I took the family in the car for a short drive north through Gifu prefecture to Mino, a beautiful city, known as the home of Japanese paper (washi). Reminiscent of Kyoto and Takayama, Mino has streets filled with traditional houses and many shops selling paper lanterns.
As fascinating as all that is, our 2-year-old boy much prefers trains, so off we went to the former Meitestsu Mino Station!
The Meitetsu Mino line had a history dating back to 1911. When completed, it served over two dozen locations on the 24.8km track between Mino and Gifu City. In 1999, Mino station was closed down and by April, 2005 the entire Mino line was abolished, apparently replaced by Meitetsu buses.
Today, Mino station remains as a popular tourist attraction, with three and a bit “one-man” trains. I say bit, because the train on the far left in the photo below has been cut in half, leaving just the driver’s section.
Back in the day
The waiting area at the station is filled with mementos from the line’s past, such as these old photos that hang on the wall or are laid out on tables.
You can climb on board the three main trains at the station. One of them almost looks track-worthy while the other two have had most their chairs stripped out and some old equipment and memorabilia put on display in their place.
Inside the station
The station itself is crammed with photos, Choro-Q trains, old timetables and much more. I was particularly fond of the sofas, which are actually seats from the trains.
On the platform
Our son had a great time at Mino Station, but unfortunately, it wasn’t because of the trains… not the real ones anyway. On the platform, between the trains, was a huge Plarail set which kept Rikuto more than happy. That wasn’t the only strange sight on the platform. There were a couple of go-karts with nowhere to go, gardens growing where the train buffers were, and most surprising, a bullet train nose cone!
We were only there for half an hour before heading off to Mino’s Ogura park to see the peacocks and turkeys, but we had a great time!
The Ex-Meitetsu Mino station is free to enter and a must see if you plan to visit Mino. Here’s a Google map of the location. If you can read Japanese, here are some related Wikipedia links to help you find the area and plan other things to do while you’re there: