This summer we visited Nichitsu Ghost Town, our second visit to a haikyo 廃墟 after exploring an abandoned hospital in Atsugi last year. This time our destination was much further from Tokyo, near the heart of Japan, where Gunma, Saitama and Nagano prefectures get together. We rented a van, and Antonio, our beloved driver, took us to one of the most remote places in Japan.
We ascended following rivers that opened up their path between valleys that were narrower and narrower as we advanced. The last tunnel that we got through was a one way tunnel so narrow that our van could barely fit. We just saw darkness and a white light at the end where we would be seeing the first building of a mine and a town that were abandoned when the mountains ran out of any valuable minerals.
The town sprung up because of a nearby mine that produced gold around the year 1600 and later iron and zinc. In 1937 the mines were bought by “Nichitsu Corporation” and thus the name of the town. Around 1978 the workers and their families started to abandon the place because the mines were depleting and were not profitable anymore.
We spent our day exploring the town. Houses, employee residences, warehouses to store mine tools, a supermarket, a sento (public baths) and even a theater and a hospital. It’s kind of creepy to walk around places where there has been life in the past and it feels like everything disappeared from one night to the next morning. We found all kinds of objects, from x-rays in a hospital to family photos that we found in a room of a mine workers. It felt like most of the inhabitants vanished and left most of their belongings there so they could be forgotten throughout time. It was like traveling in a time machine, a trip that captivated us until our cameras ran out of memory cards and films.
Photo of the theater by Ikusuki
A computer! Photo by Ikusuki
Very old televisions. Photo by Ikusuki
Pablo scanning the area
Surgical instruments. Photo by CaDs
This is me directing a short film that I share with you at the end of this post. Photo by Saralú.
Photos of a father and his son. I didn’t dare to take pictures, the photo of the photos was taken by Saralú.
A ghost? Photo by Saralú.
Sony Betamax. Photo by CaDs
Scary! Photo by CaDs
A Family Computer, known in the west as NES. Photo by CaDs
Photo by Ikusuki
Erotic VHS. Photo by Ikusuki
Somebody was here before us. Photo by Ikusuki
One of the ofuros in town. Photo by Ikusuki
To go in a group was great; if I had gone alone to this town whose name contains the word “Ghost” (Nichitsu Ghost Town), it would have been quite scary. We tried to have fun, we didn’t become ghosts, but we became zombies and after several attempts we were able to catch Sara in a corner 😉 :
Make it full screen and use headphones to enjoy a better experience.