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The Royal House: An Abandoned House

The Royal House: An Abandoned House

A house in the middle of the forest is reminiscent of the adventures of Hansel and Gretel. This one is unfortunately not made of  gingerbread, but maybe we will discover an old witch and her stupendous stories? Here it is, The Royal House, known in Japanese under the name of  Karei Naru Ichizoku (華麗なる一族  – A Majestic Family).

Royal House - In the wood

The Royal House.

The location of this house is kept very secret, in order to protect the artifacts it hosts.The garage has already collapsed  and the kitchen is in a filthy state. Only the floor seems a bit spare, but it will probably crumble  because of the lack of support on the ground floor. It  was apparently built in 1948, and before our eyes, seems to be abandoned for at least some ten years.

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Royal House Haikyo

Many trees fell on the house, destroying windows and a part of the roof. Since then, the moisture has infiltrated everywhere: wood – which makes the main structure – has become very spongy, and plaster on the walls outside is covered with mold.

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Royal House Entrance.

But in this decay, this house has a past rich in stories. The experience is like opening a history book whose leaves disintegrate and other are missing … want to find out more? Let’s discover! An entrance  on the side of what was to be the garden. This is where the adventure begins.

Royal House - Entrance

A door which is not opening; But the window, it does!

A welcome rather traditional for a haikyo: a doll in a kimono. The ground floor comprises a large dining room and a small kitchen, behind.

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Royal House.

Just the dining room is an amazing discovery. Two old Tv sets,  lots of small objects, a huge panda with the skull smashed …

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Dead Panda.

There is a gaping hole in the middle of the room…

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Cozy Room.

 

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Royal House

The kitchen is in even more precarious state than the rest. I tried to move a little but I sank suddenly by 50 cm. Too bad, I would have liked to have a look in the refrigerator. There would have been perhaps food, expiration dates, signs of a past life?

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Royal House

In the kitchen, there is a third TV set. This is the first in the range of Sony Trinitron (KV-1310)! A model dating from 1968. FYI, it is not stuck to the ceiling, is the picture that is upside down.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

We climb the stairs. The floor is fortunately much more stable and we can move without problems. And  there are two rooms, rich in treasures … and at the entrance of  the first, a picture of an old Japanese woman.  A little further on, another door. Surely it is the bathroom (there must be one!).

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

Further, on the ground, the photo of an old stranger, a cigar at his  fingertips and a glass of wine and of beer in front of him. Did he live here too? Let’s give it a name: the “Gaijin” (foreigner in Japanese).

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Royal House

The first piece looks like an office. Difficult to see clearly:  the forest around the house is so dense that, despite the three large windows, the room is very dark. Bedding is stacked everywhere. As if someone had wanted to put everything away, everything preparing to be ready…

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Royal House

The house has clearly not been abandoned overnight. Here, a strange box is revealing itself to the right of the office with a message attached…

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Royal House

Can I use the term “kitsch” for an old abandoned house?

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Royal House

 

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

This box was apparently the home of a bird by the name of “Po-Po-Chan.” It is written that the animal died in 1979. The box is surrounded by a wrapping paper from the Okura Hotel, a renowned hotel situated in the center of Tokyo.

Royal House - Po-Po-Chan box

The box of Po-Po Chan.

We do not have much time, and the house is too rich in objects, letters, trinkets, souvenirs… difficult to find a direction vector.

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Royal House

Drawers full of memories, postcards, letters, bills, photographs, we find everything…

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But while searching, we end up finding  this picture, particularly striking: The Gaijin in the company of the Queen of England! Naturally, after that, it’s difficult not to ask questions!

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Royal House

We  leave the room to head to the other one. Against the door of the supposed  toilet is  an old radio / phonograph. It is an Admiral 6S12 and it is from 1951.

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Royal House

The second room  is more like a traditional Japanese bedroom with tatami mats on the floor. Here also, a lot of objects can be found. Unlike the latter, these ones seem even older.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

A fourth TV is here! Impossible to find any information about it. It is a Colombia De Luxe “Black Daylight ‘. But certainly not the cheap kind. This family lived in luxury!

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Above the TV there is another doll in a better shape than the one found on the floor of the entrance.

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Royal House

And on the floor, the painting of a scary old lady. Let’s name her  “Okasan” (mother in Japanese). Let’s summarize: the Gaijin, a bird and the old Okasan. I should also add: 4 TV’s and the Queen of England. Luxury, privileged connections, but what is the history of this place? Not to mention the bird swinging only in the middle.

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Royal House

Another interesting discovery is that of a video viewer. It would be so amazing to use it to understand the history of the Royal House!

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Royal House

In the room there is also a Butsudan in honor of Okasan. There is also a picture where she looks very weak, just opposite.

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Royal House

Near  Okasan, we can find  also a picture of “Po-Po-Chan.” He seemed to be dear to the old lady.

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Royal House

To the right of the room  there are plenty of old photos. Probably ‘Otosan’ (Father) on the left. A photo of the Japanese royal family behind.  Next,  a young child. Then two other pictures  in the back.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

The presence of this frame is interesting. The former Emperor Hirohito. The invasion of China and the atrocities that are perpetrated, its alliance with Nazi Germany, and as a result two atomic bombs on his country, he has quite a track record. There is also the current Emperor Akihito in this photo,  in  the middle (child at the time).

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Royal House

No idea who this child in the photo below, let alone the two men behind. Could it be that the man with round glasses is simply Otosan? And younger in the small photos?

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Royal House

Certainly, strange things happened here, the place is not in a state quite normal. But what?

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Royal House

There are many bags of the Okura Hotel. This hotel must be a place the family visited very often. And what about this letter “Happy Birthday” set against the lamp? Why is it highlighted?

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

This wooden box with the seal of the Japanese Imperial House is also very strange. Unfortunately, not much we can find inside it except…

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

…an old document written in Japanese, with the seal of the Imperial House! It happens to be an official document dictating the imperial rules at school. Students were asked to memorize and recite. This text was banned after the 2nd World War. A relic!

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Royal House

Bank notes can also be found in the house. Old coins, old bank notes  of 1,000 yen and… very small bank notes 100 yen!

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Royal House

A little further down the hall, there  is another picture of our Gaijin, an actor or businessman who has certainly succeeded. He is also younger here than on the other photo.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

I did not notice before, but at the main entrance of the house there are a lot of packages and bags stamped Okura Hotel. Again! And once  again a letter “Happy Birthday”.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

I do not have time to look out for  more information but here is a French card sent from London in 1960, “Mom, everything is going well in London.” Signed Sugiko. Address (deleted via Photoshop) is that of the house. Most of the other letters I found in the house  are addressed to Kiyomi, directly at the Okura Hotel. We add two Japanese to our history, Sugiko and Kiyomi.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

It is time to leave the place. I will have some homework to do after I go back; gathering information to understand the story. I will search for things on the internet, but I will also go around Tokyo to find clues. Later on, the links between the parts of story will become clear for sure!

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Royal House

But we will have to go back to this old house deep inside the forest… and perhaps this time the mysterious locked door will open…

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

…and will set free its dreadful secrets!

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, ruin, urban exploration, urbex

Royal House

This is the end of my introduction of the Royal House. An article will follow in the coming days with a new adventure in search of truth and (very) many new facts! In the meantime, thank you for sharing your feelings on this article (positive or negative) and especially your ideas and assumptions about the history of the house and family! 🙂

Ready for the story of the Royal House?  Here it is.

  • Kristina

    Amazing storytelling skills you have! Thank you so much for this interesting article, enjoyed it very much.

    • Thanks a lot Kristina, I am glad you like this article. You really have to read the following one though, it is the most interesting 🙂

  • LVRichardson

    Very interesting. Abandoned dwellings seem commonplace in Japan. What would account for a dwelling to be abandoned and all the articles left inside, virtually undisturbed? Who would do that, and why? And why are not the objects removed at some point? Many of these things appear to be in good condition. In the U.S. we have many antique stores, rummage stores, thrift stores, etc., which would accept these items for re-use. Not in Japan?

    • They are mostly emptied when people leave, but in the case of death, the dwellings are left as they were, with all the belongings inside. You see a lot of old Japanese people living alone in a house, by themselves, with less and less friends and no children, no family left. Once they die, it happens often that the body is not even retrieved for years…

      Then of course now this house is visited by people like us (“urban explorer”) but we are not supposed to steal or even touch anything. In Japan this is very respected. That’s why, everything will stay here forever, until they really need the land for something else, which is unlikely to happen.

      The story of this house is slightly different, did you read the following article? http://totorotimes.wpengine.com/urban-exploration/the-royal-house-a-journey-to-the-past/

      • LVRichardson

        I had not seen it. Thank you for sharing it! I reviewed every word and every picture. You obviously went to a lot of trouble and work to document this time-line. I was not aware of the Japanese custom of leaving homes abandoned in this way. It’s a strange custom by my Euro-American standards. 🙂 I see so many things others would enjoy and find useful. I guess nature just gets to cover them up and take them back to the earth, somehow.

        • Nature is taking over, slowly but surely. It’s a matter of a very few years before this house is completely covered by trees and moss 🙂

  • Tiago Pereira

    Awesome! I must say… I feel rather envious of you people 😉

  • James

    There is something terribly sad but beautiful about this house. I hope it is not disturbed too much by this blog alerting people to it’s presence. The house is like a grave yard of memories and people’s things. It’s never good to disturb a grave. Although I loved these pictures I can’t help feeling Is there no privacy even in death?

    • Yes I know. I felt both terrible and awesome writing this article. Those were complex feelings, but I had to write everything down anyway. This family and its story will never be forgotten, maybe we could call this a virtual graveyard, filled mostly with happy memories. I think this is still way much sweeter than an actual autopsy…

  • sam

    wow i simply loved this. it made my day and im truely envious. I understand being respectful but i must say i would be hard for me to not take a treasure, such interesting documents and such, but i know to take only photos, leave only foot prints, and i must say by seeing this and your other photos im suprised and delighted that it seems japanese do not graffiti the abandoned. such a treasure to find and a mystery, how exciting. You should really publish a book of your explorations ..photos and info findings.

    • Some people say that, especially girls actually 🙂 It’s true the place has so many things you’d like to steal, but when you’re part of this “haikyo circle”, this hobby, you can’t avoid to respect everything around you. As for me, you would also get angry if you see people lacking respect 🙂 That’s because we are in love with the hobby, and in love with those places. We want them to be left untouched, forever. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for this house.

      I am preparing a few books actually (3 around this theme), but they will be in French at first 🙂

  • Michael

    Bonjour , je découvre ton formidable site. J’ ai de la curiosité pour l’ urbex , cette sensation etrange de revenir dans le passé. J’ aime beaucoup aussi ton approche respectueuse , en ne prenant rien pour respecter l’ âme des lieux et par respect pour ceux qui y ont vécu. Hélas de nos jours nombreux sont ceux qui auraient pillé.

    Une question: qui était cette famille? De la famille royale? Je ne suis pas bilingue et ne comprends pas tjs ce qui est écrit en anglais.

    Concernant l’ urbex , j’ ai bien envie de m ‘y initier car je connais quelques spots en bourgogne , en particulier des usines déaffectés. Si ça t intéresse pour de prochanes visites , je peux te donner les adresses.

  • Janne Flinck

    I visited this summer 2013, it was so much worse state, floor was collapsed on downstairs and tree had fallen over the house.. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.174534396057870.1073741843.157936061051037&type=3 i will be posting more photos soon.

    • Mmm, it was actually like on my first visit. But the whole house collapsed a bit more since then, especially the first floor.

      • Janne Flinck

        Shame.. i wonder is it worth visiting anymore.. i wish i had some as good photo target or several, so i had excuse to go back in Japan, but i would really need google maps coordinates, cause my time is limited on vacations like that, when searching this house, i had coordinates, but i still managed to get lost in that area 🙂 but let me know, if your willing to give me some locations, but i think nara dreamland, is too risky, i dont want to have tickets.

  • Ellie

    Those two round dolls by the sequin bag, what are they? My grandmother recently found the exact same two dolls at a garage sale and got them for me. She has only sent pictures, but they look exactly the same. I’ve never seen dolls like them before…
    Do you know anything about them?

  • Spiny Norman

    So sad to read the first chapter again when you know the last. Well, it was all crumbling, but still. Almost better if it had been robbed, than destroyed… 😮
    (Was the red sony machine a kind of video recorder? I didn’t know they had them like that, I thought they were large and cumbersome and black or chrome coloured. It might have been possible to play back that tape reel somewhere. Well, too late now!)

    • The house is still alive, I went back 4-5 months ago! You can see a photo of it with a friend of mine posing in my most recent article (best of abandoned places 2014). Unfortunately, the inside became a real mess… The machine was a video player I believe. I would have loved looking at the films but maybe I shouldn’t 😉

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Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.

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