While there are no official records stating where the country’s narrowest train station platform is, railway otaku, the unofficial experts on all things train-related, say that claim to fame goes to Nakatsu Station at Osaka.
The platform at this train station is so unusual it often draws attention online, and after hearing the buzz about how small it was, we were curious to see it for ourselves.
▼ Nakatsu Station is operated by Hankyu Railway.
We headed out to Nakatsu Station, walking from Osaka’s central Umeda Station in about 10 minutes, and purchased a ticket for a train back to Umeda for 160 yen. With the trains located upstairs, we headed up to platform three and four and when our eyes met the platform, we saw a space much smaller than even we’d imagined.
In Japan, commuters are asked to stand behind the yellow lines, or “braille blocks”, on the platform. The rules at this station are no different, with a thin, narrow sign on one of the pillars asking people to “please stand inside the yellow braille blocks”.
▼ Interesting decision to place the sign next to a water fountain that takes up practically all the space inside the yellow lines.
Taking out a tape measure, we discovered the space between the lines at its widest point measures in at 38 centimeters. Thankfully, this station doesn’t get too crowded at rush hour, because that’s just enough room for one person to stand in.
Despite commuters being required to stand behind the yellow lines for safety, there are quite a few obstacles on this narrow path along the platform. Aside from the water fountain, there was also a trash can.
And a metal bench rest, or “rear supporter”, which allows people to rest their rears and take some weight off their legs while they wait for their train.
Then there are some bars that don’t even allow you to stand between the lines, and the braille blocks then merge into one like a flowing river, where the concept of “inside” and “outside” the yellow blocks eventually disappears.
After walking along the platform, we returned to the centre and waited for the Umeda-bound train on the number 4 side of the platform. As soon as it pulled into the station, we took in a sharp breath as it felt much nearer than usual, and kind of dangerous.
If you’d like to see the platform for yourself, be sure to visit Nakatsu Station on the Hankyu Line, and don’t confuse it with the underground Nakatsu Station on the Midosuji Line.
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