The House of Freedom

A few years back, a haikyoist friend shared this location with me. He simply told me I should visit this haikyo when I have the chance. He added that this was a popular haikyo in the 90’s and he visited it at the time, without a camera. I then looked for information and photos about it but there was nothing I could find. I made a mistake at this time to decide that it might not be an amazing place. I kept it on a map but never checked it out.

Almost three years later, I found myself in front of a house, with another explorer in Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture, not so far from Tokyo. As I was stunned by the majestuous appearance of this place, I also realized that it was the place my friend told me about before. And I learned a lesson: to never avoid checking out a place because of the lack of photos or information about it.

The House of Freedom (昭和初期の洋館H邸) was massive and looked like a big block of concrete with little chimneys. It was surrounded by it is own little jungle. We had to jump over a slightly annoying metal fence to get into the property, then find ourselves a path through the trees to get to the entrance.

The place was grand. Once passed the Meiji-era entrance made of concrete it then looked more like a mixture of Edo and Western. Upstairs, a set of windows shed impressive lights on the floor. The design and architecture of this place was carefully made. There was even a swimming-pool on its roof to make sure nothing was missing.

When it was built, in 1928, this area of Ibaraki was mainly rice fields and there wasn’t any house like this one. Hachiro Hatsumi, a wealthy politician born in this city, built this house in 1928, two years before its death. It was supposed to be used for meetings of the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement but it is difficult to know how it ended-up being used.

There are many signs of family life and it seemed the house was inhabited until 1972. It must have been his own family since there is a photo of a member of the Hatsumi family in the dining room.

I went back to this place a few years later only to discover that it had been wiped out and replaced by solar panels. Hopefully this is for the best, but my heart is saddened.

The house has been dismantled in May 2013.

HIGHLIGHTS

– Massive concrete building
– Chimneys, fireplace (rare in Japan)
– The room with sofas and paintings

FACTS

  • 1928 – 1945

  • Marjolaine Vaucher

    That’s sad they demolished this house. Big, pretty, and with lot of light. I’d enjoy living there. I love lines, perspectives, and lights. This haikyo is now in my top ten of your pics. I remind me one of my last pics, mith the lines of stairs, kinda vegetal, and evening light. http://tinyurl.com/onyxzhd Still not hauted houses, it’s hard to find here in town 🙂

    • Yes, it’s really sad. I tried my best to show the lines and the light effects which are wonderful in this house. Maybe you can try to find a place like this but not necessarily abandoned ^^

  • Puck

    What a gorgeous beautiful Meiji era building, inside it looks as if you stepped back in time 100 years. This was a real gem. I can’t believed they demolished it. How barbaric. Then again even grander Meiji era buildings have been demolished so its no surprise. It’s depressing to see how much of old Japan is disappearing fast. That building would have made a great arts centre. I’m so glad you were able to photograph it for posterity. It seems no-one care about buildings like these in Japan anymore.

    • Yes, I don’t know why they are not trying to make more efforts to conserve them. It’s not like they need those lands so badly… Population is just going down there. Pathetic…

      • Puck

        That was a structurally very sound building.
        If I knew, I would have raised the money to buy it myself

  • épavart

    Superbe, un vrai plaisir de faire de l’Urbex dans ce type d’endroit, le respect des lieux est évident.

    Japonais ou Français, ce genre d’endroit dégagent la meme atmosphère de sérénité, les couleurs y sont incroyable.

  • worldtraveller

    is the abandoned house still there like that or totally demolished to the grounds?
    I did not really understood that part.

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