coaches purchased from JR Shikoku, and two Yo 8000 brake vans purchased from JR Freight and JR East.[10]

Withdrawn types[edit]

Express EMUs[edit]

Commuter EMUs[edit]


Steam locomotives[edit]

  • Tobu B1 Class 4-4-0 (1898)


  1. ^ "Board of Directors and the Statutory Auditors (As of July 1, 2023)" (PDF). Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  2. ^ "Message from the President" (PDF). Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  3. ^ "明治28年~45年". Tobu Railway. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures". National Diet Library, Japan. National Diet Library, Japan.
  5. ^ "1961年~1980年 | 会社の沿革 | 東武鉄道ポータルサイト". Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  6. ^ "昭和41年~63年". Tobu Railway. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  7. ^ 私鉄車両編成表 2016 [Private Railway Rolling Stock Formations - 2016] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 25 July 2016. pp. 213–214. ISBN 978-4-330-70116-5.
  8. ^ 2017年4月21日(金)ダイヤ改正を実施! [Revised timetable to be introduced on Friday 21 April 2017] (PDF). News release (in Japanese). Japan: Tobu Railway. 18 January 2017. Archived from the original (pdf) on 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  9. ^ 東武70000系が営業運転を開始 [Tobu 70000 series enters revenue service]. Japan Railfan Magazine Online (in Japanese). Japan: Koyusha Co., Ltd. 8 July 2017. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  10. ^ 東武鬼怒川線で復活するSL「大樹」の営業運転開始日を2017年8月10日(木)に決定! ["Taiju" steam locomotive on Tobu Kinugawa Line to enter service on Thursday 10 August 2017] (PDF). News release (in Japanese). Japan: Tobu Railway. 18 January 2017. Archived from the original (pdf) on 19 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]