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): Tsurumi Line
Average No. of Daily Passengers: 316
Neighbouring station Umi-Shibaura gets all the glory as the station which you just can’t exit (unless you work for Toshiba!) but the one other station on that branch of the line is my personal favourite and it is highly likely that you’ll have it all to yourself.
It would’ve been nice to go on foot from Umi-Shibaura but as that’s not possible I had to walk there from Asano which is the nearest station on the main line. It’s only ten minutes on foot and usually a much quicker option than waiting for the trains which are not so regular on this branch (the blue one in the photo below) of the Tsurumi Line.
Other than Tsurumi itself, every station on this industrial line in Kawasaki is unstaffed. Shin-Shibaura (JI51) Station, which has been open since June 1932, is home to fairly spacious building or maybe it just seems that way when it’s completely deserted!
It is located 3.9 kilometers from the terminus at Tsurumi Station and consists of two opposed side platforms serving two tracks which are connected by a level crossing where the vegetation is a little overgrown. That all adds to the slightly desolate appeal of it all for me!
This station is also primarily used by Toshiba employees as the Japanese electronics conglomerate owns all the land directly south of here. Other industrial works lie on the other side of the canal which is perhaps no surprise given that Kawasaki is Japan’s largest industrial city.
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. When the Japan National Railways (JNR) were privatised in April 1987 the station became operated by JR East.
Due to its status as “the station which you can never leave” Umi-Shibaura has become something of a tourist spot. That is the more famous place but if you have time after that then Shin-Shibaura has a more dystopian feel to it so I’d recommend getting off there and then walking the short distance north to the next station. Trains on this branch are not so common but they’re certainly more regular than a nearby station which has no trains at all for 8 hours in the daytime!
Click on the following links for previous ‘Unstaffed Stations of Japan’ posts…