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Title: Kitaca  
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Subject: Manaca, JR Hokkaido Bus Company, Japan Railways Group, Japan Freight Railway Company, Twilight Express
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Normal unregistered Kitaca (on top) and the debut memorial Kitaca (on bottom)
Ticket gates with Kitaca readers at Hassamu-Chūō Station, Sapporo

Kitaca (キタカ Kitaka) is a rechargeable contactless smart card ticketing system for public transport in Sapporo, Japan. Hokkaidō Railway Company (JR Hokkaidō) introduced the system from October 25 2008. Its name means "the card of north ( kita)", while 北 is also the first character of Hokkaidō (北海道). Like other electronic fare collection systems in Japan, the card uses RFID technology developed by Sony corporation known as FeliCa. The card has an official mascot of Ezo momonga (Pteromys volans orii), a kind of flying squirrel found in Hokkaidō. The mascot is designed by Sora, an illustrator who lives in Sapporo. [1]

Usable area

55 stations in Sapporo area, including unmanned stations, accept Kitaca.

Types of cards

  • Unregistered Kitaca
  • Registered Kitaca: Needs a registration. The card can be reissued when lost.
  • Kitaca commuter pass: Needs a registration.

Credit card function is also considered. North Pacific Bank, the largest local bank of Hokkaidō, considers to include Kitaca's functions to its credit card Clover.

A plan to introduce an Osaifu-Keitai compliant mobile payment system was cancelled due to the cost. [2]

Future integrations

The card will have an integration service with JR East's Suica from spring 2009, including its electronic money function. [3]

The service with SAPICA, a smart card system introduced by Sapporo City Transportation Bureau from January 2009, was initially considered, but they decided to introduce the different systems because of the technical and financial difficulties. However, the two operators hope to start an integration service in future. [4]


  1. ^ (Japanese) 北のカード「Kitaca」vol.4〜「エゾモモンガ」の生みの親〜 (Northern card "Kitaca" vol.4, the crator of the "Ezo momonga"), from, retrieved on October 26, 2008.
  2. ^ Hokkaidō Shimbun, October 16 2008
  3. ^ (Japanese) Official press release by JR Hokkaidō, December 12 2007.
  4. ^ (Japanese) JR北海道のICカード乗車券「Kitaca」が10月25日にスタート (JR Hokkaidō's IC card ticket "Kitaca" starts on October 25) by BB Watch, October 25 2008.

External links

  • (Japanese) Official website by JR Hokkaidō
  • (Japanese) Official press release by JR Hokkaidō
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