May 21, 13 | Takako Chiba
"JR Asahikawa Station" - The concept behind the station on the river.
One of Hokkaido's newest attractions is located in its second largest city. The new JR Asahikawa Station is a beautiful new building which serves as the doorway to central Hokkaido.
This station building, which had its grand opening in November of 2011, was built to show off the Chubestu River, which flows just outside the southern exit of the building.
Asahikawa serves as a transfer point for Furano or Sounkyo bound visitors and it also sports attractions of its own, such as the Asahiyama Zoo. It's safe to say that visitors to the area are increasing, and the new station building is sure to bring its fair share.
The station's interior features wood grown in Asahikawa, and the use of wood in a station building is quite a peculiar trait indeed!
If you're worried how such a massive building could be supported by just lumber, fear not! The support pillars are actually made of concrete, specially modified to retain a wood-grain design and texture.
▲The station building has a refreshing open-air feeling.
The handrails, window frames, benches, and walls are all made with wood. Because the building is new, the smell of freshly cut wood still lingers in the air!
As time goes by the color of the wood will gradually deepen changing the atmosphere of the building as it does. The chance to actually look forward to a building getting older, especially a station building, is rare indeed!
▲Just inside the gates, the warmth of the wooden interior helps calm hurried passengers.
Past the ticket machines, in the stations interior, name engraved boards line the walls. This was done as part of the "Asahikawa Name Engraving Project" and includes the 10,000 names of the participants.
The station also displays works of art representative of the city.
▲The station worker's nametags are also made of wood..
The pillars located on the stations train platforms are also quite unique. These four-tined load-bearing pillars seem much like branches extending from the trunks of a tree.
This truly drives home the image of nature, and the "trees" that originally helped Asahikawa thrive.
The view of the station from outside is also spectacular, dusk is one of the best times to enjoy the sight. I recommend viewing the station from the south, by the Chubestu River.
As the sun begins to set the glass building is lit from inside and, on the platforms above, the pillars make an exceptional sight as they are illuminated. When dusk finally arrives, a large clock mounted on the wall of the building is lit up, along with the "JR Asahikawa" logo!
▲A view of the station from the river.
Although the station is officially open, the north and south entrances are still under construction. Because of this, when visiting the station you may see construction sites here and there. As time goes by the station will change, allowing a new experience each visit!
Parking, available outside the northern entrance, has been completed, but the new bus station is still being built. It is expected to open sometime this year.
Outside the southern entrance, plans are underway to build the "North Saito Garden." This area will be a place to rest from your travels and enjoy the riverbed when completed.
If you have the chance to travel through Asahikawa this year, be sure to make some time to explore the new station and its surroundings!
■JR旭川駅 (JR Asahikawa Station)
http://www.jrasahi.co.jp/index.htm (English Available!)
(Miyashitadori 8-Chome, Asahikawa)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
Photographs provided by 諏訪写真事務所.