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Kyu-Shirataki Station: Secluded Station Runs for only 1 Person

Kyu-Shirataki Station on the JR Hokkaido Sekihoku Main Line is being talked about in various countries. Originally, this line had few riders and there were talks of stopping service. However, they realized that a single high school girl was regularly riding and so they have been continuing the service since. People all over the world have been praising this decision. Kyu-Shirataki is an unmanned station used for nearly 70 years since the end of WWII in 1947, but it will finally stop once the girl graduates high school, which will be 3/26/2016.
*There are four stations with the Shirataki name: Kami-Shirataki, Shirataki, Kyu-Shirataki and Shimo-Shirataki.

A female student waiting for the train in the snow


The train runs as little as once a day.

There are actually a number of these stations with few riders that are on the brink of being discontinued. However, closing them, much like with Kyu-Shirataki, will mean eliminating the locals’ means of transportation, as small of a number as they are. In true Japanese spirit, many quietly keep services going. Some enthusiasts call these kinds of stations “secluded stations (hikyo eki)”. They’ve been secretly garnering attention as tourist spots.


A Part of the Secluded Stations

Many secluded stations can be seen along the Hokkaido and Iida (Aichi – Nagano) lines. Also, these secluded stations don’t just mean that they have few people who use them, but that they’re also considered conditions such as difficulty of access.

1. Koboro Station

Nickname: Japan’s most secluded station, Line: Muroran Main Line, Location: Hokkaido


2. Omori Station

Lines: Oigawa Railway, Location: Shizuoka


3. Kowada Station

Lines: Iida Line, Location: Shizuoka


4. Tamoto Station

Lines: Iida Line, Location: Nagano


5. Doai Station

Nickname: Mogura (mole) Station


Click here for details: 3 Tunnels Garnering Attention from Tourists

Even now there are still a number of secluded stations beyond the ones listed here. Unlike the big cities like Tokyo, in Japan the rural areas are seeing a major decrease in population. Regional revitalization is now a big problem and topic of discussion. Once we resolve our issue of being understaffed, I would like to travel around these secluded areas, sleeping there, and write articles on it.

Related: Shimonada Station: A Scenic Spot Visited by the Setting Sun

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