Other animal stationmasters in Japan
Regular readers of this site are well aware of Tama, the stationmaster cat that has drawn thousands of tourists to Wakayama and boosted the local economy by an estimated 1.1 billion yen. This post is about two other rural railways that have officially appointed animals as stationmasters in an attempt to copy the success of Tama.
First we have Maron, a Yorkshire terrier who is the stationmaster of Okunakayama-Kougen Station on the Iwate Ginga Railway Line. Those who prefer dogs to cats will probably find Maron a more appealing stationmaster than Tama, and he does seem to have the advantage of being able to wear a cooler uniform. Earlier this month, Kodansha published a photo book for Maron fans, and they’ve also made him a fancy official homepage (complete with a Stationmaster Maron movie).
The other animal stationmaster is Bus, who works at Aizu Ashinomaki Onsen station on the Aizu Railway in Fukushima. Bus, a stray cat taken in by railway workers 9 years ago, spends most of his days sleeping in the station’s waiting room. Since naming Bus a stationmaster earlier this year, the railway has reported a 6.3% increase in ridership. They’ve also started selling Bus keychains and have launched an official Bus blog.
Below is an FTV news report about Bus that includes footage of the other two famous stationmaster animals:
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