Ghosts of West Japan: Abandoned Places for Travel

Ghosts of West Japan: Abandoned Places for Travel


Numerous eerie abandoned dwellings dot the globe, comprising forsaken structures succumbed to neglect. Japan is no different. While certain areas were deserted due to Japan's population decline, others bear witness to chilling events and history. Explore some of the eerie and historically significant abandoned areas of West Japan, each harboring captivating narratives and spine-chilling tales.

Note: While abandoned places are intriguing, avoid entering restricted areas due to safety concerns. Access may be limited to guided tours (which we will clearly state), and trespassing is prohibited. 

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Fukuchiyama Abandoned Railway Hike, Hyogo

An abandoned railway in Hyogo Prefecture, originally part of the JR Fukuchiyama line, now serves as a scenic 5km hiking trail offering stunning views of gorges and mountains. The hike, mostly flat, includes walking through dark tunnels where a flashlight or headlamp is necessary due to their length. This hike is free to visit. 

Takeda Floating Castle, Hyogo

Takeda Castle, also known as the "castle floating in the sky," or “Japan’s Macchu Picchu” is a ruined castle in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture. Built in 1411 and conquered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it appears to float on clouds on foggy autumn mornings, best viewed around sunrise in October and November from Ritsuunkyo Mountain.

Tomogashima Ruins, Wakayama

Tomogashima, once a so-called “pirate” hideaway and secret military base during World War II, now offers hiking, picnics, and camping amidst overgrown vegetation and abandoned military buildings. People say it is reminiscent of scenes from the Ghibli animation the Castle in the Sky  It is also a hotspot for cosplay enthusiasts seeking adventure off the beaten path in Japan. Get here by ferry, then you are free to explore. 

Rabbit Island Okunoshima, Hiroshima

Okunoshima, off the coast of Hiroshima, is famous for its rabbit population and once housed a secret chemical weapons factory during World War II. Despite its dark history, visitors can enjoy beautiful beaches and campgrounds alongside the adorable rabbits. There are very few off limits areas due to dilapidated buildings, but get here by ferry and then you're free to explore the island. 

Hashima Battle Ship Island, Nagasaki

Hashima, featured in the James Bond movie Skyfall, was a coal mine until 1974, hosting over 5000 residents on its densely populated 480m by 150m expanse, earning it the nickname "battleship island" or Gunkanjima. Abandoned since the mine's closure, exposure to typhoons has left its buildings in a haunting state, leading to its closure to the public for safety reasons. It is only accessible by ferry tours.