The Puchicalator – Kawasaki, Japan - Atlas Obscura

The Puchicalator

The world's shortest escalator doesn't seem to have any reason to exist other than to hold a world record. 


Many of the entrants in the Guinness Book of World Records are there because they were built for a practical purpose and just happen to be bigger, smaller, or somehow more efficient than any other kind of that thing in the world. Then there are entrants like the World’s Smallest Escalator, which seem to exist simply to hold the title.

Located in the basement of More’s Department Store in Kawasaki, Japan, the little escalator, known as the “Puchicalator,” only takes people one way: down. But thankfully it’s not a super big deal if that wasn’t the direction you had in mind, because it is only five steps long. The quintet of ever-revolving stairs helps people descend a staggeringly small 2.7 feet down to another landing that must then be descended manually. Opposite the escalator side, separated by a guard rail are just your regular old steps, which are probably a great deal faster than the automated stairs. A ruler built into the wall confirms the seemingly useless height of the people mover.

The reason behind the escalator’s construction is unclear, as it seems like a staggering waste of planning and resources to create such a small bit of “convenience.” However, no matter the reason for the escalator’s creation, it managed to earn the Guinness World Record for shortest escalator, an honor which it proudly advertises via a large sign right next to the stairs. It might be small, but it is definitely unforgettably strange.

It is possible that one may have broken their legs, only for them too heal before reaching the final landing, or maybe shopping in the mall is so tiring that customers requested that brief respite on their way to their cars. The world may never know why the Puchicalator was built. But it makes for one of the more unique sites in a country full of them.  

Know Before You Go

The escalator can be located in the hall connecting the B1 grocery floor of More’s with JR Kawasaki station’s Exit 29. To find it, either head from the station through the Azalea shopping center or descend the staircase that is across from Kawasaki DICE to enter More’s.

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