We’ve seen a lot of unusual train stations in Japan over the years. Over in Gunma, there’s a station where persimmons hang above the platform, and over in Nagano, there’s the country’s only platform vineyard.
Now, we’ve found another unusual train station, this time in Yamaguchi Prefecture, where there are bright red torii gates standing above the tracks.
The mysterious sight first came to everyone’s attention in March last year, when Twitter user @Alpino305 snapped a couple of photos of the gates at the station and shared them online.
According to @Alpino305, the gates, located at Nagatoshi Station, were set up by West Japan Railway Company’s Nagato Railway Department on 14 March 2020.
There are 20 gates on the tracks here, set up when the Nagato/Hagi Liner starting operating between Nagato City and Higashi-Hagi Station on the Sanin Main Line. The torii are placed 1.5 meters apart and increase in height by three-centimeter increments in order to create a 3-D effect in a short space.
If you’re wondering how the gates are able to stay in place on what looks to be a working line beside the platform, don’t worry — the track actually lies alongside platform O, which is not currently in operation. Instead of abolishing the track, the company decided to put it to good use by creating a site of interest for visitors, taking its inspiration from nearby Motonosumi Shrine, one of the area’s most famous tourist sites
▼ Motonosumi Shrine is well-known for its series of stunning vermillion torii gates by the sea. The shrine is a 26-30 minute drive from Nagatoshi Station.
While regular-sized trains are unable to pass through the gates at Nagatoshi Station, it’s just the right size for small track-inspection trolleys to pass through, which would make a fun ride for children if they were ever looking to create an activity to draw visitors at events.
For now, the torii gates at the station have an extra aura of mystery surrounding them, given that the station is largely free of commuters due to travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
The torii gates aren’t going anywhere, though, so once it’s safe to travel again, be sure to mark this spot on your itinerary for your next off-the-beaten path trip to Yamaguchi, along with these top spots to eat and stay in the area.
Sources: Twitter/@k_radio6924, Twitter/@Alpino305 via Yamaguchi Shimbun, Net Lab
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