Shimonada, the Beautiful Train Station from Ghibli’s Spirited Away in Real Life, as if stepping out of the famous animated film Spirited Away.
The Shimonada train station is part of the Yosan line in Iyo, Ehime Prefecture, Japan. It is known as the solitary station because it is the closest station to the sea in the Land of the Rising Sun and has no staff on duty. Upon arriving here, travelers simply buy tickets at the station entrance, wait for the train, and board. You can see the horizon clearly, with a distinct line between sky and sea. In the summer, the sea is a vivid blue, and the scenery is as picturesque as a painting. This station is managed by the JR Shinkoku company and is designated as S09. The station stands alone by the deserted shore, backed against the mountainside, and facing the blue sea. This is why the train station is dubbed the loneliest station in Japan.
The station has also appeared in various Japanese films, especially in the Studio Ghibli animated film Spirited Away, which drew inspiration from this station. As a result, Shimonada has become famous on the map of Japanese tourism.
In 2001, the Shimonada train station gained recognition from many tourists after the release of the Studio Ghibli animated film Spirited Away, which won the Best Animated Feature award at the 75th Oscars.
In the film, there is a scene where the main character, Chihiro, starts a train journey through a flooded track on a rail. Coincidentally, the Shimonada station also has a track leading to the sea. From then on, this place became famous not only in Japan but also worldwide, as travelers from all around the globe became curious about the train station leading to the real-life spiritual realm.
In reality, in 1959, Japan had a railway line called Meitetsu Tokoname that was flooded due to Typhoon Vera. At that time, Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Spirited Away, was 18 years old. This could have been the source of inspiration for him when he depicted the journey to the Spirited Away.
The waiting area is designed with simplicity, featuring a small roof and two wooden benches. Shimonada is also known among tourists for its tranquil ambiance and the expansive sea view. From here, visitors can admire sunsets over the sea with colors that change according to the seasons.
The ticket booth of the station was built in 1935.
From the center of Ehime, it takes about an hour by car or train to reach the Shimonada station. In addition to the regular daily trains, there is also the Iyonada Monogatari sightseeing train that operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, with four trips in a day. Travelers should check the schedule in advance if they want to experience the feeling of riding the fairy tale train