All work and no play, as they say, makes Panda (depressed? miserable?) a dull boy (I have actually never watched The Shining, it just occurred to me) so and on top of that I have wanted to go take photos of a haikyo for some time, so a couple of weeks ago a car was rented, gear was prepared and iphone maps were called up at the spur of the moment and off we went for some haikyo-snapping adventures.
Our destination was the abandoned Inatori Smallpox Ward (稲取隔離病棟)located over in the Izu Peninsula. We had first seen some photographs of this over on another website and thought it to be fairly accessible in terms of a weekend trip, but still interesting enough that it was worth a look.
The actual place itself is obviously not on any maps; even the road which were described as being markers by which to orient yourself had long ago been subsumed into the ground, buried in a landslide after an earthquake decades ago, and replaced by a new, similarly-named road which ran in a different, misleading direction. As a result, it took us a while to actually find the place, involving a lot of driving back and forth through a narrow cliffside highway, and even a brief trepidatious detour down what was seriously the scariest tunnel I have ever been in in my entire life – pitch black, barred with fencing on one end, broken glass and debris everywhere, water (or something) dripping from the ceilings, a cave-in on the other side with only a single wavering shaft of thin fading light illuminating the end…. we half expected zombies or crazed murderers to come flying out of there at any point!
(It was a very scooby-doo esque adventure, let me tell you, us creeping through the dark clutching each other and our shaking flashlights (hastily purchased at the 100 yen store because we didn’t even think to bring flashlights at first!!))
When we did finally find the place, it was amusing to see just how close to the new modern highway it was – definitely hidden, and requiring one to park in a spot they’re not really supposed to park, and scramble down a steep incline of rocks and overgrown vegetation. But it was well worth it – despite being located right next to the highway, (and apparently having been visited by many haikyo-enthusiasts over the years) the ward itself seemed preserved from another era, dramatically crumbled, worn down and fascinatingly silent.
There’s not much to say about it other than that – the pictures, I hope, demonstrate the thing that struck me the most – the fact that nature – and nature alone – did this to a manmade structure over the course of only a few short years. It’s amazing to think that absent any external intervention even the sturdiest of buildings can be overrun and absorbed by their natural surroundings so quickly. Of course, seeing this only made me want to go on more haikyo adventures, so I’m hoping this won’t be my last opportunity to photograph such things!
More (a bunch more, actually – I should have edited more) photos after the jump below.
Okay that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!
Now listening to: “Radwimps – セツナレンサ”