Jul 9, 2015

Hokkaido: The Famous Small Station of the North

Facade of Kitahama Station
I really didn't comprehend and a bit confused at first. Why this small building which similar to a security post could become a highly sought-after destination for some tourists, as said by our local guide, Yoshie-san. The facade looked quite old but pretty decent, stands adjacent to the Sea of Okhotsk. A rusty blue signpost above the entrance door described a name, 北浜駅 Kitahama-eki (Kitahama Station).

This station was not always crowded as that day. Some travel vans parked at the front yard indicated there were group of tourists who already inside the building. Actually, it was just an ordinary small train station. There are some similar building like this along the coastline. But, Kitahama station is the most in demand by the tourists for some reason.

We entered into a tiny main room (waiting room) of the station with its size, maybe about 5x5 meters. And we found something peculiar with our sight.....

Aku benar-benar tidak paham dan sedikit bingung pada awalnya. Kenapa bangunan kecil yang mirip seperti poskamling ini bisa menjadi destinasi yang sangat dicari oleh para turis, seperti yang dikatakan oleh guide lokal kami, Yoshie-san. Bagian muka gedungnya tampak agak tua namun cukup baik keadaannya, berdiri dekat dengan Laut Okhotsk. Plang biru berkarat yang berada di atas pintu masuk mendeskripsikan sebuah nama, 北浜駅 Kitahama-eki (Stasiun Kitahama).

Stasiun ini tidak selalu ramai seperti pada hari itu. Beberapa mobil van travel parkir di depan halamannya menunjukkan bahwa ada sekelompok turis yang sudah berada di dalam gedung. Sebenarnya, gedung ini hanyalah sebuah stasiun kereta yang kecil. Ada beberapa stasiun lainnya yang tampak serupa di sepanjang garis pantai ini. Namun entah kenapa, Stasiun Kitahama lah yang paling sering dicari oleh para turis.

Kami masuk ke dalam ruang utama (ruang tunggu) stasiun yang sempit, dengan ukuran mungkin sekitar 5x5 meter. Dan kami pun mendapati suatu pemandangan yang ganjil saat itu.....

Not this view. It's just the entrance

Yes, this messy room

What the heck is going on in this tiny room?!!
Such a messy walls it had! But after seconds scrutinizing them all, I became aware and learn that this mess were made by all tourists who ever visited here. They altogether created a kind of unique sight, and I call it as the "spamming art".

I bet you must have heard the locket bridges or the Bubblegum Alley in California. So, the same thing also goes in Kitahama Station, but surely in different stuff.

Numerous of name/business cards has been attached to each side of the walls. Every tourists from all around the world have made a contribution to adorn the interior with their own cards. And I don't have any idea how they made their way up high to attach the cards at the ceiling. Judging from some cards which already looked obsolete, this "spamming" tradition has been done for a long time.

Ada apaan nih yang terjadi di dalam ruangan sempit ini?!!
Dindingnya terlihat kacau dan berantakan! Namun setelah mengamatinya beberapa saat, aku jadi menyadari dan mengetahui bila kekacauan ini adalah perbuatan para turis yang pernah berkunjung ke sini. Mereka semua menciptakan suatu pemandangan yang cukup unik, dan aku menyebutnya sebagai "spamming art" (seni menyampah)

Aku yakin kalian pasti pernah mendengar jembatan gembok cinta atau Gang Permen Karet di California. Hal serupa juga berlaku demikian di Stasiun Kitahama, namun tentu saja dengan benda lain.

Ribuan kartu nama ditempelkan di setiap sisi tembok-temboknya. Setiap turis dari seluruh penjuru dunia membuat kontribusi untuk menghias interior gedung dengan kartu nama mereka masing-masing. Dan aku tak habis pikir bagaimana caranya mereka ke bagian atas yang cukup tinggi untuk menempelkan kartu di langit-langit. Lihat dari beberapa kartu yang sudah tampak usang, tradisi "nyampah" ini sudah dilakukan dalam waktu yang cukup lama.

Petzie & Victor decided to leave their photo in there
Yoshie-san told us that this station has become widely famous by Chinese tourists in early 2009. Thanks to "If You Are the One", a romantic comedy Chinese movie which was released in last 2008. It was filmed in locations throughout the eastern part of Hokkaido, including Kitahama Station.

The film itself has been very successful at Chinese box office. The audience enchanted by Hokkaido's natural beauty and pristine scenery. According to officials at the Beijing office of the Japan National Tourism Organization, the office has been flooded with inquiries about the tourist spot featured in the movie. Hokkaido was presented in the movie as it naturally is. This is probably what has made Hokkaido popular among the Chinese

Yoshie-san menceritakan pada kami kalau stasiun ini telah dikenal sangat luas oleh turis asal China pada awal 2009. Terima kasih pada "If You Are the One", film komedi romantis asal China yang rilis pada akhir 2008. Pembuatan filmnya mengambil banyak lokasi di seluruh Hokkaido bagian timur, termasuk Stasiun Kitahama. 

Filmnya sendiri telah sangat sukses di box office China. Para penonton tersihir oleh kecantikan dan pemandangan alami Hokkaido. Menurut para staff dari
Japan National Tourism Organization di Beijing, kantornya telah kebanjiran pertanyaan dari para penonton mengenai tempat-tempat wisata yang muncul di film. Hokkaido ditampilkan benar-benar alami di film tersebut. Inilah kemungkinan yang membuat Hokkaido menjadi populer oleh para warga China. 

"If You Are the One" movie poster
After that "turmoil", Beijing-based tour operators decided to start weekly sightseeing tours to Hokkaido to visit the locations featured in the movie. Believed, more Chinese visitors spent their Lunar New Year holidays in Hokkaido in 2009 than in 2008, and this number keep increasing throughout the years until now.
Read this article: Hit China's Movie Aids Hokkaido's Tourism.

No wonder if there are so many cards in Chinese language, but the origin of "spamming" tradition is still remain a mystery.
Who was started it first?

Setelah adanya "kekacauan" itu, agen-agen tur di Beijing langsung memutuskan untuk membuat perjalanan wisata ke Hokkaido mengunjungi lokasi-lokasi yang ada di filmnya. Dipercaya, pengunjung China yang menghabiskan waktu liburan Tahun Baru China di Hokkaido meningkat lebih banyak pada tahun 2009 daripada 2008, dan angka ini terus bertambah sepanjang tahun hingga sekarang.
Baca artikel ini: Hit China's Movie Aids Hokkaido's Tourism

Tidak heran bila ada banyak kartu nama berbahasa Mandarin di sini, namun asal-usul tradisi "nyampah" masih tetap menjadi misteri.
Siapa yang memulainya duluan?

"Gentlemen on Duty"
I stepped outside to the platform to witness the magnificent Sea of Okhotsk for a moment. The blue northern sea was seen beautiful with large number of white drift ices scattered on the surface. There is 2 stories of wooden tower at the left side of the station. The viewing platform at the top were made for the tourists to enjoy the view or take some high angle pictures.

A gentle but cold breeze blew out my mind while I was staring toward the horizon. Such an experience to feel this serene moment at the tip of the island. Even though it was just a brief visit, but it gave a good memories for me in Abashiri personally. Yes, because I left a my keepsake in that station, too.

Aku beranjak keluar ke bagian peron untuk menyaksikan keindahan Laut Okhotsk untuk sejenak. Laut utara yang biru terlihat sangat cantik dengan sejumlah besar putihnya drift ice yang tersebar di permukaan laut. Ada menara kayu setinggi 2 lantai di sebelah kiri stasiun. Sebuah mimbar di bagian atasnya memang sengaja dibuat untuk para turis untuk menikmati pemandangan atau mengambil gambar dari ketinggian.

Angin nan lembut namun dingin membuatku terpesona ketika aku memandang jauh ke garis horizon. Benar-benar pengalaman yang sangat luar biasa untuk merasakan suasana tenang di bagian ujung pulau. Meskipun ini cuma sekadar kunjungan singkat, namun pengalaman ini memberikan kenangan tersendiri di Abashiri bagiku. Ya, karena aku juga meninggalkan sebuah benda sebagai kenangan di stasiun itu.

From the high platform


Kitahama Station's official website:
http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~kitahama/


Another stories in Hokkaido:
- Mission From Japan: WakuWaku Reporter 2015 (Hokkaido)
Hokkaido: Asahiyama Zoo, The Northernmost & The Most Innovative Zoo in Japan
Hokkaido: See How Japan Introduces Its Freezing World
- Hokkaido: The Famous Small Station of the North
- Hokkaido: Cruising the Sea of Okhotsk on the Icebreaker Ship
- [Road Less Traveled] Hokkaido: Soup of Freedom and the Prison Break of Japan 
[Road Less Traveled] Hokkaido: Cute Little Monster and Drift Ice from Abashiri
- [Road Less Traveled]: Hokkaido Everything All White in Kushiro
- [VIDEO] Hokkaido Trip: Let's Report Japan!!

Photos of Hokkaido:
Hokkaido album on my Flickr


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Hokkaido well-known for its vast farmland and stunning nature landscape. An island which is not only famous for skiing, but it has many special attractions that can be enjoyed in every seasons. I believe... everybody will be enchanted by Hokkaido's charm after recognize how amazing this island is.

This website introduces natures, hot springs, foods particularly to have a foreigner and people lived in outside of Hokkaido recognize that Hokkaido has surprise and splendor in the concept of "Nature, Onsen and Tasty" Why did I intend to do something like that? If you are interested, please do have a look.

Good! Hokkaido! Homepage

"It's not just about the destination, but the journey"

(January 2015)

12 comments:

  1. tradisi 'menyampah' yang unik :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Keke..
      Ya, makanya keliatan agak berantakan tembok-temboknya. :D

      Delete
    2. Nggak bisa dibilang nyampah juga sih~ lebih tepatnya... meninggalkan jejak mungkin? :D

      Delete
    3. Betul, Fahmi!
      Sengaja aku tulis "nyampah" biar lebi catchy n mengundang. Hehehe...

      Delete
  2. Hi, George!
    I do not know about Kitahama Station.
    I will try and go there next time.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, mugu, you're welcome!
      Sure, this small station is a right place to promote your name/business.
      Wwwwww...

      Delete
  3. Good post....thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needs. Thanks.
    Kashmir Tour Package

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the pic from high platform!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree, that's awesome!
      Credited to the photographer (nimar)

      Delete
  5. kreatif ya . cara mempromosikan dan mengemas bangunan kecil seperti ini jadi tujuan wisata .... ck ck ck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saya rasa di Indo juga ada, dengan cara yg lain tentunya. Tapi, kita lom tahu aja karena mungkin kurang tersohor tempat wisatanya itu. Mungkin agan bersapedahan mau nambahin??

      Delete
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