Changes are like dominoes.
A shift in economics can force a change of lifestyle that drives people to the cities and clears out whole villages. Building a new major road can leave old byways crumbling and forgotten (which was basically the plot of Pixar’s Cars). Evidence of both of these phenomena can be seen along Route 303 with almost abandoned villages in the woods off to the side, and forgotten winding roads that haven’t been used since more direct tunnels were driven through the hills,
According to the book this place was in operation until a severe storm caused so much damage that the cost of repairs was too great for the owners, since then it’s just been left standing with minimal supervision; it is also listed, in the book, as one of Japan’s top haikyo spots. Even from a distance it was easy to tell that this was going to be an impressive site. Far bigger than anything we’d previously explored.
Tom Waits once claimed he’d ‘seen it all through the yellow windows of the evening train‘, so chance are that along with Emirin’s house he might well have seen this place too as it’s just one stop down the line.
This place got me both curious and cautious as although it looked distinctly run down it was in a very visible location, right by the train tracks, and surrounded by other buildings.
Another house with a story today, I first spotted this place from a train and determined to head back and check it out as soon as possible. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I got the chance to go back and explore. Even then it ended up taking two visits to go through, figure out and photograph this place.
The first thing I noticed here was how nice the garden must have been. Lanterns dotted the undergrowth, and a stone bridge crossing a dry stream bed that run down to a leaf filled pond. It all seemed quite grand for a regular Japanese house.
‘Hotel Penthouse’ which we spotted in a frozen field in the middle of winter, and a nameless place that’s both overrun and easily overlooked – despite being right next to a main road.
Although the find dates were a month apart, neither site was that huge so I’m going to bundle them together in a thematic double bill. Enjoy.
This is the third and last report from an epic day of exploring that started in the industrial site, took in a very derelict fish farm and ended up in a typical Japanese style house in a small village.
This is probably the most common kind of haikyo you’ll find in rural Japan, empty houses are 10 a penny it seems sometimes. I’ve stopped to check out a few before, but usually there no way in without resorting to forced entry (which isn’t something I want to try) but sometimes you get lucky.
Today is partly a direct ‘what-happened-next’ continuation of my last haikyo post, and a bit of a clearing out of my haikyo cupboard – showcasing a range of smaller sites and finds that are interesting, but don’t deserve dedicated posts. So here they are – the not-quites and almost-weres.
The remains of this fish farm, that I found cycling back from the industrial site, are a good example. Most of the buildings are gone and just the bare bones are left now.