TRIPPERS TIP: Hunt for Ghouls in Doai Station

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By Benjamin Pratt | May 28, 2016

Doai Station Tunnel

The Doai Station walk-way tunnel from the northbound platform to the southbound, ground level platform.

On the outside, during the day amongst the Minakami nature, Doai Station looks like any other semi-abandoned station in the middle of nowhere. There’s no station attendants, no ticket machines to manoeuvre and no signage; not even a hint of civilisation. But, what’s real trippy: Doai Station is 70 metres underground – the deepest active train station in Japan.

So what’s up with that? Well, technically only the northbound platform is 70 metres underground, buried deep in an adjacent mountain, while the southbound platform (and exit) is outdoor on ground level, a gruelling 486 stairs up.

Doai Station Steps Minakami

The intimidating view of all 486 steps from the bottom Doai Station, Minakami.

It’s a sight to see: damp concrete steps rising toward an barely visible existential light; to a way out – a departure. Japanese train fanatics (yeah, they have those) travel from around the country to experience the dark ambience of the mysterious and enigmatic Doai Station, so it’s the real deal, baby. Being situated at the foot of Mount Tanagawa, one of the more dangerous mountains to climb in Japan, it’s been said that Doai Station houses the lost souls of all those who have died on the mountain.

Just imagine this place at night then? Mist rising from the subterranean mountain depths; howling wind whistling through an empty and dark 486 stair-set. The constant sound of dripping and crackling fluroescent lights fizzing off and on. Loose doors and closed windows shudder from the piercing winds of passings trains. Dusty spider webs sprawling broken windows as the lost souls of the mountain haunt you through never-ending empty corridors on your hunt for the white light at the end of the tunnel. Admit it, it’s one psychotic clown shy of a nightmare.

Doai Station is the lowest train station in Japan, and man does this seemingly abandoned station get creepy at night.

I know what it sounds like, it’s just a train station. But it’s not, man. It’s got the vibes of a forgotten building left deep inside a mountain. It’s an experience in urban adventure that you don’t get to often, whether you wanna go during the day for some light stepper exercise or at night for a real life ghoul themed Escape Room. Similar to Nara Dreamland (the abandoned Disneyland type theme park not far from Nara Park), Doai Station is a haunting old-world wonder of Japan’s always evolving urban landscape.

Oh, and one more bonus tip: if you’re hitchin’ a cheap train to Minakami or staying at Tenjin Lodge – this is you’re stop. No ticket inspectors and walking distance to your bed. What’s that Charlie Sheen? …Winning

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