[Scary Places in Japan] Doai, the Deepest Running Train Station
In Gunma Prefecture a few hours north of Tokyo lies Doai Station, the deepest train station in Japan. With its platform located 70 meters underground from the entrance, Doai station has been a hot spot for many travelers looking for a spooky experience unlike anything else!
Functioning as part of the Joetsu Line that connects Niigata Prefecture area to Tokyo as it runs all the way to Ueno Station, Doai Station opened in December of 1936 with two platforms servicing the few trains that operate every day. In a recent census, it was discovered that the station still attracts about 22 passengers a day as of 2011.
One of the platforms is above ground in a very unassuming area just behind the main entrance. The other platform lies inside the Shimizu Tunnel that connects Niigata Prefecture to Gunma Prefecture.
In order to get to the Shimizu Tunnel, though, you will have to go down a total of 486 steps to reach the train platform.
As the station itself is in an area that is rather remote, it remains unmanned by staff, and visitors are free to enter the premises to explore to their heart’s content. However, please be aware that you will still need to pay to get on the train if you decide to jump aboard.
Things to Do at Doai Station
Believe it or not, Doai Station is pretty popular with many hikers and those looking for a bit of adventure. The nearby mountains offer a good variety of hiking courses to explore and the atmosphere of the station itself makes it great for those looking to snap pictures.
Mount Tanigawa is close by and offers a few options for courses to get to the summit in about two or three hours, depending on your condition.
This mountain is also infamous for being dangerous, as it has experienced many tragedies. Over 800 people have lost their lives in rock-climbing accidents in the area.
However, if you just want to get to the summit, the normal trails are relatively easy and there are a couple of emergency huts that can be used towards the top. Visiting during the summer months is recommended, as the wintertime can bring heavy snowfall and make finding the trails very difficult.
For photographers, Doai Station offers a unique atmosphere of being abandoned, while remaining relatively safe to explore.
The staircase leading down to the platform deep below offers a singular perspective and the moss on the walls adds to the creepy decor.
If you are lucky and visit when a train passes by, you will find that the place gets even creepier as fog fills the entire tunnel, making it difficult to see.
The entryway that leads to the stairs is also a great spot to shoot pictures, as the corroded walls and ceiling are filled with rust, giving the area a bit of a Silent Hill kind of vibe. Those willing to brave the area at night are guaranteed to experience an even spookier atmosphere, though it is recommended to exit the facility after the last train has left the station.
Getting to Doai Station
Doai Station is accessible via a three-hour drive northwest from central Tokyo or by taking the Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, then taking the local Joetsu Line to Doai Station itself. Taking the train will generally take about three hours as well, but the schedule can vary depending on the time of day.
If you plan on taking the train, make sure to keep track of departures from Doai Station, as the train only comes by a couple times every other hour.
Spooky as Doai Station may be, it is still a great place to visit for those looking for a bit of adventure outside of Tokyo.
Author: Victor Gonzalez from FrameOfTravel
Video: Norm Nakamura from Tokyo Lens
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