There are 43 stations in Japan that have a platform zero. They are dotted around the whole country with just one or two in 23 of the country’s 47 prefectures. Yamaguchi is the king with five stations but in second place is Niigata with a very respectable four platform zeros. However, nothing could have been further from my mind before entering this northern prefecture for the first time.
Once I had returned from the Tunnel of Light to Echigo-Yuzawa I was just killing time really when I noticed a platform zero. I hadn’t even thought about such a thing, and luckily had a bit of time to get some photos of this platform which is used for Hokuhoku Line trains.
As I boarded the train to take me all the way to Takada station in Jōetsu, I quickly checked my list of all the platform zeros in Japan (added again at the foot of this post) and saw there were three more, and amazingly all of them were on the routes I’d be going. I now had a new mission to complete on what was already an overly congested schedule.
The one in Kashiwazaki the following evening was on the line I was using but just getting off and then reboarding the next train would use up an hour of time as the trains in Niigata are less frequent than I’m used to it Tokyo. For the record, this platform supplies trains on the Echigo Line which runs eastwards along the Sea of Japan coastline for 84 kilometres (52 miles) to Niigata station.
Day three in Niigata began with a short stop at Higashi-Sanjō en-route to Yashiroda (and the dinosaur-shaped building!) which was about 20 minutes further along the JR Shin-Etsu Line. The Yahiko Line goes to a village in Yahiko 17.4 kilometres away.
A week or two before my trip, I had arranged to meet a friend at Shibata station (on the Hakushin Line which runs to Niigata) when such a mission was not on my mind. It was a slice of luck that the fourth and final platform zero was there so was I was able to kill two birds with one stone.
There’s something slightly mystical and Harry Potter-like about these platforms and one has to wonder why some stations have them whether it be because it’s been added on that particular side of Platform 1 or just because they began their numbering from zero! I doubt if I’ll ever visit all of them but certainly hope to tick a few more off as the years go by!
- As mentioned earlier, here is the complete list of stations that have a platform zero. Let me know of any mistakes or omissions…
Kashiwazaki, Echigoyuzawa, Shibata & Higashi-Sanjo (Niigata)
Sannomiya & Himeji (Hyogo)
Suzumeda, Nagatoshi, Iwakuni, Shin-Yamaguchi & Ube (Yamaguchi)
Nagasaki, Haiki & Ishaya (Nagasaki)
Naruto & Nikenya (Tokushima)
Morioka, Kitakami & Kuriyagawa (Iwate)
Tatsuno, Okaya & Matsumoto (Nagano)
Sawara & Yotsukaido (Chiba)
Kumamoto & Yatsushiro (Kumamoto)
Gobo & Shirahama (Wakayama)
Tagawagotoji & Haruda (Fukuoka)
Nippori & Ayase (Tokyo)
Click here to read ‘#WeStopAtNothing! Platform Zeros In Japan, Z Stations In Tokyo & The Opening Of A New Yamanote Line Station’
Click here to read ‘The Complete Tour Of Katakana-Named Stations In Tokyo’
Click here to read ‘Cycling The Yamanote Line’
Click here to read ‘Cycling The A-Z Of Tokyo Stations’