Sports World was a large sports and water park in Shizuoka, Japan. It was opened in 1988, closed in 1996 after the company went bankrupt, lived on as a ‘haikyo’ or ruin for 14 years more years, then was demolished early in 2010.
It was my favorite haikyo in Japan, so it’s sad to hear that. It was one of my earliest explores, and also one of the most exciting- as I stayed in the abandoned hotel overnight. Hearing the news put me in the mood to make a retrospective post, in memorial. While sifting through the 3 trips I made there over the past 2 years, I came across lots of photos I never posted. Here are some of them.
The tubes shot from on top of the white water chute. You can see the red roofs of the hotel buildings at left.
I visited Sports World three times while it was still standing-
The first was in summer 2008– almost my first solo haikyo and first overnight haikyo stay. It was thrilling, strange, and of course beautiful.
My second trip was a fly-by visit with Canadian Mike tacked on to an autumn 2008 camping holiday in Izu. We arrived by car 30 minutes before sun-down, and it was very strange to walk so casually around a place I’d been so in awe of the first time.
The final time was in autumn 2009, when I returned with Mike and another explorer Paul, and I focused on HDR photos and looking for areas I hadn’t seen before.
It was my favorite haikyo because it was so big, so empty, and in such a beautiful location. On the last trip I just stood on top of the white chute ride and looked over the whole of it, breathing deep and feeling a weird kind of pride. Of course the place wasn’t mine to be proud of, but that’s the beauty of ruins. You can feel like it’s yours while you’re there, and since it’s a ruin there’s no-one to tell you otherwise.
Sports World circa 1990. At left are car parks, tennis courts, hotel and mini-golf course, center is the big wave pool, and right is the rapids and blue tubes.
Circa 2005 or whenever Google took this shot, rotated about 90 degrees.
That same shot topographically.
The main areas (as I see them) are circled in color. Area 1 is the entrance, BBQ hall, and wrecked cars. Area 2 is the hotel, gym, restaurant. Area 3 is the blue tubes, rapids, and white chute.
1. Entrance, BBQ hall, wrecked cars.
My first time in back in 2008 the main turnstile was thoroughly barb-wired off. I had to hunker down to slide underneath. My second visit, the wires were cut. My third, they were mostly all torn down.
White cloisters that would once have provided shade to queueing punters.
The view as of 2008.
On my first trip I only saw one side of the BBQ garden, the one that faced the main gate. I didn`t see the other side because there was a crew of people doing some kind of photo shoot, and I didn`t want to scare/disturb them by passing too close. On the second I went round, and saw the much more interesting graffiti-ed side.
The overgrown interior I saw the first time.
What I didn`t see the first time.
Overgrown interior view from the reverse. Fallen tables seem to be in about the same locations.
Round the side of the Game Center, beside the BBQ hall, were the wrecked cars. Two that were simply parked, and one that had been flipped. How was this car flipped? Did a group of people manually flip it? There hardly was room for anyone to get up enough speed to be able to roll it with a fast turn. Very odd.
The first time here I posed on each of the cars roofs. I think I`ll share that moment here.
No Mike posing 2009.
Mike posing 2008.
I stood on this one too. I`ll spare you all my posing shots though.
2. Hotel, gym, restaurant
My first time I spent the night in one of the hotel rooms. It was virtually untouched, nothing had been moved, though the balcony window had been slightly smashed in to gain access. I didn`t settle down til after 12, but lying there in the dark with nothing to do but listen to the weird screeching sounds coming from outside was maddening. The front door still locked, as did the balcony (though the glass beside the lock was smashed), but still I heaped up the chairs and furniture in front of them. I slept and had bizarre dreams of old high school friends breaking in to help me escape.
From the restaurant balcony, looking over the hotel blocks. In all that jungle is a big swimming pool.
From within the jungle, looking up to the hotel as though it’s a Mayan stepped pyramid.
Looking back towards the restaurant from the balcony of the room I stayed in. You can see the pool to the left.
What it looked like in its heyday.
Sun setting shot (sun off to the left slightly) over the restaurant balcony, from yet another room`s balcony.
3. Blue tubes, rapids, and white chute.
My first time to the park I found none of this, though I was there all night and most of the next day. The only way there was along a totally overgrown path that I took to just be more jungle, and not a path at all. My second visit I headed directly to it, and on my third blasted it with HDR.
The HDR tubes in B&W.
From amidst the tubes, looking over the white rapid run.
From alongside the rapids, looking up to the white chute and tubes.
And that`s largely it. All the other photos I took you can see on the three other posts I made on Sports World, linked below.
All that is except a few shots I took of some concept drawings of a potential future for Sports World, one that never came about. But who knows, perhaps in some alternate universe the plans went ahead, Sports World was saved, and these towers stand.
Sports World with grand towers.
Sports World with swan boats in the rapids.
Various concepts, presumably dug out as last ditch efforts to halt Sports World`s plunge into bankruptcy.
Sports World, RIP.
See the other posts on Sports World here:
See a curation of world ruins in the ruins gallery.
See my collection of Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:[album id=4 template=compact]