Archive for the 'Exploring Japan' Category

More Japanese Ruins

Monday, November 27th, 2006

japanese ruins, urban exploration, abandoned buildings, japan, ruin-japan, haikyo, ??

Ran across another nice Japanese page of urban ruins images today. They are all taken with a very perceptive eye for composition and a marked warmth of expression. Click on “?????” (gallery) on the left for the photos. And click “???” (link/s) for a huge list of other great jp ruins sites.

I should probably make some image posts with my own shots of various places, but I’ll have to come up with a nice format for that type of thing first…

Update: 11/29/06 Added more links from other sites, great stuff.

[Link][Link 2][Link 3][Link 4][Link 5][Link 6][Link 7][Link 8][Link 9]

Japan Urban Ruins Jackpot

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

urban ruins, japan ruins, abandoned buildings, abandoned amusement park, exploration

I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of months, waiting for the owner of the site to respond to my emails. Maybe his address is no longer valid, or my emails are getting filtered, but no response so far. I wanted to mirror his site on mine, and do English translations of his comments on each picture, but I haven’t heard from him to get permission, and I think this stuff is way too good not to be seen so I’ll just give you the link.

This is the largest collection of “urban ruins” pictures I have ever seen anywhere, and they just happen to be from Japan which pleases me to no end. They range vastly, from abandoned amusement parks, to refineries, to apartment blocks, to hospitals, schools, bowling alleys, and on and on and on. Not only are there tons of pictures, but they are all soulfully taken, with love for the environments and plenty of feeling. These kinds of things really give me that craving for exploration and discovery. I want to go to all of these places, and soak in their history. I want to understand the lives they lived, and the lives that were lived in them.

There are some gorgeous pictures in here, he even went to Gunkanjima, which was the subject of one of my first posts!
Click tsugihe (tsugi he) to go forward and modoru (modoru) to go back.


Manholes of Japan

Friday, January 6th, 2006


Here is some lovely art in what one would normally find a very unlikely medium: the manhole cover.


Modern Art Temple

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006


Happy New Year Anybody! Here’s an interesting article on PingMag about a modern twist on a very Japanese classic. Thomas Heatherwick, a lauded young UK designer, was asked to come up with a design for a buddhist temple to be built in Kagoshima, Japan: [Gmap]. They took him to Kyoto to see the temples that everyone thinks of when they think, “Oh, Japan is all about some temples.”; and (like in a Zen koan read with a British accent) he was enlightened… and decided to make something completely different. His design is earthy and flowing and not unlookinglike a splash of rock carved from sedimentary wood. To me it looks begging-to-be-climbed.



Sunday, December 18th, 2005


This is a treat from Japan for anyone who enjoys secret spots, abandoned or lost bits of civilization, anthropology, or just an interesting piece of history. This is Hashima Island. It was nicknamed Gunkanjima ??? (battleship island) because of the impression its high walls and skyline gave from the water. It’s a comparatively tiny speck of land off the country’s westernmost coast, [Gmap] but it has a fascinating and unique history.

Forty-odd years ago, this little blip was the site of the most densely populated community on earth. It was a coal-mining community complete with apartment blocks, schools, temples, drinking establishments, movie theatre, hospital, a brothel, and plenty of shopping. A self-contained community which at one point contained the tallest building in the whole of Japan, all built around a profitable mine.

Then one January day it was all over. Coal was no longer profitable enough to justify continuing the mine (thanks to the magic of petroleum), and the operation was closed down. Within a few short months not a single person remained. They left their tools where they had last used them, and their houses and belongings intact. Only the residents became conspicuously absent.

For someone who enjoys exploring abandoned spaces this seems to be a pretty much unbeatable locale. A fully intact miniature city; a modern ghost-town; a perfectly-preserved snapshot of an autonomous culture at a moment in history. The fact that it is an island that most Japanese don’t even know about, and that it requires a boat-ride and special permission to get there means that it is virtually untouched since the day the last worker left. Only time and the elements have continued to alter it.


Tokyo Underground

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

  Giant Future-looking Storm Drains of Tokyo  

Great pictures of huge stormdrain networks beneath Tokyo. Apparently the vertical shafts are large enough to accomodate a space-shuttle. It seems they have been under construction for over a decade, and should provide protection in the case of a tsunami/etc. Very future-looking.

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