Watermelon Bus Stop

Konagai, Japan | C.1990

Photo Credit: Courtney Scheffler

For over 34 years, National Route 207 has been as “delicious” as it is beautiful. Wandering along the winding coastal lanes of Konagai, a passerby may discover a surprising jolt of color to an otherwise ordinary scene: giant fruit. These “succulent” structures, depicting various fruits, dot the roadside of this suburb, a playful reminder of a great global exposition once hosted 450 miles away.

Inspired by the Osaka Travel Exposition in 1990, these whimsical bus stations were part of a national trend of smaller fairs dotting Japan due to the success of the expo. Running for six months, the exposition in Osaka attracted almost 23 million visitors, and small townships like Konagai wished to capitalize on the huge influx of tourism. Straightforwardly named “Nagasaki Journey,” fruit bus stations were erected throughout the coastal town to put it on the map. 

Multiple fruity stations dot the road on the way to the expansive Japanese city of Nagasaki. A melon and strawberry sit across each other with the road between them, a watermelon rests by a quiet intersection, and even a tomato is represented among the various fruit stops (controversial we know). 

For those fortunate enough to ramble past or even enjoy shelter in these charming fruit bus stations, they are a joyous addition to any journey in Japan. The jury is still out, however, on whether sitting in Konagai’s apple station each day does keep one’s doctor away.

Written By: Seamus McMahon

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