Myohoji Station: abandoned at lunchtime

Ross Hall

May 15, 2021
(Updated on June 17, 2021)

A railway station in Japan with an ATM in centre of the screen and no people

Myohoji station, about 1:30 in the afternoon. When I first settled in this town, it was a bustling little station. Plenty of people wandering around, usually with rucksacks and walking shoes. Friends meeting up or bumping into one another and exchanging conversation. A couple of pop-up eateries rotating around on the spot where I stood to take this photo.

I stand here often, waiting for my wife to arrive from work. The decline was slow, captured over a fortnight of taking photos at random until I wondered where everyone was.

Now, midway through the latest State of Emergency, it’s empty. The trains come, a handful of people get off, they vanish.

And yet…

The shops are busy. People still visit the restaurants and cafes. Schoolkids bustle around. We seem to do it with a greater sense of purpose: attend to our business, don’t linger, don’t delay.

Myohoji is busy, just not the way it was before.

Born in the UK in the early 70s, I’ve enjoyed a diverse and eclectic career. I spent time in IBM, survived the dot.com bust, got myself well known in Insurance, and lived through more digital transformation projects than is healthy. In late ’20, in the middle of a pandemic, I upped sticks and moved to Kobe, Japan with my wife.

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