Red Blossom Restaurant

MJG Haikyo, Restaurants, Tokyo-to 9 Comments

The Red Blossom Restaurant Haikyo on the Lake Tama ring road rests as a peaceful shrine to the yin and yang of Nature, showing in gentle tones both her power to tear down the old, and raise up the new. The restaurant itself sits on a small hill like a rusted old tank, off-kilter, gap-toothed, and leering to the side. Numerous small wooden dining huts ring its sloping hillside like sleeping tors, marking out the seasons’ passage as they slowly slip from their struts and descend in arrested free-fall to the earth. At their center, a beautifully twisted cherry-tree blossoms, …

Akasaka Love Hotel

MJG Haikyo, Sex Industry, Tokyo-to 26 Comments

The Akasaka Love Hotel Haikyo reminds us of the importance of that old adage: ‘location location location’. Situated at the far end of a strip of Love Hotels on the lake’s ring road, it’s clear this place suffered for lack of passing traffic. Now its forecourt and parking lot are bouldered with rotten 80’s styled furniture, burnt-out cars, and avalanches of mounded pillows. Inside, its gaudy rooms still sing of forbidden pleasures, the walls plastered with bright helios, lurking cheetahs, and naked Bathsheba’s, though I doubt any lusty couples have joined in their bawdy chorus for some time. Cheetahs slinking …

Ruins of the US Air Force Base in Fuchu, Japan

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to

The abandoned US Air Force (USAF) base in Fuchu is a vine-slathered memento from the early days of Japanese/American war and peace, built shortly after World War II and abandoned in the 1980’s. Part of it was cut off and made into a public park, part cut out and transformed into the the still-active nearby Japan Self-Defence Force (SDF) Base, and part left behind, slowly falling into ruin, for nature to claim as her own. New antenna, old antenna in Fuchu Air Base. Fuchu was an Air Base vital for re-supply and communications during the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Two …

The ruins of Sports World Water Park

MJG Haikyo, Izu, Theme Parks 10 Comments

The Sports World Water Park in Izu is a well-hidden gem in the crown of Japan’s abandoned theme parks. Tucked away from the main theme park down a slim passage over-awed by rabid weeds, it gallops down the adjoining valley’s steep side in a furious rush, its brilliant blue umbilical water-slides snaking and inter-twining through the verdant green jungle canopy. Around its circumference the huge oval water-flume meanders bleached-white through pathways furred over with prickly weeds. Jutting up from its center and half-eaten by scraggly brush, the five-story speed-slide stands like a silent sentinel over the withered park, its roller-flumes …

Japan’s abandoned Russian Village theme park

MJG Churches / Shrines, Haikyo, Niigata, Theme Parks 30 Comments

Japan’s Russian Village Theme Park sprawls empty and forlorn atop a small hill set back from the main road, shrouded by a thick raft of cedar trees that hide its embarassing failed extravangance from the world. Built 2002 and abandoned after just 6 months, the endeavour was ill-fated from the start: a theme park in the middle of nowhere with no rides. Russian church in Japanese mountains. Now its giant fake mammoths rest unseen in their dark and musty show hall, the vibrant blue onion-domes of its vaulting ‘Russian’ church slowly tarnish to white, and the shops once filled with …

Null-space Tunnels under Yokosuka Navy Base

MJG Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Kanagawa, Military Installations 19 Comments

Deep within the solid rock of the Negishi Plateau in Yokohama, spreading beneath the old race-course Grandstand and Yokosuka Naval Base, lies a twisting warren of hidden World War 2-era caverns. Once filled with ancient munitions, bustling troops, and rooms full of military dossiers, they now rest in lonely silence, unexplored for up to 20 years, their secrets stopped up behind entrances back-filled with avalanche scree and trash, overgrown by thick vines in loamy earth, and walled off with sheets of blast-concrete.

Haikyo Credo

MJG Haikyo 4 Comments

I’ve always been fascinated by ruined buildings and abandoned places. When I was 14 I went to the ancient city of Pompeii in Italy, and was blown away. It’s hard to explain why- but it’s something about the life of the place, and the lives of the people who were there, being suddenly cut short. Whether they were killed, driven out, or just moved on, the things they leave behind tell the story of their life at that moment, a snapshot captured and crystallized like a fossil. Haikyo in Japan are not the same as Pompeii- they’re buildings abandoned in …

Ruins of the Queen Chateau Soapland

MJG Haikyo, Ibaraki, Sex Industry 40 Comments

Japan’s Queen Chateau Soapland is at once a grand but squalid folly; a ruin rising 5 fairy-tale stories into the sky, cornered with towers and capped with bright red tile, representing an era gone mad with indulgence, audacity, and hopefulness. Flanked by bamboo forests. A soapland is a kind of Japanese water-brothel, wherein customers (men, basically) go to a bedroom equipped with a bath and shower, possibly also bed, and engage in various sexual activities. Soaplands seem to exist in Japan in a curiously open fashion, flaunting the law with their obvious but veiled allusions to the services available inside. …

What a wrecked Bowling Alley looks like – the Toyo Bowl

MJG Entertainment, Haikyo, Kanagawa 17 Comments

The Toyo Bowl in Kanagawa was a mammoth venture when first dreamed up, the second biggest bowling alley in the world behind the Nagoya Toyo Bowl, featuring 108 bowling lanes spread over 3 huge floors, along with a large pachinko hall, restaurants, gift shops, arcades, and a creche. It boasted state-of-the-art ‘natural lighting’ and ‘beautiful blue carpets’ on all floors. It encapsulated the vaulting ambition of the mid-Bubble era, when anything was possible and bigger always meant better. Now the ragged carpets, stripped lanes, trashed pachinko hall and scattered broken balls tell the story of how well that ambition fared.

Stunning Graffiti in the Ruined Keishin Hospital

MJG Grafitti, Haikyo, Hospitals, Kanagawa 16 Comments

The gutted shell of the abandoned Keishin Hospital stands blank and ghostly on the rural Kanagawa sky-line. It once housed state-of-the-art radiology and cancer departments, now the only pieces of equipment remaining are the chairs bolted to the floor in the dentist’s office. Up close its walls are a vibrant cacophony of ever-changing grafitti, its forecourt a wash of shattered glass and empty spray-paint cans, its encircling car park overgrown with a thick smog of twisted brown underbrush. All record of its previous life has been erased by decades of vandalism, theft, and neglect.