The underground vault haikyo in the shadow of Mt. Fuji is one of the strangest abandoned structures I’ve yet explored. A double-doored double-walled walk-in safe with triple combination locks buried in a man-made mound in an unpopulated and obscure part of the Japanese countryside. Now its thick and weighty doors hang open and loose, and there’s nothing in the vault but for 5 odd logo/symbols on the wall, and no other clue as to its purpose but for the dedication in kanji on top of the dome- ‘in memory of our ancestors’.
Imposing entry hall to the vault.
I stumbled upon this bizarre spot by accident after exploring the nearby Resort Hotel. It was already getting late, the light was fading, and I almost passed the whole complex by in favor of getting an earlier train home. I’m glad I didn’t though, as buried between 2 spa/ryokan buildings and 4 mossed over tennis courts was this petite extravagance.
Visible from the nearby hotel haikyo.
At first I headed over to the tennis courts, shot through with reeds, then when heading back to look over the main buildings I saw the dome. It was fairly wide and also bearded with rushes. I stepped out on top and wondered what on earth it was. I saw a kanji dedication and figured it was just somebody’s idea of a memorial.
Above the dome.
‘To our ancestors.’
On a level with the vault.
I climbed into the nearby building and explored there- I’ll post about that next. From the roof though I could look down on the dome and see that there was actually an open entrance into it. I hurried on down.
The doorway led into the dome, down a short sheer concrete wall lichened green, with some light flowing in through the reinforced glass tiles in the ceiling. I turned the corner and was shocked to see the safe door, hanging half-open. I went to give it a tug- it was very heavy but opened smoothly as if oiled. Inside there was an empty space, and inside that another safe with thick walls. This one was open too.
The only light source.
This old thing was long dead.
Lo, a walk-in safe.
Three dials and a huge unlocking wheel.
3 dials of 90 points each. That’s incredibly secure.
Reverse of the locking mechanism.
On the inside were 5 strange logos/symbols on the wall. I’ve since asked lots of Japanese people if they recognize any of these, but nobody does. What are they? The central design, the red suns grinning, looks like something cultish. The blue one looks like a bank’s logo. The others- the top one may be the kanji for ‘winter’, the right one says- ‘big one’, and the left one I have no idea.
Do you know? ** UPDATE at bottom**
Standing (creeping myself out with thoughts of burial alive) in the vault mouth.
Besides that there was nothing inside. I didn’t want to step too far in or linger too long out of some irrational fear that someone might slip up behind me and slam the locks to all the safes closed with me inside, then I’d be trapped in a scenario out of the Saw movies- left with some hideous choice for survival.
I didn’t linger.
I made some short video of me going in and out:
** UPDATED **
We’ve since learned that the main logo belonged to a securities company called Sanyo, not the same one that produces tech. Lee of Tokyo Times unearthed a Sanyo company magazine bearing their logo in a nearby part of what was clearly their resort complex. The safe would doubtless have held important company papers, stocks, bonds, and etc.. It was probably a bit of a vanity thing to keep it themselves, in such a location, but I’m sure it impressed their investors.
Read through all the comments below to follow the investigative process.
Additionally, the red face logo (in the center) was surely put there by another haikyo explorer. I’ve seen the same thing in many haikyo all around Japan. It’s that explorer’s calling card I guess.
See more of MJG’s Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:
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You can also see a curation of world ruins in the ruins gallery.