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.
Over the last couple of months Andrew and I have been slowly checking off all the sites in the book around Shiga Ken. Today we’re checking out #128 (p.185) and, as usual, without the benefit of any translation we have no idea what to expect, all we know is that it’s somewhere not far from the centre of Omi Hachiman.
As we draw close to the area that we figure it has to be in a huge black brick chimney slides into view above the other buildings. Brick isn’t a typical material in Japan (its dead weight isn’t something you want falling on you during an earthquake) and seeing brick usually suggests a historical or foreign (influenced) building – often both. Guessing that this must be what we’re here to see we park up and make our way across a rather industrial looking bridge and weir combo so see exactly what it is we’ve found.
Recently it’s seemed that the discovery of one haikyo naturally leads to the discovery of another. This site is only a short drive from the electronics factory and we found it during a bit of ‘Let’s find a haikyo’ driving after leaving the factory.
It was too late and too wet for a proper search that day, but we jumped over the barrier on the side road leading up to the site, scrambled over the mound of dirt that had been bulldozed into place to stop vehicles from going up, and quickly counted four or five buildings in the area. Then we went back to the car, marked the location for future exploration and went home. (more…)