The beauty of taking trains in and around Tokyo is that you never have to wait too long if you miss your intended train. That is definitely not the case though at this station just over the border from Tokyo where very few trains arrive and depart each day.
It is said that any nearby residents arriving at this station in Kawasaki at 9am probably have to give up on reaching civilisation that day. Whilst there`s an element of truth to that it`s not so accurate as it`s a fairly short distance on foot to the next station which does have more regular trains throughout the day. I know this as that`s how I arrived at Ōkawa Station on a typically sweltering hot summers day in Kanagawa Prefecture in mid-July having been to Umi-Shibaura Station (a.k.a. the station by the sea which you cannot exit!) earlier that morning.
The real authentic way to arrive would`ve been via train but I took the easier option in terms of planning and walked for 12 minutes from Musashi-Shiraishi Station on the Tsurumi Line which was originally built to service local workers commuting to this port and industrial area in Tokyo Bay. The line has two short branches; one which goes to the aforementioned Umi-Shibaura and the other incorporates this station at Ōkawa. The total length of track is just under 10 kilometres.
With the track obscured by all the weeds and other plants, I didn`t instantly recognise this as a station. Likewise for the station building exterior which looked more like a cow shed, and had it not been for the JR signage I may not have believed it was the place I was looking for. One of the highlights inside was the timetable board.
As you can see below there are just nine trains a day, and they`re all during the morning and evening rush hours everyday with nothing between 08:51 and 17:29. At weekends the services are reduced even further with only two trains in the morning and the solitary evening one is ten hours later!
The line originally opened as a private freight railway in 1926 to serve the reclaimed, waterside industrial area near to Tsurumi that is now part of the Keihin Industrial area. Passenger services began in October 1930. The line was fairly prosperous in terms of passengers and freight until the 1960s when decline began to set in.
As with all the stations on this line there are no staff present and no ticket machines. It has been that way since March 1971.
The solitary platform serves a single track with a thousand passengers a day supposedly using it. Ōkawa is 5.1 km from the western terminus of the line at Tsurumi Station, and I guess the only way to truly experience this station is to enter and/or exit by train but I`m not sure if I`m really desperate for such an experience. Not for a while anyway!
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