Abandoned Lighthouses 4. Mogadishu

MJG Lighthouses, Somalia, World Ruins 4 Comments

The crumbling Italian lighthouse perched on the edge of Mogadishu’s Old Harbor was built over a century ago, and abandoned some 20 years ago as trade dried up and the failed state of Somalia descended into a home for extreme jihad and piracy. Now it stands as a reminder of the spectacular city Mogadishu once was, a bullet-pocked shell left to rot as a haven for homeless fishermen and qat-junkies. A view across Mogadishu’s Old Harbor to the Indian Ocean. Image from “[The lighthouse’s] spiral staircase is in a state of mid-collapse. Its hollowed-out rooms smell of sea rot and …

Abandoned Lighthouses 3. Tillamook Rock

MJG Lighthouses, USA, World Ruins Leave a Comment

The Tillamook Rock Light was built in 1881 on a rock off Oregon coast called Tillamook Head. It was born in blood; with its grand opening overshadowed by a nearby shipwreck just days before its guardian gas-light was lit. 16 people died when the barque Lupatia wrecked on the rocks in a storm, proving the necessity of a lighthouse there. Tillamok Rock. Image from Wikipedia. Due to the extensive surveying and blasting necessary to build a lighthouse on the Tillamook sea-crag, combined with the erratic weather conditions, it was the most expensive West Coast lighthouse ever built. It soon became …

Abandoned Lighthouses 2. Talacre Beach

MJG Lighthouses, UK, World Ruins Leave a Comment

The ‘Point of Ayr’ lighthouse has stood on Talacre Beach in Wales in various incarnations since 1776, watching over ships make the trek across Liverpool Bay from the Welsh town of Lllandudno. Abandoned since 1840, it has lived through numerous cycles of disrepair and refurbishment, with the latest reconstruction in 1994, leaving it a cheery red and white candy-pole on the beach, framed by the nearby offshore wind-farm. Point of Ayr on Talacre Beach, North Wales. Image from Richard John Linnett. White and red in the distance. Beginning another cycle of decay; the white paint peels away. Image from Adrian …

Abandoned Lighthouses 1. Rubjerg-Knude

MJG Denmark, Lighthouses, World Ruins Leave a Comment

Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last two centuries, beginning in 1899 and finishing in 1900. It was built on a dune-less cliff 200m away from the sea and 60m above sea level, but as the years passed the sea drew closer, and with it came the dunes, which gradually began to swallow up the base of the lighthouse. The Rubjerg-Knude, buried in sand. Image from Milan Kuminowski. Initially it was 23 meters tall, but by 1968 only some 15 meters was accessible- the rest, including all the entrances, were stopped up and buried, finally shutting …

Murakashi Derelict Industrial Ruin

MJG Featured Story, Haikyo, Mines / Factories, Tochigi 6 Comments

The ruins of Murakashi mine trail up the verdant Tochigi mountainside like a Studio Ghibli dreamscape, scattered about with the rusted-stiff robot arms of cranes that guard its approach like frozen heroes in Medusa’s cave. Zoom out and the blaring red canopy roofs of this rustic industrial graveyard begin to look like the shiny spilled guts of a snake, slithering languidly out of the mountain’s clean-cut grey-granite belly. Guardian arms. Murakashi mine drilled limestone and dolomite out of the Japanese mountainside topsoil for 50 years, closing down some 30 years ago. Now it’s a relic of a bygone age, when …

Exploring Japan’s deserted Mount Rushmore

MJG Featured Story, Haikyo, Statues / Monuments, Theme Parks, Tochigi 6 Comments

Disneyland has the grand pink Sleeping Beauty castle. The wizarding world of Harry Potter has Hogwarts. Japan’s abandoned Western Village theme park has a 1/3rd scale replica of Mount Rushmore. Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, Lincoln- Japan Outside Mount Rushmore As grand-central-structures-that-pull-their-thematic-landscapes-together go, it’s an odd one. First off, you can hardly even see it from within the park. Instead it fronts the nearby highway and bullet train tracks boldly, like a grand welcome sign that turns its back on you as soon as you enter. Second, it doesn’t fit all that well with the park’s cowboy theme. Did cowboys wage shoot-outs …

History of the Western Village Amusement Park, Japan

MJG Haikyo, Theme Parks, Tochigi Leave a Comment

Western Village is a quantum pocket of the Old West Disneyfied and transplanted wholesale from the American collective unconscious, replete with a $29 million replica Mount Rushmore, Western saloon, ghost house, jail, post office, shooting gallery, actual fake Rio Grande, and vast Mexican barrens. It was built in 1975 and shut down in 2007, likely due to its remote location and the pull of other nearby parks like Disneyland sucking away its tourist base. Now it’s a ruin, or haikyo, open only to urban explorers willing to take their chances clambering over the stockade wall. The car park outside the …

Cowboy haunted-house and Mexicoland, Japan

MJG Featured Story, Haikyo, Theme Parks, Tochigi 18 Comments

Japan’s haikyo theme park Western Village (closed in 2007) takes its cowboy conceit in some unexpected directions; most interestingly of all the Wild West ghost house. Within its silent black-velveted walls we can find all manner of creepified Western stalwarts; skeletal pistoleers, death as a frontier dentist, zombified tomahawk-wielding Indians, and of course cowboys with their pants down. Hmm? Yes. There is more than one occasion of cowboys with their pants down. Each time they are displaying long and gruddy underjohns- perhaps intended to sync up with John Wayne with his fly unzipped. Maybe you can spy some of them …

Japan’s abandoned animatronic John Wayne

MJG Featured Story, Haikyo, People / Culture, Theme Parks, Tochigi 10 Comments

Japan’s abandoned wild west theme park Western Village (closed in 2007) is filled to the tip of its ten-gallon hat with animatronic cowboy dolls. A Stagecoach-era John Wayne with cyborg heart exposed stands by the park entrance, silent now that the tourists have stopped coming. Animatronic John Wayne with hair peeling back to reveal flesh-toned speakers reprises his Stagecoach (1939) role. Hidden away in the Sheriff’s office, Clint Eastwood drawls in lazy Japanese about how he ran the bad guys out of town. Down the boulevard a ways is the WESTERN SHOOTING GALLERY, filled with card-players, insouciant drunkards and brassy-lipped …

Western Village: Japan’s Abandoned Cowboy Theme Park

MJG Featured Story, Haikyo, Japan, Theme Parks, Tochigi 30 Comments

Western Village is a quantum pocket of the Old West Disneyfied and transplanted wholesale from the American collective unconscious, replete with a $29 million replica Mount Rushmore, Western saloon, ghost house, jail, post office, shooting gallery, actual fake Rio Grande, and vast Mexican barrens. It was built in 1975 and shut down in 2007, likely due to its remote location and the pull of other nearby parks like Disneyland sucking away its tourist base. Now it’s a ruin, or haikyo, open only to urban explorers willing to take their chances clambering over the stockade wall. Animatronic John Wayne, cowboy ghost …