In Japan, these days, social demand for the preservation and reuse of station buildings is growing. There are even examples of entire railway lines being registered as a network of cultural properties that includes station buildings and other related facilities as well, an approach that applies to advantage the character of a railway line. Meanwhile, registering station buildings as tangible cultural properties is also viewed as a regional opportunity. Expectations are high that more of these station buildings able to become symbols and tourism resources that contribute to regional activation will be preserved and conserved, for the sake of Japan's regional vitalization, hereafter.  Amid this social environment, this study specifically examines station buildings registered as tangible cultural properties throughout Japan. By looking at both station buildings still operating as stations and former stations which have been given new roles, it endeavors to clarify the architectural concepts of the stations when first built and their current conditions, and to contribute thereby to the preservation and reuse of stations in our country. This paper (1) reveals the current situation of railway stations registered as tangible cultural properties and studies the preservation and conservation of stations in the context of the entire railway line. First, the author makes clear the present overall picture of nationwide station buildings registered as tangible cultural properties—60 still in operation as stations and 16 closed and being used in new ways. The author presents an analysis of their locations and regions, structures and scale, and trends in criterion being taken as standards for registering operating station buildings and former station buildings, respectively.  Next, based on the field survey that was conducted of 20 tangible cultural property station buildings on three railways registered in entirety as networks of cultural properties (stations and related facilities)—Watarase Keikoku Railway (38 sites), Tenryu Hamanako Railway (36 sites), and Wakasa Railway (23 sites)— the author outlines their information on the current status of each station building’s preservation or conservation, and examine the characteristic features of each railway line.  Finally, the author undertakes comparative verification of the three railway lines and their tangible cultural property station buildings and reveal elements common to all three. The three railways all have base stations with head offices attached and facilities necessary for railway operation in the surrounding area. All are also single-story wooden buildings built before World War II. Then, all the station buildings, except Oomama station on the Watarase Keikoku Railway, basically remain in the form in which they were originally built. Moreover, the platforms of all the stations on the Watarase Keikoku Railway and Wakasa Railway are separately registered as tangible cultural properties, a fact that made me realize the importance of preserving facilities besides station buildings.  In terms of other functions currently established in the station buildings, some spaces in stations on the Tenryu Hamanako Railway and Wakasa Railway are actively employed as shops. Most display a plate that reads “Tangible Cultural Property,” a device I feel to be quite effective in the preservation and conservation of the buildings.  It is hoped this study will become a guidepost for considering the registration of existing station buildings as tangible cultural properties for preservation and conservation in the future.


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  • Accession Number: 01675509
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
  • Files: TRIS, JSTAGE
  • Created Date: Jun 30 2018 3:01PM