Situated a good 3 hour drive from western Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture’s Nitchitsu mining town housed around 3,000 people at its peak in 1965, but now, any life is long gone, and the mountain’s iron and zinc remains unmoved.
When things finally wound down, however, many of the town’s inhabitants appear to have travelled lightly, leaving behind a lot of their belongings — the doctor in particular packing only important stuff. So his containers of monstrous,
and probably best left mysterious paraphernalia still remain,
along with all manner,
Surgical instruments too were also seen as secondary,
and wretched looking things,
still randomly scattered about.
As are the ex-residents records.
Meaning that while certain surgical procedures could still be performed, it wouldn’t be particularly pleasant,
although there is still be a comfy-ish bed for convalescence.
(click images higher-res horrors)
In Nitchitsu mining town haikyo #2: A day in the life, I take a look at the way those that were well worked, rested and played, and in Nitchitsu mining town haikyo #3: Home sweet home, a look at their lodgings.
Also, for more haikyo, there are images here of an abandoned house, hospital, cable car station, sports hotel complex, restaurant and love hotel.
Jesus, what kind of stuff is in those jars? Its like Biohazard for real!
It’s so sad seeing these country side villages being abandoned. My relatives live in the Tokushima Prefecture and many of the young people have left for the cities. It’s heart-breaking to see the old working by themselves without any support.
One looks like a brain denton. Don’t want to know what’s in the others……
I can’t believe you passed up the opportunity to poke the brain. That could be a once in a life time thing! I find it fascinating that places like this and the others that you have documented have not been destroyed by local kids. Hell as you know places get wrecked up BEFORE they get abandoned in the UK!
Nice photos in the post. Did you have to use a tripod to get them or just a fast lens? So you will actually use some of the medical machines in the next post?
I went to the same haikyo mining town back in January of this year. I didn’t go to the doctor’s house in particular, but instead the large schoolhouse and teacher’s house. Video from that trip here:
I really didn’t have an urge to poke the brain Damien! To be honest though, even if I had, I feel like there’s an unwritten rule that nothing should be moved or meddled with in these places.
And especially not brains in bottles…
I didn’t use a tripod in the doctor’s place Jason as the light wasn’t too bad. There was a room with a huge medical machine of some description in another room, but it had gone through the floor making it difficult to tell what it was. Not very photogenic either.
I have pictures of apartments, a shop, bath house and a restaurant, or at least that’s what I think it was. Also have a few from the school, but that was the last stop and unfortunately the light was fading so I only managed to bag a few badly lit shots.
Your first shot is breathtakingly moody Damien – I love it!
These amazing snapshots in time that are the abandoned sites that seem to be all over Japan are really intriguing – how is it that they are just left like this?
Ken Y-N says
Lee, the first and the sixth photos are particularly atmospheric! Really, really great post, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the pics from the visit.
Awesome photos. I really enjoy your urban exploration updates. I dunno why the hell they’d leave those specimen jars though.
Wow, creepy as it may sound, this is something I have always enjoyed. Even though people no longer live here, this would be something I’d truly love to explore first hand. Do you know if they have any plans for the town, i.e demolitions/rebuilding or do you think it’ll remain empty for years to come?
Dude – very resident evil – esque. Great photos, yes indeed.
Beautiful photos as always. Color me green with envy. And brains. Mmmm…brains!
Glad you all like the pictures, even if you did get my name wrong Danielle!
As for future plans for the place Magnus369, I have no idea, although one huge building near where the first picture was taken has already been demolished. Quite recently too I’d guess. Hopefully that won’t be the fate of the remaining structures.
Most of them are dilapidated beyond repair, so I presume they’ll either be knocked down or left to slowly collapse. Hopefully the latter.
I wish I could have gone with you. Looks fantastic! I was thinking on Thursday, how lucky you were to have the overcast weather. I thought you might get cloud draped mountains. Fantastic!
Man, I really want to go there.
Is this just in the middle of nowhere with no one else around? As in, were you the only one in any of these buildings while you were there? Or is it sort of a popular place to go and there were other people doing the same as you?
Wow all those photos are great, especially the first one. It’s so interesting seeing how these old places end up.
I enjoy your site. You never fail to capture life at its plainest. Never been to Japan, but one day sure will and from what I see here it’s not too different from the rest of the world, but still exotic and novel enough for me to be fascinated by it.
Anyway, awesome blog!!
I’m wondering, however… were there other people around, or were you completely alone in this ghost town? I’m imagining that this must be a sort of “tourist destination” that people go to? So were there a few other people doing the same as you?
There were no other people about Alan, until we were just about to leave that is. Wandering round the school in semi-darkness I heard voices and then the odd flash of a torch from the floor below.
Needless to say it was a bit unsettling, but it turned out to be some kind of patrol that was on the look out for homeless people, and maybe worse…
…You mean former NOVA teachers?
Wonderful images. I’ve included your blog in a recent posting “20 Awesome Photography Blogs – Tokyo”. Please heck it out when you have a moment. Best of luck and keep up the great work!
SIREN: Lost Translation much?
Anyone that likes these photos should play this game on the PS3 or the prequels on PS2 – the ambience is eerily similar… I got goosebump watching these photos…
Lee…when is part two going up? Was hoping to read it before I go out of town tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow Jason, probably early afternoon.
It’ll still be here when you get back though!
Beautiful pics, thx!
Laura M. says
Uh… I think that big bottle of “medicine” is actually chrome polish. :p
Actually, Laura, it’s Merbromin, aka Mercurochrome, a common topical antiseptic common in much of the world, but banned for health uses in the U.S. due to concerns over its mercury content.
A slightly ironic thing to find considering Nichitsu’s dark history with mercury. (See the Chisso Corporation entry in Wikipedia.)
This stuff is brilliant! How’d you find these forgotten places in Japan? This is definitely something I’d love to do.
Very reminiscent of pompei, it’s amazing that we let all these resources just go to waste, still very interesting to visualise and imagine the people that lived there and who they were!!
Just love that japanese doll.
Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
Your, Raiul Baztepo
caves you late