As one of the world’s only magnetic levitation and propulsion train systems, the Linimo line is unique. It’s construction started in 2001 and was finished in time for the Aichi Expo 2005. The Aichi Expo 2005 was a World’s Fair held in Nagakute City, continuing the traditions of forward thinking architecture and technology that started in 1851 with the first expo in London, England. Each Linimo train is capable of running autonomously the whole length of the line, as in you won’t find a driver at the front of the train. Since the end of the expo, the Linimo line has endured to become an integral part of Nagakute City.
Hanamizuki-dori Station isn’t the first station on the Linimo line, but it is the first station in Nagakute City. The Linimo trains emerge from the underground tunnel connecting the line to Fujigaoka, a neighborhood in neighboring Nagoya City and the start of the Linimo line. The station is built on the side of a hill, and considering the rest of the Linimo line, it’s also the only station to be at street level. Every other station is high above the street, accessible only by elevators and escalators. In another unique design feature, the ticket gates and platform access paths are below street level; a traveler has to head down to buy tickets and go through the gates before heading up to the platform.
Hanamizuki-dori Station is in the style of Structural Expressionism. It’s facade is strong frosted glass bolted to brackets and steel beams. The beams are exposed on the interior, as are the steel wires providing support to the wall of automatic doors separating travelers from the tracks. The lines are clean, symmetrical, and pleasant to look at. The elevators are glass-plated shafts that show their inner mechanisms. Every surface that can be painted is white, which to be honest hasn’t held up well. Dirt shows on most surfaces that are out of cleaning reach. All of the stations on the Linimo line are open to the elements, which doesn’t help in keeping up appearances.
A final defining feature of Hanamizuki-dori station is when you ride a train towards Yakusa, the terminus station opposite Fujigaoka, the track rises up into the air. Your view out of the windows goes starts with the glass of the station, then to streets and cars, then to rooftops and mountains in less than a minute. It’s a soaring feeling everytime I ride the train. I can’t help but look out of the windows at the world below in wonder. Once you’re at cruising altitude the train speeds up and before you know it you’re at the next station.
Hanamizuki-dori Station is an interesting and useful piece of architecture. It’s Japanese name, はなみずき通駅, has no meaning other than it’s name. Hanamizu (nose water) can be translated as snotty nose-running. Maybe there’s a historical reason for the strange name, or maybe it’s that the Linimo trains “run” in and out of the tunnel like it’s a nose. Either way, I love riding the Linimo every chance I get.
Thanks for reading.