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 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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