But people aren’t happy about tourists trespassing and littering while they get the perfect photo.

If you’ve ever seen the 2001 Studio Ghibli animated film Spirited Away, you’ll be able to recall one of the most magical moments from the movie, when the star of the film, Chihiro, sets out on a train ride that makes its way through shallow water on a set of submerged tracks.

It’s a warm and picturesque scene that stays with viewers long after watching the film, so if there’s any chance of recreating the scene in real life, fans are going to go to great lengths to experience it, and that’s exactly what’s been happening recently at Shimonada Station in Ehime Prefecture.

▼ Many like to believe that this station was the inspiration for the one in Spirited Away.


The likeness between Shimonada Station and the waterside train station in the Ghibli film is definitely impressive, but what has tourists flocking to the area is a set of submerged tracks nearby.


These tracks lead into the water, and look just like the ones Chihiro runs along to reach the station in the movie. However, the tracks at Shimonada are actually off-limits to the public, as they’re located inside a shipbuilding yard near the station.

According to the property owner, roughly 100 people have been visiting the site daily, leaving trash on the premises and trespassing on private property.

▼ The area looks more like a tourist site than a prohibited area.


Now the owner has taken to Facebook to alert everyone to the problem, and people have been sharing the message online, complete with photos showing the trash left behind and the no-entry signs on the property.

The message from the owner reads:

“Please share this. We are a shipbuilding yard. In no way is this any type of model for Spirited Away. It is neither a ‘hidden place’ nor a ‘healing place’. This is the place where we hoist up ships and repair them. The tracks are our work equipment. Would you be okay with people stepping on your work equipment? Would you be okay with 100 people coming to your house every day? Please. Please don’t come here anymore.”

As people continue to share the message online, the Meitetsu Tokoname Line, run by private railway operator Nagoya Railroad, came out to set everyone straight with this tweet on their official Twitter account.

“The inspiration for the train that appeared in Spirited Away is the Meitetsu Tokoname Line when it was flooded due to Typhoon Vera.
The face on the carriage body is incredibly similar to the Meitetsu train at that time.
Incidentally, this train was called “Imo-mushi”.


The similarities between the two trains is undeniable, and the flooding that happened in the aftermath of Typhoon Vera in 1959 made news around the country at the time, when Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki would’ve been 18 years old.

While we wait to see whether Miyazaki himself will make any statement to help the shipyard in their plight to stop trespassers on their grounds, Ghibli fans everywhere should take note of the message and stick to Shimonada Station for their photo shoots. Or travel to the Egawa Coast at Chiba, which is another watery Spirited Away train location.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Instagram/karunekoooo
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Oona on Twitter and Instagram for more Ghibli news from Japan!