Located in the city of Yokohama’s Izumi Ward, Yumegaoka Station is the least-used station on the Sotetsu Line. It’s in a largely undeveloped part of town, and only about 2,200 people pass through the gates on an average day.
Because of that, it wouldn’t be at all weird if Yumegaoka, like a lot of Japan’s smaller stations, was little more than an attendant booth and a simple concrete slab. Instead, it looks some sort of semi-abandoned space station.
Opened in 1999, the visual goal for the station was a clean, sleek design evocative of clear water. The architects chose to go about that by building a long tube of curved blue girders and encasing sections of the structure in glass.
Another unique feature is that there are no large central pillars on the platform, so if you’re looking forward as the train pulls away form the station, it looks like you’re about to jump to light speed in a sci-fi movie.
Yumegaoka translates to “Dream Hill,” but that’s not the preexisting name of the surrounding area. Sagami Railway, operator of the Sotetsu Line, simply wanted a positive, happy-sounding name, which was also the logic behind Kibogaoka, “Hope Hill,” another station on the line.
Because of that, train tickets to/from Yumegaoka and Kibogaoka have become popular good luck charms, since they’re “a ticket of hope and dreams.” They’re especially in demand among students taking high school or college entrance exams, and Yumegaoka Station actually sells special Yumegaoka-to-Kibogaoka tickets, for 270 yen, made of sturdier paper stock, so that the bearer’s hopes and dreams won’t become tattered.
Somewhat similar to the station on Japan’s shortest train line that we visited a while back, there can be an almost palpable emptiness to Yumegaoka Station, and it sometimes serves as a photo shoot location, such as when J-pop singer Aimyon used it for the cover of her single “Haru no Hi.”
That’s likely to change, though, as there’s a commercial development planned for the empty space in front of the station, slated to open in 2023. Until then, though, visitors can still enjoy Yumegaoka’s unique atmosphere of rustic surroundings and retro-future architecture.
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