Think of train stations in Japan and the mighty Shinjuku station is sure to come to mind for many people. That is the world’s busiest train station, and Japan monopolises the top 50 list with only five of them not in this country. However, at the other end of the scale are some tiny stations which are usually unstaffed and used by very few commuters.
Line(s): Hachikō Line
Average No. of Daily Passengers: 89
Take the Tobu Toju Line from Ikebukuro all the way north up to Ogawamachi (TJ33) in Saitama, change to the JR Hachiko Line, and four stops on is this station which is just one letter away from being the name of a legendary Star Wars character! For the record, there sadly isn`t a Yoda Station in Japan but there is actually a town called Yōda in Fujisawa (Kanagawa)!
Yodo Station in Yorii has been open since January 1933 but it`s waiting room building is far more modern having been completed in October 2012. The architecture is pretty impressive by station standards and has a nice spacious interior which is protected from the weather.
The station sign on the exterior (below) is in the shape of a katakuri (dog tooth violet) leaf as that is a common flower in the rural setting of the Yorii region.
It may be a small station but it has everything one may need such as toilet facilities, a car park, a bike shed, ticket machine, timetable information and a card reader. The station has been unstaffed since August 1983 and became Suica-compatible in 2002.
My last visit to Yodo was to see the relics of the Japanese army’s WWII military facility which is actually not that close but it is indeed the nearest station. I didn`t realise it until I arrived that I had actually been there before as it was the first stop on my seven gods tour in Saitama a few years ago. The picture below is from that previous visit in the heat of the summer when the stylish waiting room is covered slightly which is presumably to help keep the glaring sun out.
Click here to read ‘Unstaffed Stations Of Japan #1 – Kamiyagi’
Click here to read ‘Unstaffed Stations Of Japan #2 – Funamachi’
Click here to read ‘Unstaffed Stations Of Japan #3 – Inazusa’
I have been to a few unmanned stations in Japan (in Wakayama). I even had an acquaintance who preferred them…she didn’t buy a ticket and always told the attendant that she had gotten on at a closer station…that is, until she got caught.
Oh dear! It’s easy to understand why some people prefer them I guess!!
For the most part, I think that kind of thing is in the minority. Also, there were/are attendants on the train to deal with people who get on.
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