Dec 022013

Good morning everyone! Yesterday, people from all over Itoigawa came to the Itoigawa Station Reopening Event.

The newly opened Itoigawa Station

The newly opened Itoigawa Station

The new Itoigawa Station stands in the middle. The design of the station takes hints from the traditional machiya architectural style, a type of townhouse architecture which dominates Itoigawa’s downtown area. In the photograph above, the station stands in the middle with the former Itoigawa Station to the right, and the Jade Kingdom Centre to the left. To the back, the Hokuriku Shinkansen Itoigawa Station is still under construction. A gangi, a type of roofed footpath, will be built in front of the station. Likewise the rotary is scheduled to be repaved and remodeled.

The weather was cloudy and gray, with intermittent drizzle. But despite the inclement weather, the turnout was even greater than expected!

The main entrance to Itoigawa Station

The main entrance to Itoigawa Station

Walking around the rotary to the front, we come to the new entrance to Itoigawa Station. Much wider than before, this entrance can easily accommodate large groups.

An escalator offers easy access to the station concourse, which is now located on the second floor

An escalator offers easy access to the station concourse, which is now located on the second floor

Within the entrance is an escalator and wide stairs ascending to the concourse above.

First view of the new concourse

First view of the new concourse

Atop the escalator, we are afforded our first ever view of the new concourse, packed with people who have arrived to see the new station for themselves.

First View Down the ConcourseLooking down the concourse, past the crowds, we can see the ticket window and gate. A temporary wall blocks access to the southern half of the station, which is still under construction.

1st Floor Waiting RoomAvoiding the crowds upstairs, I went down to the first floor to take a look at the new first floor waiting room. Spacious and with ample seating, the new waiting room is also equipped with a row of displays. These displays provide information about trains and regional bus routes. They also provide information about tourism opportunities within Itoigawa and the Itoigawa Geopark.

Station KioskThe station kiosk’s final location will be within the southern half, near the shinkansen boarding gate and 2nd floor waiting room. Until then, it finds itself temporarily crammed in a corner next to the waiting room. Located below the main concourse, don’t miss it as it is still the ideal spot to buy snacks or drinks for enjoying on the train.

Concourse DisplayBack to the main concourse above, a massive display has been installed which will provide tourist information as well as bus and train schedules.

Shinkansen E7 ModelA model of the E7 Series Shinkansen on display within the station. This is the model of train which will be used on the Hokuriku Shinkansen when it opens in 2015.

Corridor to Hisui Oukokukan

Inside the Hisui OukokukanA feature of the new station which I think many will appreciate is this corridor, located next to the elevator, which connects to the Hisui Ōkokukan, the Jade Kingdom Centre, a downtown tourism facility which features a number of shops, restaurants, and tourist information centres. It’s a great place to browse while waiting for your train.

The Jade Kingdom Centre also took part in the event, opening up one of its conference halls for a variety of displays and activities:

Model RailroadsThere were model railroads, like this one here.

Model of Ono StationAnd models of stations in Itoigawa, like this one of Kubiki-Ōno, on the Oito Line.

Itoigawa Station Reopening Play AreaThere was even a play area, where children and parents could play together with a number of train-themed toys, or do arts and crafts projects.

The event was an even bigger success than anybody had imagined. It proved so popular that it ran later than five hours originally planned. Hopefully, with Itoigawa Station’s reconstruction and the addition of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Itoigawa Station will become more and more popular.

Hope to see you coming off the platform!