July 19, 16 | nobu Kawashima
Bakkai Station - The northernmost train station in Japan
Bakkai Station in JR Soya Line is the northernmost train station in Japan. It is located in Wakkanai City, and the station is an unstaffed station. The wooden architecture built long ago has experienced lots of snow and winds, creating a nostalgic atmosphere. The station was used as a location for making films and TV dramas many times. Also, lots of train maniac visit here to have a glance of this old station.
The wooden station building is built in Taisho eraBakkai station is two stops before Wakkanai station, and it is the northernmost unstaffed train station in Japan. It is not as attractive as the northernmost train station in Japan, Wakkanai station, but still, there are many travelers visit this the unstaffed station as well.
▲The station building stands by the platform going to Wakkanai
The station opened in 1924; the building has not been rebuilt since then. Some repairs have been done, but this building leaves the nostalgic atmosphere and handcrafted texture. If a steam locomotive is running here, I have a feeling that it will be so photogenic.
▲The door is two layers to avoid wind and snow getting in.
▲The sign on the platform is made with small pieces of the shell if you look closely.
Five trains each way stop Bakkai stationOnly local trains stop at Bakkai station. (as of September 2015) Five trains each way come to Bakkai station every day.
The local train going Wakkanai came to rainy Bakkai station.
▲The local train which was going to Wakkani entered the platform of Bakkai station.
The one car local train arrived.
The sound of engines of train and announcement that it is a one-man car repeatedly echoed in this quiet unstaffed station that only the sound of rain could be heard.
There were some people on the train, but no one was here at the station. No one got on, and no one got off. The train left the station quietly.
▲The sound of the train got small gradually and disappeared into the field.
I noticed there only a few houses around Bakkai station. Most of the places are fields with bamboos and pasture lands.
The village of Bakkai is by the ocean, 1.5 kilometers away from the station. Recently the area, especially Bakkai port, became famous to travelers as a place to watch groups of harbor seals. The atmosphere is opposite of that of the station.
The northernmost unstaffed station has people’s warmthThe station is away from the village and unstaffed, but I could feel people’s warmth.
▲Beautiful flowers lied along the platform.
The station is maintained beautifully. The bright waiting area with red and white painting, flowers along the platform and cushions put on the bench. The heart of hospitality is around everywhere in this station.
▲There were cushions on the bench in the waiting area.
Bakkai station was used as a location for filming “Antarctica (Nankyoku Monogatari)” (starring Ken Takakura) or “Shoujo ni Nani ga Okotta ka” (starring Kyoto Koizumi). Bakkai station attracts not only train fans because it is the northernmost station but also film fans because it was a location site.
A notebook travelers write their comments was in the waiting area. Probably some visitors prepared for other visitors.
▲Not only Japanese but also there were many writings by Taiwanese or Singaporean.
As I looked at the comments from people all over the world, I could not stop imagining what kind of travel those people do, or people who have similar sensibility from me.
▲Old but well maintained station building.
The unstaffed station with nostalgic atmosphere. Bakkai station is a must-stop spot if you are going to the northernmost of Japan. However, the number of trains is very limited so be careful of time if you visit by train.
Photo, text / Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer nobu Kawashima
* All photos are taken under permission of JR Hokkaido Asahikawa Branch