Nichitsu Ghost Town
I’ve visited Nichitsu Ghost Town (ニッチツ鉱山村) several times, the first time was in 2010, and the last was in 2017. It’s easily accessible from Tokyo by car for a one-day trip and a worthwhile experience. I never fail to take friends interested in haikyo to Nichitsu, as it’s not dangerous, it’s not a secret spot, and it’s a good introduction to what is haikyo.
The Abandoned Village
The abandoned tin-mining village, about 50 km from Chichibu in Saitama, can also be reached from Kofu in Yamanashi.
Nichitsu is the name of the mining company that owns the village. The workers had to live on site because of the distance from the main cities. So the village grew in size until in its heyday it had as many as 3,000 residents.
There were two schools, a clinic, a post office and even a cinema. The bosses lived in pleasant houses with tiled roofs and good exposure to the sun, whereas the ordinary workers’ apartments along the riverside or on the cliff slopes had no bathrooms.
Sometime in the ’80s, the once prosperous village was abandoned.
It seems that a few of the buildings were used again in the ’90s by young men – in the rooms of the most modern ones we found karaoke machines, manga books, piles of pornography, Gundam robot models and even a giant Pikachu (which we will see again, a bit later).
That was my friend Joan by the way, believe it or not but she used to be my co-worker.
The Abandoned Hospital
This infamous doctor’s office also contains human organs, and among them, the horrendous Nichitsu Brain! But it seems somebody stole it, unfortunately.
The hospital also changed a lot between 2010 and 2017, but it is still fun to explore.
The Abandoned Meeting-Hall
This is another interesting part of Nichitsu, it looks like a place for the members of a sect to gather. I will post here three photos, taken at different times: 2010, 2013 and 2017. Can you spot the differences?
And another one with a cute addition… yeah, Pikachu!
The Abandoned School
The best time to visit is probably autumn, with its profusion of magnificently coloured foliage.
The Abandoned Mine
Nichitsu Mine was challenging for us. I’ve been so many times to the abandoned town of Nichitsu, always passing by the mine but never daring to go in until one autumn evening with a lovely sunset.
We had to cross a dangerous bridge to access the mining area, from where we could perhaps be seen by the guards who were still around.
Only a small section of the complex is actually abandoned and Nichitsu troops are everywhere, so better to be careful!
Apart from the detritus of the mining industry, the gloomy tunnels are an interesting sight…
It was not easy to get it, but that was the most exciting part of all the explorations I did at Nichitsu.
Oh, a mine cart, full of gold!
There are hundreds of similarly abandoned mining villages and towns in Japan.
The most infamous example, on the verge of becoming a haikyo, is Yubari. This city once had 120,000 residents but has now lost 90 per cent of them.
What about you guys, have you ever been to Nichitsu? Would you plan visiting this ghost town next time you are in Japan? If you are interested in haikyo, it is definitely recommended as it is well-known, and you will probably meet other aventure seekers there.
Abandoned Japan Book
You will find more amazing abandoned places in my book Abandoned Japan. It is available on Amazon, here: Abandoned Japan.