The extension of the Fukuoka City Subway Nanakuma Line to Hakata Station will go into operation on March 27, 2023. This is expected to further improve accessibility between various parts of the city and Hakata Station. The Fukuoka City Subway, which now has three lines—the Airport Line (No. 1), the Hakozaki Line (No. 2), and the Nanakuma Line (No. 3)—was initially planned in the 1970s. The plan called for the No. 1 Line to run from Meinohama to Hakata and the No. 2 Line from Nakasu-Kawabata to Kaizuka, and a portion of the No. 1 Line, from Muromi to Tenjin, opened in 1981.
After that, construction progressed gradually, eventually lengthening the total distance of the subway line. In 1983, the No. 1 Line was connected to Hakata Station and began mutual direct service with the Chikuhi Line operated by JR Kyushu (formerly Japan National Railways). Then, in 1986, the No. 2 Line was extended to Kaizuka, which created a connection with the Nishitetsu Kaizuka Line (formerly the Nishitetsu Miyajidake Line). Next, in 1993, service between Hakata and Fukuoka Airport began, making access to and from the airport much more convenient by connecting Fukuoka Airport to the city center in about 5 minutes.
The newest of the planned three lines is the Nanakuma Line, which connects Hashimoto to Tenjin-Minami. Considering construction costs and other factors, this line uses a so-called mini-subway with smaller tunnels and cars than the two older lines. Since this is a magnet-driven iron-wheeled linear motor subway, it is quieter and smoother and generates less noise than conventional subways. The Nanakuma Line opened in 2005, thereby improving access from the southwestern part of the city to downtown.
The new extension on the Nanakuma Line will connect Tenjin-Minami to Hakata, with a new station, Kushida Shrine Station, in between. Each station has a logo related to its neighborhood. The logo for the new Kushida Shrine Station is a combination of the Kushida Shrine’s massive gingko tree and kakinawa, the ropes that runners use when carrying the floats in the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. Riders should be aware that, with this extension, discounted transfers between the Nanakuma Line (Tenjin-Minami) and the Airport Line (Tenjin) will be eliminated and will now be available at Hakata Station.