When you first visit Okayama, one of the things you notice will be the Street Car called Romen Densha (electric street car or tram). This street car runs between Okayama Station and Higashiyama or Seikibashi. It might not seem familiar to you but it is handy for those travelling to Okayama.
There are some basic rules when you ride a street car. When you get on, at most of the stops, only the back door will open so remember to get on via the back door. If you have an Iccoca or Hareca (prepaid card) you have to touch the IC card reader which is located at the lower part of a machine situated at the door entrance.
If you want to pay by cash, you don’t have to do anything until you exit. If however you are riding within the 100 yen area, you need to take ticket to prove where you got onto the street car. Okayama Station, Nishigawa Ryokudo Kouen, Shirosita, Kenchou-douri and Yubinkyokumae are 100 yen areas and if you go or come from other stops it will cost you 140 yen. When you want to get off, you have to press the button to let the driver know that you want to get off. Names of the stops are announced in English but since this car is really loud most of the time, you might need to concentrate to hear the announcement.
If you have a prepaid card card, you have to touch the reader when you get off. If you want to pay by cash, you just drop the money into the box. If you are not sure how to pay, you can always ask the driver and they will tell you.
There are several different designs for these street cars such as Momo, Tama, Kuro, and the regular ones with company advertisement. Momo (peach) is the one with two cars. It is the newest design of these cars and it looks really modern. Tama (ball), I have never seen inside but on the outside, there are cute drawings of cats. Kuro (black) is the retro style car and painted in black just like it’s name. Since it is in black, Kuro doesn’t run during summer time since it gets too hot because of it’s color.
Street cars only cover a small area in central Okayama city, but if you have the time please take a ride. You can also buy a 1 day pass for 400 yen if you want to try riding different cars and visit many places. They also have Friday night wine car which you can enjoy wine and food in the car which shows you around Okayama city for 2 hours. When you visit central Okayama city, you should differently try it.