Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Rotting by the Seaside


I found this moribund collection of seaside restaurants and shops while driving along the south-east coast of Hokkaido. There was a large, roughly square block of buildings, and a solitary ramen shop about 45 metres away. The first time I saw it was in the evening, and I thought that every single business in the main block had gone under, although the ramen shop remained open.

A week later I revisited a bit earlier in the day, and discovered that a few businesses in one of the corner buildings were still clinging to life. I later noticed the sound of machinery, probably refrigeration equipment, coming from inside what appeared to be a warehouse, and realised that it too was still in use. Every other building had been abandoned, and some were already falling down.

On the other hand, the nearby car park was large and well maintained, and the public toilet block was the best looking building in sight. A row of roadside vending machines looked quite new, although the awning that once covered them was gone.

This seafood restaurant apparently specialized in crab dishes. The door was wide open, so of course I had to have a look inside. Long ago it was probably a nice place, but the years had clearly taken their toll.

There was a small dining area upstairs. The windows looked out over the roofs of other abandoned buildings.

Walking out the back door of the crab restaurant, I found an interesting array of ruined buildings, including a house that presumably belonged to one of the shopkeepers. I find scenes like this fascinating but profoundly sad, since they represent people's crushed hopes and broken dreams.

A long-abandoned boathouse was decaying away on the opposite side of the road. I thought it contrasted nicely with the thriving vegetation that surrounded it. I made no attempt to explore what was left of the inside.