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Fans Gather at Hokkaido Station to say Farewells to Train Line

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A customer buys railway souvenirs at the Ashimoi Station set in Numata, Hokkaido, on March 4.

NUMATA, Hokkaido — Events to celebrate the JR Rumoi Line are set to continue every weekend at Ebishima Station in Numata, Hokkaido, until the line is partly discontinued at the end of the month.

Rail fans gathered near Ebishima Station on March 4 at the set of Ashimoi Station, a fictional location that appeared in the 1999 NHK morning drama series “Suzuran,” to say their final farewells to the line.

The event was organized by Poppoya, a shop selling railway souvenirs. About 30 fans gathered before the event started at 11 a.m. to take pictures of the interior and exterior of Ashimoi Station and to purchase replica station admission tickets.

Noriaki Ishii, 52, from Shiroi, Chiba Prefecture, went to the event to relive his memories of his late wife, who passed away at the end of 2021. The couple had visited Hokkaido before the pandemic, and as Ishii was a rail fan, they rode the Rumoi Line.

They did not get off at Ebishima Station, but his wife saw a doll modeled after the main character of “Suzuran” from the train window. He said she laughed and said it looked “a bit creepy.” They got off at Rumoi Station and ate Nishin soba noodles.

“If [Ebishima Station] isn’t profitable, I guess discontinuing the service is inevitable, but it’s sad to see it go away,” Ishii said. “I’m glad I was able to come here before it shut down.”

The section between Rumoi and Ishikari-Numata stations, which are 35.7 kilometers apart, will be discontinued at the end of the month.