Totoro Times regulars know I am a great fun of abandoned hospitals, they are my favorite type of haikyo. Not those empty concrete buildings in Europe, but the small wooden clinics rotting away quietly in the countryside without anyone noticing.
My first article “Abandoned Hospital of Japan” is now a year and a half old and it is time to refresh this topic. So follow me, let’s go for a little stroll with the new discovery of haikyo clinics!
The Doctor’s Shack (S診療所)
After the renowned Nichitsu Clinic is the “Doctor’s shack”. I must say, the location is lovely: it is near Nagoya between a very old temple and a beautiful river with bluish reflections. A dream place for a love a day in the sun, feet in the water, and the cicadas – “semi” in Japanese – singing in the background …
We are inside the old clinic. The wood cracks and the old shack gives the impression of being completely forgotten here. We know very well that this is a haikyo celebrity, yet it seems to have no pride. It rots easily and gently on a silent shore where no body is.
We are now at the reception and in front of a small window (through which the pharmacist was passing drugs) we see already the focal point of the old clinic. This is actually a kind of old apothecary – an old time pharmacist – which reminded me of the pre-war period described in Ghibli. The good old days in Japan.
Now, in this room, you have to imagine a doctor with glasses walking round, without a smile. He loves pulling out organs from patients in the sickle for analysis. Then in the evening, illuminated by the moon and a small oil lamp on his desk, he concocts his own medicine. There are moments of calm and absolute concentration for specialist botanical materials. These products are not always exactly intended to cure the patient straight away, but rather to experiment and observe the effect.
Raw products he uses for his creations are now mostly regarded as poisons or drugs and they are still there, accessible to anyone, or any curious animal (you’ll see one later). And surely some old bacteria is still hidden in some corner of this room! As a matter of fact, this place is kept in pretty good shape, which is a tremendous good point of Japan’s urban exploration.
Our visit is peaceful, a quiet exploration, merely the discovery of a cabin abandoned on a slope. The only vision a bit disturbing is of this doll… but time has made this place more beautiful and romantic than it was before, that’s for sure.
The only inhabitants of this clinic is now unfortunately a tribe of bloodthirsty mosquitoes that we were half running away from! Surely the spirit of the old doctor lives in them. Brrr. Wonderful place but not so empty it seems!
After going through everything here, we needed something a little spicy. And that’s good because my Japanese friends have discovered a new abandoned clinical! They could not visit it due to the “lack of time” but I am very interested in going and checking it out for them. It is such a strong summoning and I simply cannot ignore it.
The Clinic of the Brave
During a weekend in the mountains with friends, I decided to make a detour and step instead the clinic above described by my Japanese friends. The clinic is beautiful, with soft contrasts between its old wooden planks and the lively trees around. We walked around… but everything is closed. We then decided to knock on the neighbor’s door: perhaps the owner still lives in the village, or perhaps the neighbor even have the key? We definitely would not mind a visit with permission sometimes either 😉
A Japanese in doctor’s lab coat appeared: this is another clinic! It is strange that I do not remember seeing any signs… Anyhow, the doctor explained that the owner of the abandoned clinic has been dead for twenty years and his son now lives in Tokyo. Not understanding much Japanese, I casually walked away while the old doctor speaks and started discreetly to manipulates an old window… it opens slowly, letting out a thick cloud of dust. Presently the Japanese doctor stopped talking, looking very worried and slightly annoyed at me, and asked me to close it immediately. I tried to take a picture quickly but it made him frown, looking rather frightened and very annoyed. I have a feeling that something weird must have happened in the hospital! In any case, the abandoned clinic is closed for today.
I made up my mind at that moment to come back the following weekend at 4am. Long before the sun rises and especially… before our new Japanese friend gets up!
The following weekend, at night, we approached the old house which now looks like an old haunted shack. We carefully avoids the cobwebs: they are argiopes hornets, their yellow bodies all swollen do not attract me much. And finally, we are outside the very same window, in front of an old hospital that nobody has ever visited. Behind me is the neighbor doctor’s window, I feel like I can even see his bedroom, toilette and office through it. Scary! It is important not to make any sound…
I opened the window gently. Our masks are of little use against such heavy dust, but at least we were not coughing. We quickly climbed inside, the floor squeaks on our weight. That’s it! We are inside! It is pitch black, there is dust everywhere, but we are super excited to discover a new place.
The home-clinic is actually quite normal: a bedroom, a Japanese kitchen, typical doctor’s room and the pharmacy. The drugs inside are also much more recent than the Doctor’s Shack, this time there is no apothecary. And everything is too new to find the “Holy Grail” of the Japanese abandoned hospital: the organs of the long dead patients in formaldehyde! It was my gloomy wish 😉
There is one curiosity of the house: a rope hanging from the ceiling in the bedroom… I have a photo of it from which you can see the rope is actually right next to the photo of the doctor himself. But I do not dare to publish it… did the doctor ended his days there?
Another odd thing is that the doctor’s room is covered with fabric strips in all directions. What happened here? I have no idea unfortunately. I hope someone can explain it to me one day.
Now the second floor awaits us, the staircase plunged into darkness. Who will be the first to go up? Rock-paper-scissors, I lose, I’m first then!
It turns out that the second floor has better lighting than the ground floor actually, nothing scary or interesting at all! Except from an old radio and some other trifles. The doctor’s son probably lived in this part of the house, and he packed everything away. And… this is all for the history of this clinic. Nothing real too extraordinary, but an unforgettable experience. A good adrenaline shot this haikyo is. As regarding to its mysteries, they will stay with her ghost…
The Sergeant’s Clinic (S医院)
The location of this clinic is incredible: it is in the middle of a quiet residential area full of people. There is also a temple and a few companies around.
Yet this old clinic is there, doors opening, inviting passersby to come in for a cup of tea. Strangely though, the locals do not pay any attention to it. The secret of its exact position is not too badly guarded neither.
We went in quietly, our tourists looking faces is an excellent excuse even if we get caught on the spot.
The heavy atmosphere of this abandoned hospital surrounds us from the very first step . A mixture of the heat, the buzz of mosquitoes and the smell of rotten stuff. This place – unlike the others – is not romantic, is not a challenge, and much less a mystery. Yet, it has a little bit of everything, in its own way.
The character of this place is dark, obscene and dirty. It is also a mess, slightly vandalized. This place must have been full of stories and I think the locals are keeping the stories to themselves only in the fear of getting bad luck.
The structure is horribly ugly: it is a kind of Japanese house which has been extended with a large concrete block. This part is where the doctor’s room is.
But the curious spot of this hospital is actually upstairs. To go up the stairs/ladder barely holding up is definitely not recommended, but the effort was worth it: the second floor is full of juicy little discoveries!
Carefully labeled, each bottle contains some organs. Together they seem to be all similar. But whose or what organs are those? I have no idea. It’s just written “ホルマリン”, formaldehyde in Japanese (formalin). On the right, it is indicated whether the owner was male or female, that’s all. It seems rather too tiny to be human organs…
After observing the details of each organ, someone is getting quite hungry I can tell. But hang on a little longer! There are 2 more spots on our route. Let’s go a bit more into the countryside this time.
The Small Pox Isolation Ward (東伊豆町隔離病舎)
We are now on Izu Peninsula, lost between two mountains in a lush forest. The atmosphere is “LOST”, you feel lost on an island that is itself in the middle of nowhere … and it is here where we found this implausible ruin. Especially when you know its function: it is an isolation center for smallpox, a sanatorium which has only the function to remove the sick from the rest of the population, and let them die alone quietly.
We walk in the fresh leaves. The light is magical but the idea that the virus could still be here is much less alluring! Who knows, we could even bring it back to Tokyo?!? Let’s calm down and clear the myth: the smallpox virus found in the nature would not be able to contaminate you at all. The virus can only live on warm body. We would get a runny nose from the coldness surely, but that’s about it 😉
You are now inside the bowels of a wooden beast to discover its rooms. There are only beds of straw, wobbly windows (still there), sinks and some small trinkets.
Unlike other hospitals, there is nothing hidden or shocking about this place. But is it not very haunted by the dead people’s spirits? They should be running around us right now, it’s a shame that I can not see them! But wait, I have a friend who actually can see them… here is my interview with her : The Japanese Girl Who Sees Ghosts.
A beautiful day in a small corner of paradise with melancholic haikyo. Some people must have died happily here, we will leave with a smile.
The White Clinic (I病院)
Just recently, the haikyo world was shaken by a batch of freshly discovered abandoned clinical secret. I will need a third article on this subject soon 🙂 Now, I will keep the gloomy ones for later, and finish this article with a clinic of a very pleasant atmosphere: The White Clinic.
Why white? Simply because it was all white in the past. You can still see traces of white paint on the wooden boards. As a haikyo tradition, you will find the good old “No Entry” on its carcass, but you can also find a second message here: “Building in danger of collapse”. Of course, this is the case with most haikyo… but this is the first time I saw it written clearly like that.
Reporting from the inside now. We see the waiting room right in front of you when you go in. It is decorated with beautiful paintings, photos, and of course the unforgettable certificates and awards of the doctor is displayed on the walls. The calendar is from 1992, but it is possible that the hospital was abandoned before that. For once, there is no pharmacy in this clinic. This doctor must have sent clients to the pharmacies near by taking a small percentage, as it is done now (in Japan anyways).
The interest of this hospital is all the artifacts it contains. No small potions this time, but a lot of tools, medicine, stethoscope, microscope, hundreds of syringes, doctor’s bag full of old currency notes (and even international), blood samples (still stuck in their microscope slides)… there’s plenty to discover for a newbie doctor!
The hospital is indeed properly damaged and not far from collapsing: the stairs leading to the second floor is completely destroyed and it seems it will take the entire building down all the way to hell. My brave Japanese friends, however, went up without even looking back. So I joined them carefully. The floor is really not solid anymore, but we are extremely careful… in every step…
The last finding in this haikyo is this fierce animal which seems to be a rather mixed bastard. A fox? A dog? A work of Dr. Frankein-san? Or do you know something about it? He seems as curious as us this little thing.
The sun is setting and it oozes silently the old hospital. The doll did not pay any attention to us and so much the better: we have other haikyo waiting, it is not a good time to get snagged by an evil spirit!
So, did you like these four Japanese abandoned hospitals? Together with the 3 hospitals from the previous article, you might be able to find one that is your favorite! If this is the case please let us know in the comment section below! An upcoming article on the subject will once again bring up the same subject, but of hospitals much, much darker… be prepared!