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Japan is known for its bright, throbbing cities – but look hard enough and there are dark, abandoned abodes and attractions to be discovered.
Photographer Shane Thoms has captured some of these darkly enchanting places in a stunning new book – Haikyo: The Modern Ruins of Japan, published by CarpetBombingCulture.
Thoms, from Melbourne, Australia, has captured a bizarre and mysterious world where mini jungles sprout and discarded furniture litters dusty buildings laden with foreboding.
The haunting locations include an abandoned slot parlour in Saitama Prefecture, an abandoned strip club in Okayama Prefecture and a former love hotel in Chiba Prefecture.
Thoms says that he likes to ‘visually capture the remaining traces of human emotion that linger before the process of urban evolution erases them forever’.
Scroll down to see a shadowy, secret side to one of the world’s most developed countries.
Inside Nara Dreamland: Thoms describes this former theme park as ‘haunting and eerily nostalgic’
This weather beaten Ferris wheel at Nara now sits decayed among overgrown weeds and shrubs
The ‘Screw Coaster’ at Nara Dreamland: Nara closed down in 2007 because of steep competition from the much more high tech Osaka Universal Studios and Tokyo Disney Sea, explains Thoms
Abandoned Love Hotel in Chiba Prefecture: This particular room had a medieval/Ye Olde English theme fully equipped with a knight in shining armour and a horse-cart shaped bed
This room in the Love Hotel had a Moroccan/Middle Eastern theme with tattered scarves and drapes surrounding a heavily decayed bed
Abandoned strip club in Okayama Prefecture: Located in a tiny Onsen town, this dusty place was filled with stools waiting for patrons who will never arrive. ‘The rest of the club looked like a 1970’s New Year’s Eve party that never got cleaned up,’ says Thoms
An abandoned Pachinko and slot parlor in Saitama Prefecture: ‘This rubbish littered building had a 1990’s feel and was filled with mosquitos and wasps. It was a little moody and melancholic because the desperate gambling addictions of its former patrons still lingered in the space,’ says Thoms
An apartment block on Hashima Island: Called ‘Block 65’, this was the largest housing complex on the island at nine storeys high with 317 apartments and a small playground on its rooftop. Hashima Island was abandoned in 1974 after its underground coal resources dried up
Another view from inside the guts of Hashima Island: ‘Located 15 kilometres from Nagasaki and far more visually intense than any post-apocalyptic movie set, this isolated labyrinth of crumbling concrete and steel provides a rich and spectacular vision of urban decay,’ says Thoms
A crammed apartment complex on Hashima Island. In place of what was once a suffocatingly crammed community that lived on top of each other, sits a deserted and enchantingly dark ghost city
A shooting Gallery inside the Western Village Amusement Park near Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. Sitting derelict on the edge of a small rural town, this quirky and oddly different American colonial theme park closed permanently in the mid-2000s
An abandoned hotel in Ibaraki Prefecture: ‘Located beside a stream in a quiet country town, this quaint establishment was filled with fully furnished albeit rotting tatami rooms,’ says Thoms
The ground floor of an abandoned hotel in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture: This former Onsen hotel overlooked a gushing river in a once bustling tourist area. Visitor numbers dwindled in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s due to a souring economy
Another deserted seaside resort on Hachijo Island, photographed in February 2014. ‘A swampy former swimming pool now filled with bugs and slime,’ says Thoms
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