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North, South, East and West on Japan's railways.


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On my various travels to Japan, one of the things that I wanted to do was to go to the furthest compass points on Japan's railways.

I was able to do three out of the four, north, south, east, west.

Furthest North is Wakkani in Hokkaido, at 45.20 N, 14. 38 E., Limited Expresses run to Wakkanai from Sapporo, on the Soya Main Line, a trip of about three hours

From Wakkanai station a bus can take one right to the top end of Japan, at Cape Soya.

Wakkanai was the port for the Imp. Govt. Railways ferry service up to what was then the Japanese territory of Karafuto, but that ended with the end of the Pacific War.

South is Makurazaki in Kyushu, 31. 17 N, 130.19 E., this place is the terminus of the Ibusuki-Makurzaki Line from Kagoshima Chuo.

Limited Expresses run to Ibusuki, from there on it's all stations  trains.

Nothing much at Makurazaki, from what I can remember.

East, I wasn't able to do, the station is Nemuro in Hokkaido, 43.20 N, 145. 37 E.

Access to Nemuro from Sapporo is by the Chitose Main Line to Chitose, then by the Sekisho and Nemuro Lines,  a very long run, probably most of the day one way.

From reports, the Sekisho Line is very scenic through the mountains.

Finally, west. 

All the previous lines are JR, but the western most station is on the private Matsuura Railway in Kyushu.

The station is Tabiri Hiradoguchi, I don't have a lat. and long. for this station, but Hirado is 33. 22N,  129. 33E, so this is probably pretty close.

At the station is a large hoarding, saying in English and Japanese, that this station is the most westerly in Japan.

The Matsuura Rly. is an interesting one, long, about 93km., reasonably scenic, it runs in a big loop from Sasebo to Arita, on the JR Sasebo Line from Hakata, and operates in two sections, Sasebo-Imari and Imari-Arita. it is not possible to buy a through ticket Sasebo-Arita.

Best access is from Nagasaki, shorter than from Hakata.








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Sasebo is the west most station on the JR network, and is a fun little town to visit if you're in the area.  The naval museum in Sasebo is both free and a great place to visit, lots of amazing models and historical relics, especially from WW2.  I lived there for two months so I'm probably biased, but its a very pretty area and the Matsuuren line is a really nice third sector line.  JR used to have through services on the line using JNR kiha 66 DMUs, but demand was limited so those have been discontinued.  Imari station is interesting as when the line was privatized the station was cut in half, and now a large street runs through the station cutting the lines on either side.  As such no through services are possible.  If you visit from Nagasaki the Omura line to Sasebo is also very scenic and has some very good examples of various era's of JNR station designs.  Unfortunately the 1920s JGR station at haiki has just been torn down to make way for a new yard and engine house to replace that being redeveloped in Nagasaki.  Interestingly enough a turntable has been installed in this location where there was not one previously. 


Edited by Kiha66
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Southernmost station (conventional railways):

Nishi-Oyama station on JR Kyushu's Ibusuki Makurazaki Line.

Southernmost station (of all rail-transit types):

Akamine station on the Okinawa Urban Monorail Line.*

Westernmost station (JR Group):

Sasebo station on JR Kyushu's Sasebo and Omura lines and the Matsuura Railway Nishi-Kyushu Line.

Westernmost station (conventional railways):

Tabira-Hiradoguchi station on the Matsuura Railway Nishi-Kyushu Line.

Westernmost station (of all rail-transit types):

Naha Airport Station on the Okinawa Urban Monorail Line.*


Northernmost station (as of today):             

Wakkanai Station on JR Hokkaido's Soya Main Line.**


Easternmost station (as of today):
Higashi-Nemuro station on JR Hokkaido's Nemuro Main Line.***




*Akamine and Naha Airport Station are adjacent.


**In the future, the section of the Soya Main Line between Wakkanai and Nayoro will either be handed over to a Third-Sector company or be closed altogheter, thus making Nayoro (also on the Soya Main Line) the northernmost operational station in Japan.


*** In the future, the section of the Nemuro Main Line between Nemuro and Kushiro will either be handed over to a Third-Sector company or be closed altogheter, thus making Shiretoko-Shari station (on the Senmo Main Line) the easternmost station.

The Senmo Main Line is also in the list of those to be closed or handed-over, and if it were the case, the easternmost station will then be Kushiro station, the junction of both the Senmo and Nemuro main lines.




Edited by Socimi
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Hugh I’ve been thru the southern most stations and maybe got off at  Nishi-Ōyama as I went to a park down at the peninsula using the train from Ibusuki. I went all the way to Makurazaki and then back to stay at Ibusuki as I had a fantastic resort room at a ridiculous price (middle of summer have like a few dozen guests in a 500 room resort hotel). Was a very tropical outing, felt like I was in Hawaii. It was also one of the places foreigners did not go in the 80s so I was Godzilla walking around, I’m in a few hundred Japanese family photo albums... of course I had to go and pet issie.



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Thanks for all the comments on North,South, East and West.

I must see if I can get Lat. and Long. for the stations that I missed.

Sasebo was one of Japan's main naval bases during the Pacific War, I regret that I didn't have enough time to have a look around the place.





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