Years ago I read this book, The Devil of Nanking. The story revolves around a western girl traveling to Tokyo because she is obsessed about finding this Japanese WWII film footage. I won’t get into the story but one of the key plot points was that she was staying in this abandoned building in central Tokyo. Now that always struck me as weird as property in central Tokyo is in short supply and pretty sought after. It doesn’t make sense to have an abandoned building in central Tokyo but, as I’ve talked about many times, making money and Japan don’t always go together.

As the years have wore on, and I got to know the city, I’ve ended up stumbling across abandoned buildings, boarded up, often for years. These blocked off concrete blocks sit empty while nature slowly reclaims them. Sometimes they are in quite luxurious neighborhoods where it doesn’t make sense to have this property just sitting and not making money. Yet this is Japan where things can get forgotten, even things that have the potential to bring in Yen hand over fist.

The Kichijoji Castle

- Google Map

The Kichijoji Castle is a house that is right next to one of the best parks in Tokyo, Inokashira Park. It has been boarded up for at least 10 years and even though it sits on some of the choice real estate in Tokyo no one has touched it … except for some kids who probably explore its, and each others, depths in the darkest of nights.

kichijoji castle
kichijoji castle2
kichijoji castle3

Daikanyama Dilapidation

- Google Map

Daikanyama is one of the trendiest areas of Tokyo. This is where the rich and hip Japanese go to buy $300 jeans and sip $14 fruito soy milk lattes. Yet among all the glitz and glamour sits this apartment block. Resting right next to the beautiful cherry blossom lined Meguro river it has about twenty bachelor pad units that could easily rent for $1000 a month. Yet it sits empty, left to the elements while its owners piss away tens of thousands of dollars a month in rental income. Google Maps seem to show people living in it when they drove the map car through in 2009 but its been empty for at least a couple of years.

Daikanyama Dilapidation
IMG_0073[1]
Daikanyama Dilapidation3

Forgotten Factory

- Google Map

This warehouse / factory looks like its been sitting there for decades. Out front among the ivy is some machinery that looks like it was last used during the start of the industrial revolution. Yet this building is right next to Temple University’s Japan Campus in the heart of Azabu-Jūban a residential neighborhood where foreigners constantly out bid each other to live in some tiny bachelor pad.

Temple
Temple2

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Throughout Japan’s long history there have been many ups and downs. All across the country are various cities, mega-projects, or attractions that have been abandoned to the wilds. One site meow.fr has tried to document these decaying wastelands.

Gunkanjima, Hashima Island

Geo Coord

Gunkanjima, Hashima Island is located near Nagasaki.  A coal island on top of a mine a few kilometers from Nagasaki, it was actually damaged in the Atomic Bomb blast.  When the mine was operational thousands of people lived on the island in tightly packed apartment buildings in one of the densest population centers in Japan.

Hashima Gunkan Postcard

Long since left to rot, the island is actually forbidden to enter but of course “where there is a will there is a way” and here are some pictures by some people who snuck onto the island.

Gunkanjima now courtesy of meow.fr

Gunkanjima now courtesy of meow.fr

Infamous Gunkanjima Stairway To Hell

Infamous Gunkanjima Stairway To Hell

Nara Dreamland (奈良ドリームランド)

Geo Coord

In 1961 Disneyland opened a theme park, Nara Dreamland, near Nara Japan. It survived almost four decades before shutting its doors in 2006. Meow.fr broke in and took some images that were later HEAVILY colorized.

Nara Dreamland in 2005 before it closed

Overgrown entrance courtesy of meow.fr

Overgrown entrance courtesy of meow.fr

The huge wooden roller coaster Aska

The huge wooden roller coaster Aska lying unused and forgotten courtesy of meow.fr

Main Street

Mitsubishi Osarizawa mine

Geo Coord

The Mitsubishi Osarizawa mine has a history of 1300 years penetrating the hallowed depths of the netherworld. Closed in 1978 it is probably your one stop for all cancer needs but that didn’t stop some crazy kids from breaking in and taking some pics.

Osarizawa Mine was discovered in 708. Mitsubishi managed it from 1889.It produced 4.4tons of gold,155tons of silver and 300,000 tons of copper until its closure in 1978.Now a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation opens for public for sightseeing.

Company meeting room or LOST center?

Company meeting room or LOST center?

Blue Pools

Gamer vs Ruin Porn

Meow.fr also has another site called haikyo.org (Japanese for ruins) that has some AMAZING pictures of more decay and some great interviews with other ruin navigators!

Ikumi

Ikumi the girl you want on your side during Zombie Apocalypse

Big Ben in Ruins

This is what Big Ben will look after 28-days-later goes down

Somewhere around here is a hidden 1up

If you like this try these:

donut heads Cute vs Sexy The best Star Wars behind the scenes yet Making friends in Japan yoji watanabe building
Japanese Donut Heads Cute vs Sexy The best Star Wars behind the scenes yet Making Friends in Japan The architectural greatness of Watanabe-San
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