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Report - Toyo Bowl - Kanagawa, Japan - June 2009

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by sgtbeefmeat, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. sgtbeefmeat

    sgtbeefmeat 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jun 5, 2012
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    Thought I'd start by adding some reports to the forum from my time in Japan.

    As a result of the country's late 80's Bubble Economy, enterprising business people built a shit tonne of oversized, unsustainable, doomed-to-fail businesses that quickly crumbled once the bubble burst.

    Consequently, Japan is absolutely littered with ruins - or 'haikyo' as they're known - hospitals, brothels, theme parks and even entire towns lay abandoned across the length and breadth of the country.

    Which, if you're in to urban exploration, is fucking great. :)

    The first explore I did was the Toyo Bowl - a three-floored complex which once sported 108 bowling lanes, arcades, creches, restaurants and a gym. Reports in other places say that it was the biggest bowling alley in Japan at one time, although I wasn't able to confirm this. It's a mammoth place, though. I used to pass it weekly on my way to work and spot the giant tenpin on top of it from the train. From a distance there was nothing to distinguish it from the hundreds of other bowling alleys dotted around Japan, and it was only when I started looking into Urbex locations that I realised I lived about five minutes away from one.

    Apologies about the standard of photography in this one. A lot of the interior shots I took were a bit flash-tastic and, in retrospect, a bit embarrassing. If you do want to get more of an idea of what the inside looked like - and you don't value your retinas - they're over on Flickr. I was fully tripodded-up for all subsequent explores.

    This is the sign for the place. As you can see, it's in pretty good nick and from far away you'd be forgiven for thinking the place was still a going concern.


    Exterior - this is probably about half of the building. That red sign at the bottom is where the entrance to the pachinko parlour would have been. (Pachinko is a ridiculously popular gambling game, a little like vertical pinball where you have to guide dozens of silver balls into holes in the machine.)


    This is the other side. It should give you some idea of one of the main differences in how abandoned buildings are treated in Japan compared to England. See that van? Rather than taking stuff AWAY from the site, as the UK pikey population likes to do, Japanese people tend to use 'haikyo' sites to get around the country's strict recycling laws. I saw at least three cars inside the place, as well as fridges and a whole manner of other household items.


    So when you go inside you're greeted by scenes like this: a bowling ball surrounded by car batteries. It's especially bad at this particular site, which is slap-bang in the middle of a country suburb.


    Graffiti is another common feature - not unlike the UK.


    My best guess is that a local hobo liked to use this as his place of residence from time to time, although it's quite common for teens to flock to abandoned locations in Japan to escape the confines of sharing a tiny house with four generations of their family.


    A pachinko parlour, pretty much gutted. There were a good ten rows just like this.


    A bucket of pachinko balls, sadly no longer worth anything.


    I couldn't quite figure out whether this large communal bath was for the staff or if it was for gym customers.


    Annoyingly, when I got inside I was only able to explore the ground floor, as there were signs plastered everywhere warning about the presence of asbestos upstairs. Of course, that's where all the bowling alleys were, but from what I've seen elsewhere they were ripped out when the place finally went under in 1999.

    I've got quite a few more reports from Japan - I can promise better photographs and more thorough explorations in the next ones if you fancy seeing them.

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