Kofuku Station, located in the city of Obihiro in central Hokkaido, is a popular site for couples. The now unused station is known to be a lucky spot for love and good luck, as its name literally means “happiness”. About 100,000 people visit this station annually for good luck, and many believe the Kofuku ticket sold there is an amulet of fortune. Keep reading to learn about Kofuku Station.
About "Kofuku Station"
Kofuku Station was built in 1956. It was on the JR Hiroo Line, which ran a distance of about 80 kilometers between Obihiro Station and Hiroo Station.
Steam locomotive train that once operated on the Hiroo Line
The Hiroo Line went out of operation in 1987, putting an end to the use of Kofuku Station as well. However, the station still remains, and is now a popular tourist spot as a “Station of Happiness”.
Origin of the name “Kofuku Station”
Kofuku Station sign
How did Kofuku Station get its unique name?
The area around the station is called Kofuku-cho (幸福町). Originally, the area was called Satsunai (幸震), which translates to “dry river” in Ainu, the language of the native people of Hokkaido.
Later, many people from Fukui (福井) prefecture began moving into the Satsunai area. They then took the kanji (character) for happy, 幸 from Satsunai, and the kanji for luck, 福 from Fukui, and put it together to create the town name of Kofuku 幸福, meaning happiness.
Kofuku Station’s popularity in the 1970s
After its opening in 1956, Kofuku Station began to gain popularity for its name. In 1972, Kofuku Station and Aikoku Station (meaning “country of love”), locating two stations away, were featured on a TV program. Since then, the popularity of the two stations have exploded.
Aikoku Station sign
The Hiroo Line was in deficit, and decided to use these two stations to promote the line. The ticket from Aikoku to Kofuku (愛国から幸福行き) ended up selling extremely well.
In one year, over 3 million “Happiness Tickets” were sold (as compared to 7 from the previous year)!
The 2 stations as a “lovers’ sanctuary”
Unfortunately, the Hiroo Line never successfully recovered from their deficit. However, even today, Kofuku Station and Aikoku Station are visited by many as a sacred spot for lovers.
In 2008, the two stations were designated officially as a “lovers’ sanctuary”. “Lovers’ sanctuaries” are special spots that are chosen nationwide as romantic spots that are fit for proposals.
Aside from Kofuku Station, there are over 100 other of these spots. You can check them out here on the Lovers’ Sanctuary Homepage.
Sights to see at Kofuku Station
Here are some sights to see at Kofuku Station.
Kofuku Station building
This station building was used as a waiting room when the Hiroo Line was in operation. In 2013, it was renovated to make it sturdier, but still retains its retro vibe.
Inside the station building
Inside the station building, photos, business cards and more of those who have visited are attached all over the walls. If you want to put something on the wall, make sure to bring your own thumbtack.
The station signs still remain, too. At Kofuku station, there is a sign at the platform and in front of the station.
The one in front of the station was made for visitors to take photos with.
Take your pictures here!
On the sign, “Kofuku” is written in both Japanese and English. An enlarged Kofuku ticket is there too, making it the perfect photo spot.
Kofuku-no-kane (Bell of Happiness)
Kofuku-no-kane, or Bell of Happiness
Between the station building and the platform, you can find the Kofuku-no-kane, or Bell of Happiness. Ring the bell for luck and love!
Platform and diesel train car
The platform and diesel train car
At the platform, you can see the diesel train car that was used when the Hiroo Line was in operation. Since the tracks are no longer in use, you can walk on them.
In front of the platform, you can find the Kofuku-eki-mae Garden. There, flowers blossom throughout the seasons.
At Kofuku Station, there are some seasonal events. Here are some that you can check out:
Kofuku Station Happy Ceremony
A couple in wedding attire
Between late April and November 30, the Kofuku Station Happy Ceremony is held. During this time, you can rent out wedding dresses and tuxedos and have a wedding experience at Kofuku Station.
You can ring the Bell of Happiness, take photos by the station and more during this event.
Visit Aikoku Station too!
Aikoku Station locates about a 15-minute drive away from Kofuku Station. Many visit these two stations together.
The station building at Aikoku Station is now used as a memorial hall (Aikoku Traffic Memorial Hall). Inside are displays of tickets and cars from back in the day.
In front of the station building, there is a monument in the shape of a ticket. This is a popular photo spot amongst visitors.
One of the most popular souvenirs you can buy at Kofuku Station is the Kofuku Ticket.
You can buy replica tickets and key chains at the station souvenir shop, or you can buy them online on Kofuku Station’s official site.
You can use the Kofuku ticket and key chain as good luck charms.
Visit Happiness Station for luck and love!
If you’re looking for happiness, luck or love, visit Kofuku Station. Visit with a loved one to wish for happiness for the both of you!
39-40 Kisen, Aikoku-cho, Obihiro-shi, Hokkaido
9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. * Steam Locomotive tours unavailable between December and March
Mar. to Nov.: Open daily Dec. to Feb.: Open only on Sundays