A defunct business is usually a sad sight, but pachinko parlours are an exception. Their sole purpose is to separate fools from their money, so the sight of one in ruins tends to cheer me up slightly.
I found a derelict parlour called Pachinko Tsubame as I was driving through Yamanashi Prefecture in 2011. I'd like to think that it went bust because the locals found better uses for their money than gambling it away.
Gold, King Palace, and Hokudai
I saw three abandoned parlours as I was on my way to explore the ruins of the Kinugawa Onsen love hotel district, but I am happy to say that I didn't see a single one that was still in business. Population decline and Japan's interminable recession probably had more to do with their demise than an increase in the intelligence of the local population, but there's no need to dwell on this unhappy thought.
This large parlour was in Kiyosato, Yamanashi Prefecture, less than 200 metres from the ruins of the Sun Park Hotel. It had a billiard hall upstairs, judging by the paintings on the walls. Another abandoned building next door contained the remains of a small restaurant and an izakaya.
Pachinko Garden stood near a small railway station in Chiba Prefecture. I read about it on a Japanese website and decided to have a look while I was in the area. I didn't find any evidence to determine when Pachinko Garden was last open, but the vegetation growing in the car park and the general decrepitude of the building show that it wasn't abandoned recently.
A small restaurant on the opposite side of the car park was also abandoned, and a calendar hanging on its wall suggested that it hadn't been open since 1998.
One of the front windows had lost its glass, and the rear entrance was wide open, so there was nothing to stop me having a look inside, which I proceeded to do. Not surprisingly, it was a damp, filthy mess. Some of the locals had apparently been using it as a convenient place to dump garbage. A few gaming machines had been left behind, along with a large number of rusty pachinko balls.
It wasn't a pleasant place, but I considered it far preferable to a pachinko parlour that's still in business. At least a visit to an abandoned pachinko parlour doesn't lighten your wallet.