Ruins of the USAF base Camp Drake in Japan

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Saitama 227 Comments

Camp Drake was a joint US Army/Air Force base in Saitama, active until the 1970`s. It contained a hospital which handled troops coming out of Vietnam and also a communications array. Now about half of it remains, an overgrown jungle with only a few remaining buildings set back behind several layers of fencing. The other half has been eaten up by parks and a junior high school.

Tanks in a shed by the commissary.

Camp Drake was one of my last haikyo to explore with Mike before he left for Canada last month. Compared to other US bases around Tokyo- those in Fuchu and Tachikawa, there wasn`t a lot to see, though of course we couldn`t know that until we ventured in. Access seemed harder than either of the other bases, but as ever there were weak spots. Once in though we had to climb one more fence, and actually crawl through a tiny hole cut into a third fence to get close to a building.

I don`t know why security was so tight, as there was very little to see. The main building remaining seems to have been a mess hall / commissary, and its now flooded, so we couldn`t explore inside. There were chairs and desks lying around in the jungle.

Mike got a bit bored/wary and decided to high-tail it, so I ventured forth and looked into one more building, kind of an industrial room- probably gas and/or hot water heaters. I know now there was another building deeper in with more industrial stuff, but we were on a schedule (headed for the Gan Kutsu cliff face hotel) so I didn`t take the time.

You can see more about Camp Drake on these sites-

About the 249th hospital.

About the barracks.

One man`s experience of it.

Guardpost after the second fence, before the third.

Guardhouse int.

Defunct moped.

Expired desk.

Do Not Enter – vault-like entrance to the mess hall / commissary.

Interior of what I think is commissary (because of COMM on the wall, yes- please correct me if wrong).

Some big troughs.


Lonely forest chair.

Back entrance.


Warehouse space.

Big forest flue.

Hole we crawled through.

Machine shed.

Tanks that remind me of Anakin`s racing pod.

Some HDR-ed engine.

Tanks BW.

See a curation of world ruins in the ruins gallery.

See my collection of Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:

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Comments 227

  1. The housing area close by was Grant Heights. Camp Drake had the AAFES Bakery that functioned well into the seventies. There was a commissary there at GH until it closed.

  2. My Dad went to Camp Drake at one time. I take it that lots of the old places aren’t there anymore.

    21 Dec 1951
    Reported to Camp Stoneman

    14 Jan 1952
    Camp Stoneman to Sea USNS Meigs

    29 Jan 1952
    Arrived Yokohama to Camp Drake

    31 Jan 1952
    Camp Drake to Calcote

    16 Feb 1952
    Calcote to Johnson AFB

    23 Mar 1952
    Johnson AFB to Calcote

    24 Mar 1952
    Calcote to Kaitakai Firing Range

    6 April 1952
    Kaitakai Firing Range to Calcote

    18 April 1952
    Calcote to Camp Gifu

    3 May 1952
    Camp Gifu to Calcote

    5 May 1952
    Calcote to Johnson AFB

    6 May 1952
    Johnson AFB to Tackicown to Misawa Airbase

    30 May 1952
    Misawa to Tokyo to Eta Jima

    1 June 1952
    Reported to Eta Jima

    25-27 July 1952
    Eta Jima to Tokyo to Misawa Airbase

    12 May 1953
    Misawa Airbase to Drake

    13 May 1953
    Arrived at Drake

    19 May 1953
    Left Yokohama

    Places like Tackicown, Calcote, Camp Gifu, and Kaitakai Firing Range. Anyone know if these places exist? Also, the spelling may be wrong on some of the names.

    Thanks in advance,
    AJ Broussard

  3. Was stationed at north Camp Drake, lived at Grant Heights 1970, 71, and 72. Often remember the club and “leapin’ Leo”. Saw some first-rate entertainers there. Lots of cold beer too. worked at the USAF relay communications center with some great people.

  4. Hey Tom,

    It’s been a long time and I don’t know how I missed your response. I do remember you. I sent an email to your Comcast account but in case that is no longer valid I’m responding here. My email is Drop me a line

  5. Ken Buggs worked in the comm center ASA from 67 – 69 with a tdy stint to Viet Nam, the picture owith the 2 rusty doors on the steps was the entrance to the comm center , the hospital there was huge and choppers landed every day with wounded from Nam. OUr barrackes was just down the street from the nurses barracks (( enough said).

  6. David, I remember you from ASA Camp Drake. I was there from 02/68 to 04/70. I remember the Corner Bar. One of the bar flies lived in my off base apartment for a while. I had a nice apartment in Yotsuya, not far from the Charcoal Inn. I’ve often considered going back to Tokyo for a visit. I too partied in Shinjuku and Roppungi. My Japanese language skills were pretty good, so I had more fun than I should have. Take care my friend.

  7. I worked for a summer at the aafes bakery on Camp Drake. Almost got sick of eating doughnuts. I am pretty sure it was the summer of 1971. Close by, there were warehouses full of BX goods. I lived at Grant Heights and went to Narimasu HS.

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