abandoned, car, chubu, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, transport, transportation, urban exploration, urbex, yamanashi

15 Best Abandoned Places in Japan 2012

We are heading into the new year of 2013, regretting not to have the world ended all together in 2012. Thus I am put together my favorite 15 Haikyo (ruins) in Japan, to remind us that the world is never too far from its final end. And for each of them I chose a HDR photo. Anyone who wants to claim their money back already please feel free. But why not give post-processed photos a chance? After all, those abandoned places can never look more dramatic than what they really are.

15. Abandoned Bunkers

The first haikyo I picked was the long lost bunkers on a beach. The weather was complementary, with a raging sea and dark sky. You would actually wonder whether this is where it all ends. But far from it, the beach was actually found in our travel paradise Hokkaido. Known for its delicious food, boundlessly beautiful lavender fields, snow and onsen, it is hard to believe such a scenery actually exists.

Bunker Ruins Haikyo 2012
Abandoned Bunker.


14. The School of The Neko Brain

This picture was taken when I found myself more or less bored in an old Japanese school, nothing around was worth shooting. Luckily, my Japanese comrade pointed out this room full of (parts of) animals soaked in formaldehyde! Don’t you find this cat’s nerve system amazing with a touch of the setting sun?

Nervous Neko School Haikyo 2012
School of the Nervous Neko.


13. Tenkaen : The Abandoned Chinese Park

It was beautiful, nice, there were flowers everywhere. The visit was quiet, relaxing and ‘original’. It was definitely not a place that worth more than 1 visit, but we managed to make some good memories out of it. After all, it was my first haikyo in Hokkaido.

Tenkaen Haikyo 2012


12. The Royal House

We loved it and dug out all its secrets; then we hated it, too haunted by its stories. But a year and a half later, I ventured another visit: the half collapsed house was in worse status than before, scoundrels have plundered every single room. It was a horrible visit, but the emotions remained all the same.

Royal House Haikyo 2012
The Royal House.


11. Midori No Sono

A sad looking nursery school, abandoned for almost 20 years, a garden full of stinky grass, nothing worthy of exploration…But finally, we’re in the middle of the owner’s dining room, where everything still in its original place, even the tea cup is filled with tea! Is the owner really gone?

Midori No Sono Haikyo 2012
Midori No Sono.


10. Nakagisuku Kogen Hotel

This hotel was built in 1970 but never completed. It is now a giant concrete skeleton that sits on the side of a small mountain in Okinawa, together with a even more famous castle ruin, this is a truly a paradise for tourists.

Nakagisuku Hotel Haikyo 2012
Nakagisuku Kogen Hotel.


9. Hospital of the Little Brain

Debuted in early 2012, it quickly became a haikyo celebrity, quite against the wish of the Japanese explorer who discovered it first. The doctor’s room and the operating room have the atmosphere interesting enough to achieve its high ranking on Haikyo. As a bonus, there is even a small brain for your key chain!

Little Brain Hospital Haikyo 2012
Hospital of the Little Brain.


8. The Ghost Clinic

I returned to this haikyo again nearly two years after my first visit, but I was surprised by its poor condition, and the darkness it possessed. But it is always going to be one of my favorite abandoned clinics.

Ghost's Clinic Haikyo 2012
The Ghost’s Clinic.


7. The Abandoned Dodge

A short hike in the rain took us into the mountain. On a slope of what looks like a forest firewall, there was the old abandoned Dodge, with a tree grown out of it. A fantastic set-up.

abandoned, car, chubu, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, transport, transportation, urban exploration, urbex, yamanashi
The Frozen Dodge


6. Shiraishi Mine

I visited this haikyo twice. I would have visited it even more if it was not taken down at the end of 2012. It was a decision of its owner, probably for safety reasons (which is understandable). Would you agree it being one of the best abandoned mines in Japan?

Shiraishi Mine Haikyo 2012
Shiraishi Mine.


5. Kuroshio Inn

This hotel was not pleasantly abandoned, thus I did not take any photos of its rooms. But the restaurant alone was worth the whole trip already!

Kuroshio Inn Haikyo 2012
The Kuroshio Inn.


4. Nara Dreamland

The abandoned amusement park requires no more introduction with its special atmosphere and the two gigantic roller coasters.  To make the visit even more interesting, the park security has been increased and more than two dozens of people were arrested during the last 6 months. I went there 3 times, one day for HDR, and the other two nights were spent at climbing the roller coasters. If one is determined to find some fault about this park, it could only be its lacking of a Ferris Wheel. But seriously, do you really dare saying that to this goddess of Haikyo?

Nara Dreamland Haikyo 2012
The Abandoned Attraction Park of Nara Dreamland.


3. Fuchu Military Base

Exploring the abandoned military base in Fuchu is dangerous but exciting. There are not many spots in Japan that can be count as urbex, and Fuchu is definitely one of them.

Fuchu Military Base Haikyo 2012
Abandoned Military Base of Fuchu.


2. Negishi Racecourse

Negishi! This name used to give me goosebumps … until that certain evening, when I arrived home, bleeding, clothes torn apart, but finally relieved. It was an unforgettable urbex victory! But it was too dangerous, too risky. I have exceeded my limit and almost ended my happy Japanese life. I will not go further than Negishi, this is for sure the most difficult haikyo.

Party Room at the Negishi Grandstand
Party Room!


1. Gunkanjima (Hashima Island)

Hard to make a list of the best haikyo, without mentioning the abandoned island of Gunkanjima. And it is difficult to rank other haikyo after that because the level is so different! I spent four amazing moments on this island: a first whirlwind tour almost lost on this island, the second one under a beautiful blue sky, and then under a starry night, the last one was in the pouring rain. These are my best memories of 2012.

Gunkanjima Haikyo 2012
Gunkanjima, the Abandoned Island.

This is the end of the haikyo ranking from 2012! Surprises? Favorites? Remarks? Questions about haikyo in general? Fire away!

This post is also available in: French, Japanese

Je m’appelle Jordy, I’m a French born at the south of Bordeaux and this is my website on which you’ll find my articles, software, and photography. I live in Japan so most of it will be about this amazing country and urban exploration.

  • Part of the movie Skyfall was filmed in Gunkanjima!

    • Actually not, everything was CG! It seems only the film director when on the island in order to… “get inspired” 🙂

  • dave

    your images are inspiring… very nice 🙂

  • Jennifer Koca

    Where do you find these haikyo? I have been wanting to get into it more, but am finding it very difficult to find solid information.

  • BernardV

    I have seen yours pictures of different haikyo, one word for describe them: fantastic!!!

  • AlexW

    Amazing pictures! I’ve been looking at abandon places recently when I came to see your photos of Nara Dreamland. Really cool to see the other places and there history.

  • michaeljohngrist

    That bunker at the top is an amazing shot. Never seen it before, but love it. All of these are good, actually. I wonder why you have all your haikyo on two sites, though? Sort of spreads out the views, I guess…

    • The two websites are actually quite different. Totoro Times is originally only in French, and has more stories, write-up, personal stuff, and it’s not focus on haikyo at all (if you check the french version, most articles aren’t about haikyo but traveling in general). I have a lot of ideas for Totoro Times future, and it’s not about urbex at all 🙂 Haikyo.org will always be about haikyo obviously, and I guess one day soon I will have to share it with the community, and will become less personal.

      • michaeljohngrist

        Ok, right, I never looked at the French side. In english, they looked largely the same to me (though I didn’t look deeply or anything.)

        And open to the community, you mean ask other people to post their finds on your site? It would be great if they were up for it. Probably not the place to talk about it, but I notice you don’t have any ads on any of your sites- are you not interested in that path?

        • Yes, since I think I will lose interest in haikyo pretty soon, I think I will let a few friends of mine posting new haikyo (Japanese people, everything will still have to be translated in English somehow).

          Ads? No way I will have them right now (except if it’s good link in the post or if they add a positive value). This is not my business, this is my hobby 🙂

          • michaeljohngrist

            Lose interest, ha, yeah, kind of what happened to me. Though just today looking at some of your and Tomboy Urbex’s photos got me re-enthused. We’ll see if it lasts to actually making a trip somewhere.

            Any ideas what you’ll do next, if not haikyo? Perhaps you want to build totoro times up to Danny choo-like levels? You could definitely make some money then 😉

          • Haha, strangely I almost stopped completely looking at other’s people article and photos. Today I was going through my photos taken in 2010 and 2011 and made me sick for some reason, I couldn’t appreciate any of them (too much trashed places, HDR, ugly hotels), I almost wondered what I was so excited at this time! I still like old clinics and schools but they really have to be awesome.

            Danny Choo level would be great, but surely not the style 😉 I’d like to visit the best-looking places of Japan and the world and post them all here ^^ Let’s see what I can achieve! I actually have something more precise in mind, maybe you can guess… knowing where I come from…

          • did you finally lose interest in haikyo after 2 years? 🙂

          • Did you see my post about my best haikyo in 2013? 🙂 But true, I didn’t write anything about 2014 yet… The main reason is that I re-developed the website from scratch! It is finished now but I am waiting for something else, the last piece of the new website 🙂

          • Actually I just saw you reviewed the Seahorse Clinic in December 2014. Or maybe it was written before but re-posted in 2014? 🙂 Which one is the best Haikyo you visited in 2013? Personally, I feel very hard to lose interest in haikyo, mainly for 3 reasons: 1) I love history and I feel each of these places always has a piece of charming (in good or bad) story that needs to be discovered; 2) I love photography and when I shoot such places each photo wanna say something; 3) I’m damn curious and I always wanted to know why such buildings became abandoned.

            I’ll be in Tokyo from 4th March to 11th March. I’m planning to have a look at the Doai station, Tomogashima island and perhaps Okutama ropeway near Saitama. Let’s see if I can get some nice shot too 🙂

          • Indeed, the Sea Horse Clinic is actually a 2014’s explore. But it seems you missed my post about my best abandoned place 2013 🙂 Look for it, it is on Totoro Times! And as we speak, I am preparing the 2014’s one.

  • ten’shi trash

    je suis une fois de plus sous le charme !
    un vrais plaisir pour les yeux <3
    je n'ai pas eu le temps de répondre par rapport a Marat ^^
    j’espère vraiment qu'il répondra à votre message et que vous pourrez travailler ensemble sur un projet !
    en tout cas bravo encore une fois je suis fan de votre travail =D

    • Merci beaucoup ! J’ai ajouté Marat à mon FB et je l’accueillerai les bras ouverts quand il viendra au Japon 🙂

  • chifnz

    Amazing and spine-chilling

  • emulj

    captivating at best!

  • FartyPants

    Am I the only person who enjoys violent diarrhea?

  • Diamanda Butcher

    im in love with your pictures. they are so amazing