(8) Fumikiri 踏切: Japanese railroad crossings

In Japanese, the word for a level crossing or grade crossing is 踏切, fumikiri ふみきり, which can also be interpreted as “railroad crossing”. Here’s the sound of a fumikiri warning bell:

Here are a few of my favorites:

(1) The old crossing by Shimo-kitazawa Station 下北沢

The trains now run underground, so this lively crossing is a thing of the past.

(2) Backstreets of Toshima-ku (map)

Waiting for the Seibu-Ikebukuro line to pass.

(3) Numabukuro 沼袋

(4) Shinsen station 神泉駅 (map)

Fumikiri next to the Inokashira Line tunnel, which leads to Shibuya Station.

(5) Chitose-karasuyama Station 千歳烏山駅,  Setagaya-ku (map)

A classic street-level train crossing in a classic residential neighborhood on the Keio Line. Chitose-karasuyama is the site of a former danchi that remained vacant for several years, which I wrote about in Ghosts of Showa: the Karasuyama apartment complex, gated communities, & the fight for Tokyo’s soul.

(6) Nerima-ku, between Musashi-Seki station 武蔵関駅 and Higashifushimi station 東伏見駅 on the Seibu-Ikebukuro line (map)

Naturally, these crossings can be dangerous if you’re not careful…or if you decide to throw yourself in from of a train. In fact, just weeks after I remarked on a cute pedestrian crossing (map) near Hatagaya Station 幡ケ谷駅, my friend told me that a woman threw herself in front of a Keio New Line 京王新線 train at that very spot.

(7) Fumikiri Jikan 「踏切時間」

Fumikiri Jikan (“Railroad Crossing Time”is a manga structured around schoolgirls talking while they wait for trains to pass? That’s so Japan.

See also:

Scene from the Ozu classic, An Autumn Afternoon (1962) 秋刀魚の味:

Train crossing near Tokyo Sky Tree:

Train crossing at night:


See also:

Blue lights, often used on train platforms to discourage suicide, are also used at fumikiri train crossings:


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