One of the most unusual stations in the country, where you’re not allowed to exit the station, but you can visit a secret park by the platform. 

If there’s one thing we love here at SoraNews24, it’s a good train journey. Whether we’re travelling on a Shinkansen or using local trains to get from one end of the country to the other, there’s something magical about watching the world go by from inside a moving train, especially in Japan, where there are so many hidden treasures to discover along the way.

One of those treasures is located at Umi-Shibaura Station, in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, which is less than an hour away by train from Tokyo Station.

Umi-Shibaura Station can be accessed via the Tsurumi Line, a short line that starts at Tsurumi Station and heads out to the Keihin Industrial Zone. Umi-Shibaura sits at the end of the Umi-Shibaura branch line, seen second along from the bottom right in the diagram below.

What makes this particular station so special is the fact that it’s located on the grounds of Toshiba’s Keihin Product Operations. The only exit from the station is into the company’s grounds, so only Toshiba employees and invited visitors are allowed to enter and exit the station.

The sign below is a notice from the Umi-Shibaura Station Master, which states: “The Umi-Shibaura Station premises are private land. You cannot go out via the ticket gate. We request your understanding.

Still, there’s nothing stopping passengers from alighting on the platform to enjoy the view. And what a view it is, because once you walk down to the end of the platform…

▼ You can see it’s sitting right by the side of the water!

With the train on one side and the sea on the other, you really feel like you’ve been transported away to a different world, much like the one in Studio Ghibli’s anime film Spirited Away. In the movie, the main character Chihiro (aka Sen) takes a ride on a train that stops at a watery platform, and that’s exactly what this feels like, giving us the impression that we were going on a rail ride that floats upon water.

▼ The view is a little less nature-filled and more industrial, though, with steel mills and the Tokyo Gas plant across the way.

The view towards the right reveals the Yokohama Bay Bridge and the Tsurumi Tsubasa Bridge.

While passengers are advised not to exit the station, there’s a lovely little spot beside the platform, which is managed by Toshiba.

Called Umi-Shibaura Park, this green space has vending machines and benches where you can rest while enjoying the sea breeze and water views.

▼ There are also public toilets on the grounds.

When we visited, there were a few other rail enthusiasts stopping off at the platform and strolling around the park area, snapping photos of the hidden destination.

According to this sign, the park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day, and visitors are asked to take their trash with them and refrain from smoking and photographing the company grounds.

This sign reminds visitors to check the return train schedule, as trains run infrequently on the Tsurumi Line.

Umi-Shibaura Station is known for being a great place to view the sunset. We were a bit early for the sunset when we were there, but we can imagine this scene would look stunning with deep red and orange hues reflected off the water.

After enjoying some quiet contemplation at the seaside railway station, we decided to head home again. And seeing as this is an unstaffed station, passengers are asked to deposit their tickets into a metal box when arriving at the station…

And when leaving, passengers need to pick up a ticket from a red machine. No money is required to receive the ticket, but you’ll need to show it to the rail staff on the train or at your alighting station so you can pay the required fare.

When the train arrived and we hopped on board, the view from inside had us feeling like we were in the world of Spirited Away again. And with a spare seat next to us, we couldn’t help but feel the presence of No Face silently sitting by our side, hoping to get to a magical bathhouse at the end of the train journey.

The ride to and from Umi-Shibaura Station was a quiet and pleasant one, and one that all rail enthusiasts will enjoy. The seaside views are refreshing, the park is peaceful, and the train station is one of the most unusual in the country. It’s also a lot closer than Japan’s other train station that passengers aren’t allowed to exit from, which was built just to admire the rural scenery in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Photos © SoraNews24
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