Tokyo station lives up to its name with a good old-fashioned pun.

Ochanomizu Station in Tokyo has been in the spotlight recently, becoming the talk of the town after it was found to have some very unusual offerings for commuters.

The first thing that got people talking was the “Hand Sanitiser Station” it had set up in April this year, which became a hot topic online for its clever design. As this photo shows, the sign attached to the table where the hand sanitiser sits is designed to look like the signboards seen at stations on the Yamanote Line, of which Ochanomizu Station is a part.

▼ “Shoudoku Eki“, or “Hand Sanitiser Station“, sits between “Countermeasures” and “Habits

Another thing that put Ochanomizu on the map recently was its new mascotChamizun, who’s said to have been born at Ochanomizu Station on 31 December 1904 — the date the station opened — making it 117 years old this year.

▼ This teacup might be vying for the title of Japan’s oldest character mascot.

And last but definitely not least, is an unusual vending machine, which is what drew us to visit the station in the first place.

What makes this vending machine so unique is the fact that it sells only two types of beverages: tea and water. That might not sound like anything special at first, especially in a land where vending machines can dispense everything from origami to curses, but once you realise that the station name is made up of two words: ocha (tea) and mizu (water), the vending machine becomes instantly charming.

Things become even more heartwarming with the handwritten sign staff have attached to the machine, which replaces the ノ (“no”) with と (“to”), changing “Ochanomizu” (“Tea Water”) to “Ocha to Mizu”, which means “Tea and Water“.

▼ Well played, Ochanomizu!

The green sign above the machine reads “‘Tea’ and ‘Water’ Vending Machine”, and it’s exclusive to Ochanomizu Station.

Most of the beverages inside the machine have a connection to Tohoku, the northern region of Japan that suffered extensive damage in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. One brand of mineral water comes from Shirakami-Sanchi, a UNESCO world heritage site located across Akita and Aomori prefectures, while the Tohoku Rokukencha teas use ingredients gathered from the six prefectures of Tohoku.

A purchase from the machine helps to support Tohoku, so we slipped a few coins in to buy a bottle of water and popped it into our bag for the ride home. Being sensible passengers, we’d only be sipping it outside of the train, though, of course.

If you’re looking for a train station with heart and character, the unique touches at Ochanomizu Station right now will definitely put a smile on your dial. And if you’re looking for more fun and adventure on the rails, you might want to stop by Shinjuku Station to meet its own new mascot character, and quench your thirst at Tameike-sanno Station, which is home to the Vending Train made from retired train parts.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]