The ruination of the Kanagawa Toyo Bowl

Mike Grist Entertainment, Haikyo, Kanagawa 6 Comments

The Kanagawa Toyo Bowl was one of several 1980’s alleys built during Japan’s bowling ‘boom’, coinciding with the years of the economic Bubble. For a while the Toyo Boru in Nagoya was the largest in the world, boasting 260 lanes over four floors. When the Bubble collapsed in the early ’90’s so began the end of the bowling boom, and all of the Toyo alleys across the country eventually went into receivership.

Pachinko, slot, bowl.

This was my second time to visit the Toyo Bowl. The first was almost two years ago, shooting with a Canon Powershot. I figured it was about time for an update, and since this is one of the best locations within a day’s trip range of Tokyo, I jumped on a train and headed out.

I remember distinctly how much I umm-ed and ahh-ed over entry the first time I came here. I walked the circumference several times, found the quietest and least observed point of entry. This time though I couldn’t be bothered with that. The fencing around it is ripped to shreds, so I just walked in. I understand the place is ‘private property’ and should brook no trespassers, but I also know I’m going to do absolutely zero harm to the place. I want to wander round and take photos. What is the harm in that? I see no harm, so resolved to wander fairly brazenly about, and if caught just give exactly that reason.

Well, that resolve soon got tested. On my knees shooting up to the big pin I spotted two ladies with cell phone cameras shooting and pointing my way. I instantly lay flat on the ground.

You might think: ‘Ha, it’s like Osarizawa Mine all over again!’

Well, yes. That thought passed through my mind too.

So, I lay in the forecourt for a while. I took a few shots from the ground.

I became aware of a construction worker in an adjoining complex, leaning over a railing towards me and talking on his cell phone.

I got up and walked clear out of the property.

I walked round the perimeter. I entered by the back. So much for being brazen.

Lying down, shooting up, hiding.

After that the tale of the Toyo Boru is told much the same as it was the first time I went. You can read that story here. For people who like more photos of an exploration, less ‘artistic’ in purpose, you’ll like it.

I walked the Pachinko Halls, but with all the machines ripped out it’s really just a dull warehouse with some wooden frames. I climbed the stairs to the second floor, taking ‘better’ versions of basically the same photos I took the first time. A wide-angle lens and HDR bracketing make a lot of difference.

The third floor. I pondered my existence for a while in the dark. Then that was it. On the train, back to Tokyo, at work by 7pm.

The wreck in the fore-court.

Ripped up Pachinko aisles on the 1st floor.

2nd floor torn-up alleys over wasted air hockey table.

Quiet majesty of the 3rd floor.

Window grafitti.

Rotting chairs line the staircase, point out to distant mountains.

The ruination of the Toyo Bowl from Michael John Grist on Vimeo.


Location – Kanagawa, Japan.

Entry – Through a shredded fence, into a broken window, up the stairs.

Highlights – Battered van in the forecourt, stripped lanes, quiet.


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

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Comments 6

  1. Well, if you get injured while in a haikyo that is marked no trespassing and/or private property, the owner of the property could (is?) liable for your injuries. So I guess that would be a reason why owners of such properties would not be wild about people walking around their dilapidated structures.

    Looks like a poor air hockey table got wasted there.

    The lanes are all stripped out?

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