Lunch and Coffee along the Senmo Main Line

The Senmo Main Line is a train line that connects the towns of Abashiri and Shari in Hokkaido, before heading south towards Kushiro. The line was initially constructed in the 1880s and was used to ferry miners to and from a local sulphur mine. Further construction of the line was completed in the 1920s when it opened as a commercial railway line for commuters.

Like most train lines in Japan, the Senmo Main Line is primarily used to ferry locals to and from their places of work. But it also has another charming quality to it that many visitors aren’t aware of. Three of its train stations, although still used as stations, house small cafes serving a variety of food and drinks, each with their own unique and genuinely retro atmosphere.

Travelling in the direction of Shari from Abashiri, the three stations are as follows:

Motoko Station

Motoko Station
Motoko Station

Three stations along from Abashiri, is the first of the three unique stations along this line. The wooden station building was built in 1924 and the original structure still stands today. It is an unmanned station, meaning tickets must be purchased onboard the train. Where the station ticket office once stood is now a cozy little coffee shop made entirely of wood. The café started operations in the 1980s and little has changed since, meaning it retains a wonderful atmosphere of old Japan.

Motoko Station

The interior is made up of small tables that are equipped with 1970s train seats, dotted around a wood burner in the center. There are shelves upon shelves of manga comic books that guests are free to read at their pleasure. The menu has an assortment of coffees, teas and other hot drinks as well as soft drinks. At lunchtime a selection of homemade ramen dishes are also available.

Kitahama Station

Kitahama Station
Kitahama Station

One stop along from Motoko is Kitahama station. Similar to Motoko this wooden station was constructed in 1924 and has managed to retain a feeling of times gone by. Also, like Motoko, the old ticket office was converted in the 1980s into a café open daily (except Thursday) for lunch. The menu has a variety of dishes including Japanese curry, pork cutlet (katsu) curry, seafood ramen, sandwiches and desserts.

Kitahama Station

The interior has various items from inside old trains dating back several decades, including luggage racks, driver’s hats and railroad signals. Similar to Motoko station there is a genuine retro atmosphere about the place, although the ambience between these two stations is very different. The walls of the waiting room in the station are plastered with people’s business cards and messages giving this station a very unique character. It also allows great views over the ocean that is just a few footsteps away.

Yamubetsu Station

Yamubetsu Station
Yamubetsu Station

One stop before Shiretoko Shari Station sits the third of the converted stations along the Senmo Main Line. Constructed in 1925 this station also maintains a feeling of old Japan on the outside, but the interior which has been converted into a small restaurant feels slightly newer than the previous two, and there is no train memorabilia inside.

Yamubetsu Station

Items on the menu include a selection of ramen dishes, variations of Japanese curry, salads and an assortment of desserts. Alcohol can also be purchased here. Customers can sit at a bar or on the floor on zabuton cushions, around a small table.

All of the above stations can accessed by train on the Senmo Main Line, or by car, and each station has free parking.

Facility Name
Abashiri
Address
Hokkaido Abashirishi Shinmachi 3-chome
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Mokoto
Address
Hokkaido Abashiri
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Kitahama(Hokkaido)
Address
Hokkaido Abashiri
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN
Facility Name
Yamubetsu
Address
Shari-gun, Hokkaido Koshimizu town
Information Sources:
NAVITIME JAPAN

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PLACES IN THIS ARTICLE

  • dummy image

    Yamubetsu

    Station
    Shari-gun, Hokkaido Koshimizu town
  • dummy image

    Mokoto

    Station
    Hokkaido Abashiri
  • dummy image

    Kitahama(Hokkaido)

    Station
    Hokkaido Abashiri
  • dummy image

    Abashiri

    Station
    Hokkaido Abashirishi Shinmachi 3-chome
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