Between train stations in Japan and the iron girders that support them, a new kind of business is starting to grow.
“Eki Kan” are located just under these bridges and they’re becoming hotspots for business.
While the areas under the stations are generally deserted and dark, small cafes and clothing shops take advantage of these small lots as they’re both cheaper to rent and see enough foot traffic to stay profitable.
Streamer Coffee Company, an espresso bar created by Hiroshi Sawada who is celebrated barista and won at World Latte Art Championship, and Kilo Shop Tokyo, second hands clothing shop, just recently opened between Yutenji and Gakugeidaigaku stations.
No doubt taking a break at coffee shop after buying some clothes is a perfect combination, and it encourages many young people to rethink the purpose of these once dark locations.
Under a girder bridge in Sannomiya of Hyogo prefecture, which has many kinds of shops like izakaya, record shop and local markets, businesses have prospered since the postwar because many people were seeking these protected locations.
Rows of Eki Kan like these in Sannomiya are becoming a normal sight in Japan, but more and more are opening every year.
Food, jewelry store and so on called Yamiichi, for instance, were able to escape from bombing of Kobe in Second World War.
Locations under girder bridges are now great spots if they’re used efficiently taking into account the space store owners have and how big their locations can be.
There are many kinds of shops and buildings throughout cities such as Tokyo, but the “Eki Kan” is slowly becoming an underground figure in the urban landscape.
Although the areas might be deserted and dark, the more stores there are the brighter the future seems for these kinds of locations.
Next time you’re in Japan, why not take a look under the train station? Who knows what cool store you might find.