Bleak Scenes

Abandoned places, lesser-known attractions, and assorted oddities

Tamura Iron Manufacturing


I was driving through Akita Prefecture in October 2013 when I saw an asphalt recycling plant on a side road, and made a small detour to take a few photographs. As I surveyed the area, I noticed an old concrete chimney further down the road. I took a short walk to investigate, and discovered this interesting industrial ruin, which I of course proceeded to explore. I returned to the area in April 2014 to explore the nearby Hotel Sekitei and also took a few more photographs of the Tamura site.

The largest remaining structure was an old fashioned wooden office building. Nothing remained of the factories apart from a few piles of rubble, the chimney, and a partially collapsed workshop attached to the rear of the office.

A steel ladder still led from just above ground level to the top of the chimney. There was nothing to stop someone from climbing it if they were so inclined. I considered climbing up with my small camera, but didn't trust its structural integrity, and decided that the promise of a few moderately interesting aerial shots wasn't worth the risk of premature death or mutilation.

I decided to risk a look inside the office building, and entered through the partially collapsed shed in the rear. The floors were seriously uneven, and I would have been in trouble if there was an earthquake, but the building didn't seem to be in danger of imminent collapse, so I explored it at my leisure. Some calendars on the wall indicated that the office closed some time around the year 2000.

Everything looked curiously undisturbed. Fax machines, documents, assorted office paraphernalia, and even a few empty cans and bottles had been left lying around. Apart from a thick layer of dust, you could imagine that everyone had just left for the day and would be back at work tomorrow.

One room looked like it was probably a waiting room for visitors. Various framed awards, certificates of appreciation, and the like were proudly displayed on the walls. I thought it was a little sad that nobody even bothered to take them when the business shut down.

The upper floor consisted of a single large room in the centre, and smaller rooms at each end. It was messier than the ground floor, and looked like it had been used mainly for storing unwanted or seldom used stuff. One room contained rolled-up blueprints, and another held what I took to be an ancient teleprinter. A few windows were broken, allowing leaves and dirt to enter.

I know nothing about the history of this place. The fact that so much stuff was left behind made me think that the company probably collapsed suddenly. An Internet search revealed that a company of the same name is still in business, but I don't know if this is the same company that owned this complex.