In any other country, such things like gas tanks would just be left in their natural state. However, that’s not always the way in Japan where some of the gas companies like to spruce them up a bit. Other decorated ones around the country (that I know of) include a football in Kiryū (Gunma prefecture), a peach in Akaiwa (Okayama prefecture), a smiley face mascot in Shibata (Niigata prefecture) and a few others have been garnished with artwork usually relating to the area they are based in. Click here to see a picture gallery of them all.
Summer watermelons are the speciality of an area in Iwate prefecture called Takizawa and that is supposedly the reason why this gas tank has been decorated to look exactly like the big fruit. However, the two things are actually 100 kilometres apart! I’ve been told that there are two other watermelon tanks like this in Japan with Kumamoto and Tomisato in Chiba playing host to them.
Car is by far the best way to get to the gas tank but I chose to do it on foot. It was a really hot morning too! From Morioka it was just seven minutes (290 yen) to Kuriyagawa Station on the on the Iwate Ginga Tetsudo Line and the train I took was on platform 0. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always a fan of such a platform as it’s one of those magical and mystical things that always makes me take note. It’s not quite Harry Potter-like but is enough of a rarity for me to appreciate it even though I’ve seen a few of them now on my travels around Japan.
It took me about 55 minutes on foot one way from Kuriyagawa Station. It’s a fairly simple walk too as it really only involves two roads once you’ve hit the main road after a very short walk from the station. I feel this deserves a full post of its own due to the effort I put in getting there to just take a photo or ten! It’s basically a one-picture place but I have tried my best to cover it from as many different angles as possible although they all look pretty much the same!
The dimensions of this gas tank are unknown but gas tanks are typically way more than 15 metres in diameter which is as accurate as I can be! Who cares anyway! It’s huge, it looks like a watermelon and it’s an only-in-Japan phenomenon! That’s all you need to know!
Back at Morioka Station I took a bus nearly 150 kilometres further north to Hirosaki (3000 yen) and typically we drove right past the huge watermelon thing! I had to laugh but had no regrets at all as I couldn’t have snapped too good a picture from the bus!
Click here to read ‘A Taste Of Jar Jar In Morioka (Iwate)’