Little did I know when I visited the virtually abandoned Kokudō Station a few years ago that just a few stops further down the line were some other interesting stations, including one which you can only exit if you work for the company who own the station.
Take the Tsurumi Line bound for Umi-Shibaura and it will take just 11 minutes to be beside the sea. However, it should be noted that trains heading to this coastal station from Tsurumi are not as regular as Ōgimachi-bound ones so it`s definitely worth planning ahead.
I wasn`t the only one visiting this station either as there were about a dozen other people on the train too. It was a typically sweltering hot summers day in Kanagawa Prefecture when I stepped off the train (in mid-July) and was instantly next to the sea with sweeping views of the bay.
As you can see on the screenshot below, Umi Shibaura is located in Tokyo Bay just to the west of Kawasaki which is in itself just over the border from Tokyo. The Tsurumi Line is only about 10 kilometres in length and was originally built to service local workers commuting to the port and industrial area.
The only passengers who can actually exit the station (and on to the company grounds) are employees of Toshiba with valid ID cards. The area surrounding the station is the private property of Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corp. It is also impossible to access the station from the other side on foot or by car as it is guarded by security just after Shin Shibaura which is the next station on that particular branch of the Tsurumi Line.
Due to its status as “the station which you can never leave” it has become something of a tourist spot and in 1995 Toshiba renovated a small section of its property bordering the station and so Umi-Shiba Park is open for waiting passengers to enjoy the views and some leisure time.
Each train stops at this station for about 15-20 minutes before heading back to Tsurumi terminal which is sufficient enough time for passengers to enjoy the views and get the shots they want to get. There`s not too much time for sitting down and enjoying leisurely time in the park though unless you wait for the next train! I guess that certainly happens on New Years Day though when many people visit here to see the first sunrise of the year.
Umi-Shibaura Station consists of a solitary platform serving both inbound and outbound trains. It`s said that trains are not that often but when I looked at the timetable I was surprised to see they were more regular than expected. There are only really a couple of times in the day when there`s nothing for 90 minutes or so.
Having arrived on the platform at 9:05 am, it was time for me to hop back on board and leave just 12 minutes later to head back in the direction I`d came. It wasn`t to be the end of my Tsurumi Line adventures though!
Click here to read `The Virtually Abandoned Station Just Over The Border From Tokyo`
Click here to read `The Japanese Town Which Has It’s Own Local Rail Line`
Click here to read ‘The Complete Tour Of Katakana-Named Stations In Tokyo!’