Haikyo – The Basics
What does Haikyo mean?
Haikyou is a cover-all term used to describe any abandoned place. From recently bankrupt hotels to decaying ruins; like this one on the banks of Lake Biwa. Japan has a wealth of these places, being a post economic boom society with a declining population, they stand as evidence of Japan’s more prosperous and populous past. Domestic, leisure and industrial ghosts that haunt the villages and cities of Japan.
Why are people interested in these places?
Interest in Haikyo boomed along with a general increase in Urbex (Urban Exploration) a few years ago. People have their own reasons for seeking out these places but some of the most common ones include documenting places that might not be there much longer, photography and sheer adventure. For me it’s something I’ve always done even beore I knew there was such thing as Urbex old empty building always attracted me, but only recently have I begun taking pictures.
How do you find Haikyo?
In Japan it’s not too difficult they are everywhere, but locations of the best ones can be hard to find. There is ‘the book’, well-known to Urbexers here that lists the top 200 haikyo in Japan with location maps, however since it’s publication the increased number of people visiting these places has resulted in a lot of vandalism and frustrated owners levelling the places so they don’t exist anymore.
As a result many Urbexers don’t give away too many detail on their blogs about exact locations and just share information together; though with a bit of research you can usually work it out for yourself. Still making connections and sharing information is the best way; don’t ask me, I’m still a beginner and am just making those connections myself.
Of course the other way is to just get out there and explore, of course it’s nice to visit the big famous places but there are probably lots of smaller interesting places all around you; just like these places in and around my town. One of my aims here is to try and also document some of these smaller places skipped over by other blogs I’ve seen.
Remember these are places that have been abandoned and as such are not always safe to go into. Common hazards might include low visibility, broken glass, rusted metal, collapsing floors/walls/celings etc. Take a sturdy pair of shoes, gloves, a light, a partner (always safer) and some common sense.