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): Narita Line
Average No. of Daily Passengers: 729
When I disembarked at Higashi-Abiko Station back in February it wasn’t the first time I’d visited there as I remember standing on the platform back in 2009 and feeling a little sad at the surprise news I’d just heard. More on that later.
It’s quite surprising to me that this station is unstaffed as I consider it to be quite close to Tokyo and it doesn’t look too different to any other stations in this part of Chiba Prefecture. Maybe it’s the absence of a station building! It has two quite long parallel side platforms connected by a level crossing, with a church in the background. There is a golf club on the platform sign because this station is presumably used by people playing golf at the nearby course.
Higashi-Abiko Station opened on 12th October 1950 and is located on the Narita Line which, as the name suggests, continues on to Narita but not the Airport. A change of train is necessary at Narita Station and from my memory trains to the airport are not that frequent! This unattended station is located 3.4 kilometers from the terminus at Abiko Station but some trains do continue on to Ueno Station in Tokyo.
When living and working abroad students, receptionists and friends tend to come and go quite regularly and you do get used to it but I really did not expect my best Americam friend Ethan, who I’d been on many snowboarding and theme park excursions with, to say he was leaving Japan back in 2009. I always thought that as he had a Japanese wife and child that he was a lifer or would at least be here longer than me! However, he broke the news he was going back to America and as I stood alone at this station awaiting my train I actually did start to feel sad. Still, I did get a snowboard out of it so it wasn’t all so bad!
When I was done with this station I decided to take the ten minute walk to the nearby Tennodai Station on the Joban Line which was far more convenient (in terms of more regular trains) for my next port of call which was Kashiwa Station where I then walked to Hitachi-Dai Stadium to see Kashiwa Reysol beat Yokohama F. Marinos 3-1 in an entertaining J-League match.
Click on the following links for previous ‘Unstaffed Stations of Japan’ posts…