One-Coin Trolley Ride: Kochi’s Shortcut to Downtown

By Merrie and Taichi

It is a bright and sunny Sunday morning. White, fluffy clouds drifted across the sky, along with the sun beaming through. A brief 5 minutes under the nice weather and the tram arrives. Surprisingly, the tram is crowded, filled with mostly older adults, glistening with people’s excitement under the nice weather, as if they are going out for that sole purpose. Numerous brochures stick on top of the tram ceiling and grab handles moving back and forth settled above the longitudinal seating. Windows are installed on all sides, and the ends of the seats are near the card tap-and-go machines with a silver color coating that could also receive coins. A girl with a card in hand, coffee in the other, taps confidently, followed by a “ding!” and a green light.

The DESUCA card, which only can be find in Kochi Prefecture, Japan

The card that she used is an IC card and can be used widely in Kochi Prefecture and was unveiled to the public for the first time on September 23rd, 2008, under the Tosaden Company. To one’s surprise, Kochi Prefecture’s tram is conducting a campaign called “One Coin Day.”

One Coin Day campaign started on November 3rd, 2022, until January 29th, 2023, and only includes Sundays and public holidays. The tram cost during this One Coin Day campaign is 10 yen by IC card, 100 yen, and 50 yen for children by cash.

The girl proceeds to look around before leaving and notices a banner with a picture of 10-yen and 100-yen coins. “I only paid 10 yen today,” said a girl who has been an IC card user for quite some time. There is no limit to one’s card use in one day. It is possible to reach each end of the stations with only 20 yen in total in a day with an IC card and 200 yen in total with coins.

“I wish to help increase the users of public transportation around the Kochi Prefecture,” said Takehiko Hinoguchi, who works under the Tosaden company “since public transportation helps people who do not have any access to private transportation have ways to reach their destinations faster.”

One-Coin Day Campaign notice

The primary purpose of this One Coin Day campaign is to increase public transportation use and environmental conservation. According to the One Coin Day campaign website,, to conserve exhaust emissions and resources in Kochi Prefecture, transportation is scarce using trains that run a fixed number of times instead of using cars as the primary means of transportation. The CO2 reduction compared to private transport is 0.152kg per 1km tram ride and about 0.094kg per 1km bus ride.

Refraining from driving 8 kilometers round trip twice a week can help reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to 13 cedar trees by approximately 184 kilograms CO2 per year, as a 50-year-old cedar tree can absorb about 14 kilograms of CO2 per year. If refraining from driving is out of the question, gentle acceleration and the use of an idle stop system can also help reduce CO2 emissions equivalent to 9 cedar trees per year and 125 kilograms of CO2 per four years.

After learning about this One Coin Day campaign, the girl takes on the advantage of the One Coin Day campaign and rides the tram. This act supports the mobility of the citizens and their fulfilling lives. Although few people may have a solid reason for using the card besides the low-cost ride, it is a definite fact that it is helping the economy and environmental conservation.

Exit tap-and-go card machine

It is Sunday, and a lady with a big smile on her face talks to a person beside her, “I do not have to bike today.” She seems to be going to the market near one of the tram stations. Her happiness is undeniable; it seems to radiate the air like the glittering sea water when the sun’s rays hit. The obvious enjoyment of life puts a smile on everyone’s face. She only paid 10 yen for her ride of 16 stops.

“We do not have a target of who can participate in this One Coin Day campaign. I hope everyone who lives or is staying in Kochi has easy and low-cost mobility,” said Hinoguchi.

As good as it sounds, there is some feedback from the tram users regarding this One Coin Day Campaign.

“Almost everyone participating in this campaign feels it is most helpful, especially the older adults who feel helped out with personal errands on the weekends,” added Hinoguchi.

“As walk miles back and forth is avoidable.”

“On the other hand, weekend workers feel troubled by the reduced availability of seats.”

It is essential to build a good-spirited community. A happy, dynamic community will have strong social relationships that provide a sense of belonging and obligation to help others. There is no doubt that since the campaign started, there have been more and more people seen inside the tram every Sunday, being, in fact, a very delightful view for the environment.

Entrance tap-and-go card machine

The One Coin Day campaign is a limited-time campaign, and people hope for a similar one in the future. “Do you have any plans to run a campaign after 2023 to reduce the price of Sundays and national holidays as you do now?” the girl asked.

“There might be none in this short while because of the lack of funds. The Kochi Prefectural government supports this campaign, and it takes a lot of money to proceed until the end.”

“What a bummer! I like this campaign idea a lot. I hope you guys have a similar campaign in the future along with great purposes!”

“I am delighted and may the feelings be mutual to all.” Said Hinoguchi with a gentle smile full of warmth and empathy.

While the sound of the rumbling train tracks, and screeching brakes, fill the city center blending with small chatters between the older adults, she arrives at the next stop. She walks over to the card tap machine; the little thing people tap tells her is whether it is allowed to come up and come down, “Only 10 yen?” she asks. “Yes! Since it is Sunday, the fee is 10 yen. Thank you for using the DESUCA card,” says the tram conductor.

Leaving the tram in a hurry for the umpteenth time, her face radiates interest and curiosity.

“Ideas are cheap. Ideas are easy. Ideas are common. Everybody has ideas. Execution is all that matters.”

-Casey Neistat, a filmmaker and a self-made success today.


  1. What a fantastic campaign! I was sorry to hear that it had already been over, but I hope a simmilar campaign would be conducted in the near future.


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