It’s not Kurashiki’s most famous attraction, but it might be its most unique.

When most people think of the town of Kurashiki, in Okayama Prefecture, they think of its picturesque canals and preserved buildings. And Japanese Twitter user @meat_stew may have seen them on his recent trip to the city, but his primary reason for going there was to see Kurashiki’s Kimi Station.

Train stations being attractions in and of themselves isn’t so unusual in Japan. Some rail hubs are connected to sprawling entertainment complexes packed with shops, restaurants, and performance venues. Others have special significance in the history of the development of Japan’s rail network. Kimi doesn’t really fall into either of those categories, but @meat_stew wanted to see it all the same, because he wanted to see its “lazy, unmotivated ticket gate.” Just how lazy it is? Take a look.

At the most basic level, you’d expect a gate to be able to keep people from passing through an area unless they’ve got permission to. But Kimi’s “gate” is a single terminal in front of the station’s stairs, arranged parallel to the stairway so that it could maybe slightly impede someone who was trying to walk right up the center of the steps, except that there’s already a hand railing that prevents that.

Though built in 1988, Kimi’s rural location on the JR Honshi-Bisan Line, which doesn’t get a ton of passengers, seems to have convinced the planners that they didn’t need full mechanical turnstiles when the station opened. There may have been an attendant stamping tickets back in the day, but with most people now paying for their train fare with pre-paid IC cards, the terminal’s touch pad can handle that function, and there’s still a slot for inserting paper tickets, which the machine then stamps.

▼ “I came all the way to Okayama just to see the lazy, unmotivated ticket gate at JR Kimi Station.”

Clearly, Kimi is operating on the honor system. While its unmotivated ticket gate is capable of recording that someone used a ticket to get on the train there, it doesn’t really have the ability to stop people who don’t have a ticket from doing the same thing. There is a security camera pointed at the gate, but even it doesn’t look too motivated, as one commenter pointed out.

Along with some 45,000 likes, other online reactions have included:

“I like how it lines up right with the middle of the stairway.”
“I think I probably wouldn’t even notice it, and just walk right in by accident without buying a ticket.”
“Lovely. It’s even more impressively lazy than I could have imagined.”
“You can almost hear it saying, ‘Oh, hey dude, thanks for stopping by. You must not have much going on right now either huh?’”
“I can’t really say why, but it somehow gives off a near-future vibe. Let’s all take good care of this place.”

As weird as it may look, the fact that Kimi Station is still in operation suggests that most people are abiding by the rules and paying for their tickets. So maybe it’s not that the ticket gate is lazy, but has just mastered the art of doing the exact amount of work it needs to.

Source, images: Twitter/@meat_stew
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