Ever been to a station that’s on a cliff? Here’s your chance.
Located in the heart of Shizuoka’s mountain country Okuoikojo station sits perched on a cliff in the middle of a lake. The unstaffed station is the ideal spot for sightseeing via one of Japan’s most treasured railways, especially considering the other nature hotspots in the area.
The station overlooks the wide Ooi River, which has been partially dammed further down. Easily accessible by car and followed by a short walk through a well laid out path, you will find yourself walking alongside the tracks on a narrow bridge towards Okuoikojo station.
However, if riding a quaint red train with open windows, while 70 meters above a pristine lake is more your style, this too, is an option. The Ikawa line also boasts using Japan’s last rack-and-pinion mechanism to navigate what is also the steepest railway in Japan.
Ring the bell!
Once you arrive at the station, feel free explore the few simple attractions nestled alongside the cliff. Lake Cottage Okuoi is the ideal place for a quick bento while taking in the view from the observation deck. For couples whose relationship needs a bit or encouragement you’ll have an opportunity to ring the “Happy Bell.” While this is what it’s called in English on a nearby sign, the bell hangs under a plaque saying 風の忘れ物 or “Somehting the Wind Left Behind.” It’s said that the sprites of the cliffside will bless your relationship, but beware of annoying them by overusing the bell!
Visiting during late autumn may be the best time of year to witness the mountainside turning a vibrant array of colors as the leaves change, thus making this a popular location for photographers of all skill levels. If you arrive by train and want to take a photo of the station from across the lake, a 15-minute walk will get you there. Follow alongside the track towards the mountains, and after you climb some stairs you will find yourself on the same path that people take when they arrive by car.