Space World is dead, long live Space World Station.

The end of 2017 was a sad day for the people of Kitakyushu. After 27 years of operation, the city’s Space World theme park was closing its gates for good. Known for its space-themed attractions and life-sized space shuttle replica, it was a beloved getaway for many in the area, but all good things must come to an end.

However, given the massive size of the coasters and shuttles, they’ve only just finished clearing the area this year. Now an outlet mall is set to open on the vast property, offering a different kind of entertainment: the thrill of great prices on premium brand goods.

Anyone looking to take advantage of these factory-direct prices will just have to take the Kagoshima Main Line to Space World Station.

Yes, even though the park has been gone for nearly fours years, its memory lives on in the name of the train station that stood right outside its front gates. Though most would expect that the name of the station would change at some point after its namesake’s departure, Maidona News spoke with staff there and learned that it wasn’t the case.

JR Kyushu reps informed them that there haven’t been and still aren’t any plans to change the name of Space World Station, because – and I’m paraphrasing here – it would be a huge pain in the butt to do so.

▼ About as huge as dismantling a life-sized space shuttle.

It’s understandable too, as changing a station’s name is no simple task in Japan’s highly interconnected and labyrinthine rail system. Replacing the signage is just the tip of the iceberg. All maps would have to be rewritten, IC card systems would also need to be reworked, and tickets and monthly passes would need to be reconfigured with allowances made for those still in circulation.

It’s not an impossible task by any stretch, but it’s costly enough that JR just doesn’t feel it’s worth doing at this point. According to tweets responding to the news, it would seem that their lack of motivation has the support of many people too.

“Space World Station will never change!”
“Space World Station is good because I get a small feeling of closure every time I pass through.”
“I like it. It’s nostalgic.”
“Sports Depot Station would be more accurate now though.”
“I want them to keep it as it is.”
“Maybe they should change the name of the outlet mall to Space World instead?”
“They still have a Toshimaen Station in Tokyo, so I think Space World Station is fine.”

There are a lot of stations all across Japan named after long-gone amusement parks, schools, museums, and so on. Still, a lot of those names have a certain ambiguity that tends to blend in with regular station names, whereas “Space World Station” really sticks out like a sore thumb.

It’s really hard to see that name and not expect a very specific form of fun waiting for you when you arrive. Apparently, a science museum is planned to open inside the mall, which may be a little bit space-themed, but is still a far cry from a full-blown “space world.”

▼ The odd sign with aliens on it can still be found here and there too.

So, from now, we may see astronomy enthusiasts with outdated travel guides arriving and complaining about the lack of space stuff at Space World Station. It’s not a far-fetched scenario either: Fujiyamashita Station which translates to “Beneath Fuji Mountain Station” in Gunma Prefecture — and 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from the actual Mt. Fuji — has been seeing wayward tourists arrive on its platform for decades.

In conclusion, we should let all fans of fun and space exploration know that they should no longer go to Space World Station, and instead would do well to visit the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center which is about a 30-minute walk from the aptly named Tsukuba Station in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Unfortunately though, you might still get lost inside the center because their maps oddly resemble anime girls. Traveling is never easy.

Source: Maidona News
Photos: ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!