The beautiful ruined tubes of Sports World

Mike Grist Haikyo, Izu, Theme Parks 13 Comments

Sports World is probably my favourite haikyo in Japan. In an upcoming top ten list of ruins in East Japan I’m putting together, it will more than likely be number 1. It’s just so awesome. It’s massive, 20 years abandoned but relatively intact, and set in a really beautiful forested mountain area. There are creepy screaming monkeys/birds at night, models on fashion shoots by day, and all manner of ways to entertain oneself clambering, clowning, and investigating the rest of the time.

Blue tubes.

This was my third trip to Sports World. The first was 2 years ago, my first solo haikyo and kind of a watershed moment for me- still getting my head out of a past relationship and trying to figure out how to forge ahead. I went in at night after walking for an hour from the train station. It was pitch black as I wandered the huge grounds, looking for a place to pitch my tent. Every few minutes something like a dying pig would roar in the distance.

In the end I ensconced myself in one of the old hotel rooms- virtually intact- and went a little crazy barricading the doors and windows while waiting to go to sleep.

The next day the place was a gorgeous wonderland. I took many more photos then, more focused on exploring, and made three videos, one grave, one comical, and one deathly fictional.

You can see all that stuff here.

My second trip was a fly-by visit with Mike, via car, before it got too dark. That was the first time I saw the blue tubes- something I hadn’t even found the first time I went. You can see those shots and story here.

This time, Sports World capped a weekend trip into Izu to explore haikyo. We saw hotels, mining towns, and ancient hospitals, but afterwards everybody said Sports World was the best.

See Mike’s pictures here and Paul’s here.

And then my shots. I’m experimenting with various techniques, including HDR amongst others. If you prefer straight shots of exploration, see my earlier posts. Now I’m much more interested on trying to capture the striking nature of these places, to bring out the beauty.

Mountains, forests.

Dead cars. I didn’t climb on them, this time.

A wasp’s nest writhed just to my right. I hurried off.

Taro Aso, ex-Prime Minister, had approval ratings around 20% before he was ousted a few weeks ago.

Lie on a deck-chair and look into the jungle.

A strange smell in this place.

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Graffiti alley.

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I ran the middle route.

Sports World Tubes from Michael John Grist on Vimeo.


Location – Izu, Japan.

Entry – Easy, round a fence.

Highlights – Tubes, pool, vistas.


You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:

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Comments 13

  1. Post
  2. I’m not normally a fan of HDR stuff, but I think that, in this case, it’s perfect for portraying this location. The slides in particular look awesome – definitely the best shots of this location I’ve seen so far.

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  5. Is this place visible from around the train station? I seriously tried looking for this place with a friend and we think we saw some blue tubes after searching for it on a tall building. It was hidden in the mountains, and after walking for a while, we gave up.

    If I show you the picture, can you tell us if we’re on the right route?

  6. Hey. I have lived in Japan for about 2 years. I would love to check this place out before I head back to the states. Could you send me some info on how to get there?

  7. Post

    Hi Remi and Michael- Generally I don’t give out locations, sorry. Remi though if you send me the picture I’ll confirm or disconfirm (if you didn’t already find it). Michael I sent you an email with a link to the book where you can see a proper map of it.

    I’d like to be more helpful but I suppose these places are a kind of secret- and part of the challenge (if there’s challenge in buying a book) is finding them on your own.

  8. Post

    Tom- Thanks, it’s nice to hear that. A lot of comments I got on other sites for these and similar photos is how much people hate the photography! I’d hope if I shot the tubes again, I could do a better job. Either way, live and learn.

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  10. i did a lot of traversing Izu and stayed in abondoned hotels many times. In the hills of Atami, Gotemba Shimoda. Would be cool to talk on skype sometime. I have some good ideas for you guys to photog. btw, i love the exercise bikes in the pic. there is a cool abandoned piano in the place i stayed in atami. thought about dragging it to my weekend place in shimoda….

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