The Fukuoka City Subway system is unique in that each station has its own symbol, a depiction showing something characteristic about the district or area that station is in. Continuing on from previous posts covering the symbols of the Kuko Line and Hazozaki Line, I explain the symbols along the Nanakuma Line, Fukuoka’s newest subway line (opened in 2005) that connects the city center of Tenjin to southern and western parts of town.
Descriptions are based on Japanese descriptions by the Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau, and romanizations of station names are the same as the official romanizations.
Formerly, this area was home to Momiji Hachimangu Shrine (momiji means “maple tree”). The design is based on a combination of maple leaves and Mt. Morimeshi, which can be seen nearby.
A firefly was chosen as the design theme, an image that symbolizes the nearby Muromi River.
The name of this area (Kamo) is derived from nearby Kamo Shrine. One of this shrine’s legends features a catfish, which is the motif for this station symbol’s design.
The symbol’s design is based on the camellias that float down the Tsubaki Suiro waterway, which is used to draw water from Shiibagawa River for use in nearby farmland.
This simple design features an ume plum tree flower and bud to represent the station’s name (Umebayashi means “stand of ume plum trees”).
Based on the Fukuoka University (“Fukudai” for short) fight song line “Nanakuma Tonbi” (“Nanakuma Black Kites”), a Black Kite (bird) is depicted in the station symbol as it would be on a school cap.
The ancient name “Nanaguruma” (七車), meaning “seven carts,” is the origin of the modern area name Nanakuma. The station symbol features seven cart wheels arranged in a geometric fashion.
The character “Kana” (金) from “Kanayama” is shown in a simplified, triangular form, with a rainbow in front of it to represent hope.
This is thought to have once been a production center for green tea. The symbol design takes the shoot of a tea plant as its motif.
The overhead Befu Ohashi Bridge is combined with clouds floating in the sky in this design. The shape of the bridge is based on the character “he” (へ) in “Befu” (“he” is pronounced in more aspirated form as “be” in this case).
The lush, green pine trees this area has long been known for are used as the theme for this station symbol (Ropponmatsu means “six pine trees”).
The motif of this station symbol is the name Sakurazaka (“cherry blossom hill”) and the many cherry trees in the vicinity. The image shows cherry blossom petals dancing in the wind during the period of full bloom.
Because the Fukuoka City Zoological Garden is located just up Josui-dori, a boulevard connecting it with this station, an elephant and a flower were used as the central theme for this symbol design.
Long ago, herb gardens were cultivated and seyakuin medical treatment facilities for the poor were set up in this area, which is where the area name Yakuin comes from. A mortar and pestel, used for making medicine, are used as the design theme for this station symbol.
Streetcars once passed along this boulevard, and in commemoration of the great achievements of Watanabe, a key player in streetcar-related business operations, the boulevard itself was named Watanabe-dori (Watanabe Boulevard.). A streetcar was chosen as the symbol’s design motif.
This symbol depicts a pair of adorable children playing, singing the line Tenjinsama no hosomichi jaa (“this is the narrow pathway to the Tenjin Shrine”) from the traditional children’s tune Toryanse. (This familiar tune is used at crosswalks throughout Fukuoka and other parts of Japan. Follow this link to hear one version of the song.)