Photographing the Shinkansen: Hakata-Minami

As I have posted about before, when it comes to photographing the shinkansen, I prefer not to take pictures at stations. There are times – particularly when you are travelling on a stopping-service – when it is convenient to do so, getting a shot of a passing train (pictures of stopped trains tend to be dull). However, there is one station that can be particularly interesting to get photos at – not so much for the station itself, but due to what’s next to it. That station is Hakata-Minami.

Hakata-Minami (“Hakata-South”, 博多南) sits next to the Hakata Depot. The station itself opened in 1975 and the station gained in usage as the city of Fukuoka continued to grow and spread. While the opening of the section of Kyushu Shinkansen between Hakata and Shin-Yatsushiro in 2011 now means that some of the line to the station is shared, the services to Hakata-Minami are operated by JR West, not JR Kyushu.

I have been to Hakata-Minami a couple times. At least once as I had some time to spare, so, taking advantage of my JR Pass, decided to jump on a train that was going that way and taking advantage of the seat to sit down and eat, before returning to Hakata – before doing this, make sure that you will make any connection at Hakata as there aren’t that many services. There is only one platform at Hakata-Minami (the only shinkansen station with just one platform), so there is no danger of missing your train there and often you will return on the same train that you arrived on.

Here are some shots taken at Hakata-Minami (all taken in 2003). As you can see, it’s the view of the trains in the depot which are perhaps more interesting (although most of the time, the trains are stopped, at least the variety in rolling stock makes it interesting).

The first two were in my book Shinkansen: From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan

A viaduct – to be used by the Kyushu Shinkansen in the future – near Hakata-Minami station (shinkansen access to which is visible below the viaduct)
A 0-series-renewal waiting at the narrow Hakata-Minami station – the space to the left will become part of the Kyushu Shinkansen in the future

For more information about my research on the shinkansen, click here, and for more information about the photographs I use in my research, click here. Click here to get more information about my novel Hijacking Japan which is partly set on a shinkansen.

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