One of the most important deciding factors when it comes to choosing a hotel in Japan is its distance from the station. The closer you are to a rail hub, the better, as it means you won’t have to carry heavy luggage far, and you’ll have a number of transport and dining options right at your doorstep.
If you’re a true fan of Japanese trains, though, you’ll want to be as close to a station as possible, and for that, we’ve found the perfect hotel, where guests can close their eyes at night to the comforting clickety-clack of the rails and open their eyes to a view of them upon rising in the morning.
▼ The hotel is located inside the Tagawa Ita Station building in Fukuoka.
The Tagawa Ita Station Hotel is unusual in that it’s approximately zero minutes away from the station. In fact, it takes you just seconds to get from the platform to the hotel itself, with its lobby located on the second floor, accessible by stairs or elevator.
The station itself was renovated in 2018, and the hotel had its grand opening just last month, so this is one of the cleanest and newest places you can stay in the area.
The entrance to the hotel acts like the doors to a train carriage, with “Romango” (“Romance Car“) written in a retro rail-type font on a bright red sign above the doorway.
Despite being fully renovated, the station and the hotel itself retains a lot of traditional old-world charm, with retro wallpaper, carpet and light fittings recreating the interior of a classy train from the Showa period (1926-1989).
▼ The doors are designed to look like entrances to private cabins as well.
One thing guests should be aware of when making a booking at this hotel is the fact that the view from the rooms can be very different, depending on which side of the hotel you stay. If you end up in rooms 8, 9, 10, or 11, you’ll have a view of the street.
Which is perfectly fine if you want to be away from the noise of the passing trains and don’t mind a view of the quiet roads outside the station.
However, if you really want to enjoy a unique experience, you’ll want to book yourself into one of the rooms from 1-5, as this is where you’ll get to see this.
That’s right — directly outside the windows of these rooms are the station tracks, which come with a direct view of the platform, and the trains as they come through.
The hotel has been dubbed “the closest hotel to a train station platform in Japan“, and it’s easy to see why. With your bed just meters away from the tracks, the trains go right by your room, and you can even open your window to feel even closer to the carriages.
While the unusual view is enough of a drawcard on its own, the compact rooms are equally attractive, accommodating one to four people, depending on your requirements.
Guests can use the shared bathroom and kitchen facilities, which are all spotless and well-maintained.
The hotel provides each guest with a generous amount of free goods for them to use during their stay, including bath, body and face towels, pajamas, slippers, a toothbrush, hairbrush, razor, and even a set of earphones and earplugs, for those who might not like the sound of trains outside the window.
And with three different beds to choose from in this particular trackside room, you can either sleep right next to the trains by the window, or shelter inside the bunk bed area, which offers a little more peace and privacy.
For those who do like the comforting sound of trains, you’ll be lulled to sleep by their sweet lullaby, at least until the last train of the evening rolls by at 11:46 p.m. And when you wake in the morning, hopefully after the first train of the day at 5:42 a.m., you’ll be able to see just how close your room was to the railway tracks.
A one-night stay without meals at Tagawa Ita Station Hotel starts at just 2,200 yen per person, with prices varying according to season. Check in is from 3 p.m.-11 p.m., and checkout is at 10 a.m., which means you can relax in your room until a couple of minutes before your train departs, seeing as it’ll be right outside.
And if one night by the rails just isn’t enough, you can always check to see if there are any apartments available to rent in this building on top of a railway station, so you can live the rail life every day of the year.
Tagawa Ita Station Hotel / 田川伊田駅舎ホテル
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Tagawa-shi, Oaza Ita 2621-1
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