Into the Ruins – Adventures in Abandoned Japan

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Ruins of the Rising Sun – Adventures in Abandoned Japan is a hybrid Japan travelogue/ photo-book written by author / photographer Michael John Grist, crammed with explorations of abandoned ruins.

Best-selling thriller writer Barry Eisler has said- “Gorgeous, haunting, stunning memento mori photos… fascinating text commentary… I guarantee you will start fantasizing about exploring haikyo yourself.”

It’s currently available as an e-book through Amazon:

Amazon US

Amazon UK


For five years writer and photographer Michael John Grist explored over 100 of the most beautiful and haunting modern ruins in Japan (called ‘haikyo’), from abandoned theme parks and ghost towns to deserted love hotels and relics of World War II.

He documented these explorations with photographs and stories, earning millions of hits on his website and featuring in books, magazines, blogs, national newspapers, and a documentary movie. Ruins of the Rising Sun tells the best of all those adventures.

Through a compelling journey of self-discovery and coming-of-age, salted throughout with gorgeous photographs and fascinating snippets of history, poetry, philosophy, and fiction, MJG exposes a bizarre and forgotten Japan most people will never have the chance to see, producing a book that is part Japan travelogue, part memoir, and utterly unique.

Along with MJG:

– Stay overnight alone in the haunted ruins of a remote jungle theme park.
– Venture inside the mysterious black interior of a corporate cult’s underground bunker.
– Burrow through dirt in a long-hidden World War II munitions tunnel.
– Climb up the rusted rails of a massive wooden rollercoaster in a dead Disney-clone theme park.


– Explorations of over 40 of Japan’s best ruins.
– Over 200 stunning photographs.
– Map coordinates to every location in the book.
– Links to extensive additional material.


– “This book is full of adventure, intriguing photos and amazing stories of Japanese ruins.
I would love to see some of these ruins sometime!” – Midory, Amazon reader.

– “As always with MJG’s work I found myself immediately engrossed in the ambiance of his writing style & the visuals it produces. The photos are amazing & give such a beautiful taste & perspective on where you’re reading about so that you can truly imagine being there!” – Bethany, Amazon reader.

– “I’ve lived in Japan for over 23 years and thought I knew all there was about Japan. This book opened my eyes to a whole other world yet to be known.” – Robert, Amazon reader.

About the author:

Michael John Grist is a 33-year old British writer and ruins photographer who lives in Tokyo, Japan. He writes dark, surreal fiction in both fantasy and sci-fi genres.


I went to Sports World alone and at night. Eschewing taxis, I took the long and isolating walk along unlit and winding country roads, wanting to cut myself off from the world behind as much as I could, to plunge into the solitary depths of the ruin completely alone.

Soon the entrance lay before me, black and mysterious, circled by a bare, moon-swept car park. Across that empty space I went, my shadow stretching long and thin. There were barbed wires strung across the ticket gates, barely visible in the moonlight. I slipped underneath them, pulling my backpack after me.

In its shadowy lee of a dark building I found a car tipped on its roof, two more with broken windows and strangled with ivy. It felt like I was walking through a scene from the apocalypse.

Onwards down a long hill of rubber mats shot through with grass, I tried to imagine the place when it was still alive. Once happy, noisy kids had passed this way, hand in hand with their parents, the salt-sweet smell of popcorn in the air, laughing and excited about the good times ahead.

Now it was silent, dark, and overgrown.

At the bottom of the path was the park’s wave pool, spreading palely to jungle, stagnant water coated with a grey film of algae. Nowhere to camp.

I headed up towards the hotel. The path was completely overgrown, and soon I was sweating, grappling through tangled vines and bushes. Once I thought I heard voices, perhaps kids out drinking, and listened hard, but didn’t hear them again, then as I neared the top of the path, a pig-like scream wailed out from the darkness.

I froze, blood running cold. What on Earth was that?

I turned, straining to pick out some sign of this wounded beast in the black, but I couldn’t see anything. Had I imagined it? I sped up, but the scream came again, closer now.

I fought against panic, forcing my through the undergrowth, scratches be damned. What kind of beast screamed like that? Again the sound came, and I stampeded the last stretch into the hotel car park, ran into the first open hotel room I saw, snapped on the chain immediately, and retreated across the dark room to check the glass screen door. It had been smashed at the lock, but still slid closed.

For a long moment I stood near the front door, waiting, listening, breathing hard…

I was alone in the ruin. This was why I had come.


If you’ve read the book and would like to review it, I (MJG, author) would hugely appreciate it. Even a few words on one of the sites below (or your own blog/social media) about your favorite bits (i.e.- it doesn’t have to be an essay!) would be really welcome. Thanks!

Amazon US

Amazon UK


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