Tokyo’s Color Palette

Last weekend Tokyo was hit by the most snow 45 years. All the familiar sights of Tokyo were suddenly turned completely white. It was a magic transformation. But hang on. What color is Tokyo anyway? Well, when it comes to Shinjuku and Shibuya, you’d probably think it was neon. And yet, amidst all the lights and brightness, what actually are Tokyo’s colors? We set out to gather the different color palettes of Tokyo…


The train network is something that covers the whole of the city and thus could be said to define its color scheme. Every train line has its own specific colors, making it easy to recognize and also giving each local area its own tone. Here we selected five main lines that run through Tokyo. Can you tell which ones they are?



Tokyo’s subway lines are pretty complicated and a nightmare to navigate for the uninitiated. Even if you’re a Tokyo resident, when you arrive at a station you don’t know, you always have to check the maps to see which gate and exit you should use. That’s why color is so important to help you out. Things might well be dark under the ground, but the subway lines are pretty colorful.

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Everywhere you look in a city, the roads are filled with taxis. Tokyo is no different, though we think how the various cab companies are separated by vehicle colors is pretty neat. This can be deceptive. While the traffic might sometimes appear to be busy with all kinds of cars, they actually they are all taxis!


Convenience Stores

Wherever you go, there are bound to be vending machines and convenience stores. Each chain has its own “look”, which means a logo and certain colors.



Likely the most common eatery you can find on almost any street in Tokyo is a gyudon restaurant. Forget McDonald’s, the three main chains of beef bowl meals are the most representative examples of Japanese fast food. No surprises here, each has their own color, though the tone is pretty homogenous.