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The Abandoned Negishi Grandstand (1/2)

The Abandoned Negishi Grandstand (1/2)

In Yokohama, near Tokyo, is one of the most famous ruins of Japan: the Negishi Grandstand. This is a favorite spot among Japanese urban explorers but despite its outside, I have never dared to explore it.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, kanagawa, kanto, ruin, urban exploration, urbex, yokohama
Negishi Grandstand

It is an impenetrable fortress. It lies between the United States Fleet Activities Yokosuka in the park  of Negishi, and it is monitored by cameras that are not so dusty at all (for once), and …

Camera of the Negishi Grandstand
No Entry! And of course, there is a surveillance camera.
… It is surrounded by barbwire fence in height, curved inward, ready to do some damage on any intruders. At first glance, the difficulty to enter is similar to the abandoned military base in Fuchu, but after a few times walking around, I realize the fact that access to the inside is almost impossible.
At Fuchu, we could get help from the surrounding plants and buildings (with a little craziness of course). But Negishi, there is nothing: it is a fence and barbed wire, with nothing else around. And of course, between a public park and an active military base, very difficult to sneak in. There must be some secret entrance …. So, let’s go with someone who knows the terrain.
Vicious Smile of the Negishi Grandstand
Vicious laugh.
Barbed Wire at the Negishi Grandstand
the Barbwire

5am​​. I found my Japanese friend standing in front of the barbwire of Negishi. I was all excited to be able to finally reveal the secret of this place. But he merely asked me: “Well then, Here we are. Should I climb up? Or do you want to go first?”. What? Pardon? The secrete is that you need to fly over the fence and barbwire, and that’s it? I begin to weigh the pros and cons, or maybe to give up. Then there is the big show: my friend, despite his perfect character of being all quiet and serious, took no time and jumped right on the fence , climbing up like a ninja, barely touched the barbwire during a perfect jump and fell very nimble on the other side. Technically it is very nicely done, very clean, very calculated and controlled. I decided to follow him and do the same. And my result was: very difficult, a lot of noise, cuts on the hand, but … it went OK in the end.

abandoned, haikyo, japan, japanese, kanagawa, kanto, ruin, urban exploration, urbex, yokohama
The Entrance


Of course, the doors are all blocked. A few more Ninja jumps were necessary to get inside the old building. I imagined the entering a lot easier … I dare not thinking about the getting out part later!

Underground of the Negishi Grandstand
Basement of Negishi.

We are now finally in the Negishi Grandstand. I will discuss its history in the second article, for now we will focus on the visit. It is very early so of course we are still in complete darkness. Fortunately, I have not come empty handed. The gears I brought guaranteed me the opportunity to practice light painting techniques that I studied recently.

Basement Darkness of the Negishi Grandstand
Dark ground floor.

Ready? Let’s go for a visit to the of  Negishi Grandstand in the nice morning, but all in light.

Lights On at the Negishi Grandstand
Light on!

The ground floor is quite marshy. It looks like a big rusty shed and the only objects found there are old bulbs. Apparently there was a bowling alley here at one point so it could be the remains … unless it was to shed nice light on the building from the outside? This staircase leads to the second floor.

Amazing Stairs at the Negishi Grandstand
The stairs for the second floor.

I could almost smell the fetid breath of the devil from this room … with the background noises of a blacksmith forging, metal against metal, and of course accompanied by an intense heat … But in reality, the place is incredibly cold. I take photos in darkness, dancing with my LED lamp in the silence broken only by a few drops of water leaking from the pipeline.

Hell's Entrance at the Negishi Grandstand
The Entrance of Hell.

Climbing to the third floor, by far the one who should be most active at its time. There was the office of the quartermaster (the “Quarter Master”), administrative offices and various other rooms which must have hosted many people in the past. Impossible not to remember Fuchu,the font used on the wall is the same.

3rd Floor at the Negishi Grandstand
the 3rd Floor.

I’m not sure that’s a good idea to disturb the ghost of Lieutenant …

Quarter Master at the Negishi Grandstand
Office of the Lieutenant.

Well anyways. Let’s Go!

Greenish Entrance at the Negishi Race Track
On the Entry

The commandant’s office, a briefing room, and then another room with shelves full of little yellow objects, associated with different military positions: plotter, communicator … What could it be? And according to the message that follows, there were nasty little thieves! The radio equipments must have made a lot of people jealous.

Stop Thief at the Negishi Grandstand
Rotten Tap at the Negishi Grandstand
the tap of the Commander
Administrative Officer at the Negishi Grandstand
Administrative Officer.

Very interesting! We find here the military emergencies codes. Things like: “ALPHA 35.42,139.63 – CHARLIE 3 – DELTA 31 -FOXTROT 0.08 – GOLF 31”.

Weird Tools at the Negishi Grandstand
Survey Report Code at the Negishi Grandstand
Survey Report Code.

Beyond lies a room that has nothing to do with the other: a photography workshop. It must be from the same era? Of course, the place is empty, and therefore this is not where those stingy staff at Bic Camera store the tiny stock of NikonD800.

Photo Hobby Shop at the Negishi Grandstand
Photo Class!
Hell's Toilets at the Negishi Grandstand
Toilet of Hell.

This visit is a whole new experience for me. I am visiting an ancient ruin while giving it new life and characters, and it allows me to discover things my own way. Maybe similar to we do in dreams, we construct a world  from scratch with real elements around us. Experience with one foot in reality, the other in imagination … a sort of waking dream indeed. This is in fact one of the principles for photography, which I happen to realize here in an obvious way.

Access Granted at the Negishi Grandstand
Authorized access.
Magic Window at the Negishi Grandstand
Crazy window.

Of course, it’s very exciting to experiment the art of light-painting for the first time; I really want to exaggerate the effect I produced, while at the same time I try to control myself because I do not want to be insulted as I was for my HDR photos of Nara Dreamland and Gunkanjima! 🙂 (Those photos are taken at my debut with a DSLR, and it is true that they are relatively violent and clumsy. And of course there are plans to go back to those destinations again to repent my mistakes. )

Electrified Elevator at the Negishi Grandstand
Electrifying elevator.

 We took the lift then landed in a ballroom full of ghosts …

Party Room at the Negishi Grandstand
Ghost ballroom
The sun rises and quickly, when the first rays of sunshine trying to sneak inside, we hear voices on all sides of the old building.

 Now we cam discover for the first time this ruin in its natural colors ……

The local elderly are rambling with their dogs; teenage girls and boys, are having fun on the basketball court; the U.S. Army soldiers joking and laughing loudly on the other side; children, playing in the park, happily enjoying the back ground music. And here we are … in the middle of all this turmoil. The life outside, at once so close but now so far the world, brings a strange feeling.
Sunrise at the Negishi Grandstand.
Negishi Sunrise

We decide to climb to the top quickly by visiting every floor, to  get an idea of ​​this whole place and possible things to discover.

4th Floor Doors at the Negishi Grandstand
4th Floor.
Asbestos Urban Exploration at the Negishi Grandstand
Asbestos on the Ceiling.

5th Floor at the Negishi Grandstand
5th Floor.
Old elevator floor display at the Negishi Grandstand
6th Floor.
7th floor of the Negishi Grandstand
6th Floor

We finally arrive on the 7th floor. There are actually three of them, as they locate in each of the three towers (refer to the first photo if you forget). Then there is an 8th floor connected by a ladder, probably leading  to a ventilator on the roof. Unfortunately, it is protected with a chain and a large padlock.

The story will end here. Please wait for the next article to find out the history of Negishi Grandstand, its atmosphere during the day, and some more experiments (other than light painting) and perhaps … a visit to the roof.

Eye of the Beholder at Negishi Grandstand
Eye of the Beholder.

End of this first article on the Negishi Grandstand. Do you find this building a bit strange? What do you feel about it? And what are those little yellow things on the shelves? Any ideas?

Also I would like to hear about the light painting, is it a value added … or the opposite? 🙂 Read the second article about the Yokohama Negishi Grandstand now!

  • Sam

    I think the urinals are the scariest thing there…ha ha ha. Is the light painting effect too difficult to achieve with photoshop? It seems like for a lot of the stuff you could save time and just enhance the levels in post-prod.

    • Actually the urinals light painting barely took me 30 seconds to make, and I guess it would take much more time if I tried to do something similar in Photoshop. Most of the others light painting are almost impossible to fake using an image editor : the main reason being that, simply, there isn’t any light at all at the beginning 🙂 It’s also way more fun to play and jump around with a flash light in the darkness than post-processing with Photoshop :p

  • okonomiyaki3000

    “A detailed inventory has been made on all valuables in this” 

    In this… what? What is this? I need to know! Don’t just keep me in suspense!

    Also, your night-vision camera is really cool. Why don’t you use it more often? It must have been so expensive!

    • night-vision camera?! 😀 is it called OKONOMIYAKI 3000? sounds like a good model lol

      • okonomiyaki3000

        When I see that eerie, green glow, I know it’s a true night-vision camera. The kind used by the military and ghost hunters. This kind of photo is unmistakable. Surely, it’s a very high quality one. 

    • True, I didn’t even noticed that the sentence wasn’t finished. Weird!

      • okonomiyaki3000

        Probably it has been erased by ghosts.

  • Sylvain Bodin

    Nice story and shoots. The light painting add a pleasant render, except when you use flashy color like purple and green 😀

    • So there is really nobody who likes those purple & green photos? :p

      • Alessandro Silvestri

        Actually I really like the purple & green photos 🙂

  • Rockenback

    I think these pictures are excellent.  I used to live in Negishi Heights Navy Housing between Oct, ’71 to July, ’76.
    My friends and I used to explore some of the areas that were considered “off limits” (but that did not deter us).
    I recognize many of the scenes, the door with the type “SP/SV” stood for “Special Services.”  That particular font was prevalent throughout the Navy’s domain.

    There used to be a barber shop and a “Stop and Shop” located within the area that still remains.  Along with the Shore Patrol’s Head Quarters.

    In the “basement” there as the CPO (Chief Petty Officer) club, bar, gambling machines, and an 8 line bowling alley, “Negishi Lanes”, along with a Snack Bar and vending machines.

    Form my house I could peer into the broken windows that were, at that time, exposed.  I could see what looked like wooden crates stacked in neat rows, along with furniture that would be used by Navy personnel until their household items would arrive from the States.

    In the section that was torn down was the Navy Exchange garage that was under the use of Special Services.

    Further down the hill and unattached to the granstand were the betting windows. 
    This is were patrons would line up to bet on their favorite horse.

    I recall riding my 10 speed Katakura bike around the front of the granstand and I came upon a television crew filming an episode of “Key Hunter.”

    Thanks for posting these wonderful pictures.  Looking at them is like taking a trip down Memory Lane.  36 years ago and thousands of miles away.

    • Thanks a lot for all those crunchy details! It’s bringing much more life to this article and to that place. It’s very hard to tell what happened in that building as there isn’t much left inside.

      Do you have any pictures from that period? I would love to see them. I would really like to have a peek into that “second life” the Grandstand once had… 

      • Rockenback

        So glad that you enjoyed my commentary. I’ll be looking through my “archives” to locate some pictures that I will share. This grandstand is an important part of Japanese and American history. “If these walls could talk…” I think we would all be astonished. I would like to generate enough international interest so that some intrepid paranormal investigative team (such as Ghost Adventurers or Ghost Hunters International) would feel compelled to explore this “gold mine” of history. If anyone would care to create a Facebook page for that purpose, I will be more than happy to provide some background data and photographs from 1971 to 1976.

        • This is a great idea. I am also very curious about what exactly happened there, how, and why. And I would love to see photos taken in that place while it was still alive! I can create a Facebook page and we can work on it together. What about it?

          • Rockenback


            I am in agreement.  I have started a collection of photographs (some from the web, and some of mine) which show the Grandstand and surrounding areas.  I will also provide notes about each photograph because those will help to serve as a frame of reference.

            I will indicate which photographs are mine, and which ones are from the net.
            I will contact my high school alumni and ask if they have any photographs and / or anecdotes that they may wish to share.

            Thanks for your interest and willingness to undertake this project.  I really like your pictures.

            Those are great!


            Tim Allmond
            Negishi Heights Resident 1971 ~ 1976

          • Hello Tim, sorry it took me 3 long months to reply! I found another person who lived at the Negishi at the same time as you did. Awesome, isn’t it!?

            I just created the Facebook Page, it’s here: Please first like it then you can start upload your photos in a new album, mentioning your name. The other person will do the same pretty soon I think also. Alright? 🙂

          • Rockenback


            I am in agreement.  I have started a collection of photographs (some from the web, and some of mine) which show the Grandstand and surrounding areas.  I will also provide notes about each photograph because those will help to serve as a frame of reference.

            I will indicate which photographs are mine, and which ones are from the net.
            I will contact my high school alumni and ask if they have any photographs and / or anecdotes that they may wish to share.

            Thanks for your interest and willingness to undertake this project.  I really like your pictures.

            Those are great!


            Tim Allmond
            Negishi Heights Resident 1971 ~ 1976

  • Maria Havens Piekarski

    This has obviously been up for a while but i just saw it for the first time…i lived in Negishi from 78-90…i took jazzercise in the grandstands in the early 80s…used to go to the workshop in one of the basement rooms with my dad to build things…and spent MANY nights hanging out with my friends in mid 80s and partying in the grandstands 😉 loved your pics!!

    • Partying in the grandstand? Sounds awesome! What was there actually before? I heard about the bowling but what else could we do there?

      • Maria Havens Piekarski

        There was a minimart type shop, they held various classes in different rooms (i remember walking through vacant rooms to get to my jazzercise class..,kinda scared me). My dad would remember more…will ask him

        • Oh I see… I cannot picture it at all, for me this building looks like it has always been abandoned. Please ask him if he has any photos of it, that would be really awesome and I could share them here 🙂

          • Maria Havens Piekarski

            My dad may not have photos but can ask around to see if any of my friends have pics 🙂

          • Thanks a lot for doing that 🙂 I hope your friends have something, that would be really really amazing!

          • Rockenback

            Hey Jordy, I FINALLY was able to upload some images about the Negishi Heights Grandstand. Sorry for the ‘double’ and ‘triple’ post of those photos. These pictures were taken between Oct 71 ~ July 76. The snow picture(s) were taken (I recall) in February of 1972. The pictures of the Cherry blossom trees on the concrete pavement is the parking lot at the base of the Grandstand. Look closely underneath the grandstand and you will see windows that (when I would look through binoculars) I could see wooden crates and furniture. In future posts I will include photographs with arrows, boxes and text explaining the location of points of interest.

  • t.j.

    Omg, I just happened to stumble across this. I used to live in Negishi Heights around 74-77!? I definitely remember this place. My Dad used to take me to a convenience store located in the stands for my candy bar and comic book fix. I also remember a film crew there shooting an episode for some Japanese super hero show. Wow, the place looks very haunting now, your images are awesome.
    I wish I had photos to offer. Unfortunately, all of those memories are in my head.

    We lived in close proximity to this amazing structure, and I never really thought anything about it until seeing your article.
    I rode my bike all over the place during that stay in Japan, even ran away from home once and went there at night.
    Thanks for sharing and igniting a curiosity about this beautifully creepy structure.

  • Hugh G. Wrection

    That looks really cool! I live pretty closeby but I don’t think I’ll be trying to crawl over barbed wire…


Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.