I visited the Ghost Town of Nichitsu (ニッチツ鉱山村) numerous times. It is easy accessible from Tokyo by car for a one-day trip and a worthy experience. I never miss to bring my friends interested in haikyo to Nichitsu.
The village is located at about 50km from Chichibu in Saitama but can also be reached from Kofu in Yamanashi. Beside the mining industries, the shady tunnels are an interesting sight but the best is probably in autumn. This area has a lot of very colorful foliage.
Nichitsu is the name of the mining company that owns the village. The miners had to live around the mines since the main cities were too far. Therefore, the village grew in size little by little until reaching the number of 3,000 inhabitants at its peak. There were two schools, a clinic, a post-office and even a movie theater. The workers with high positions lived in nice houses with tiled roof and good sun exposition. The others were living in flats placed along the riverside or on the slope of the cliff and didn’t have a bathroom.
Sometime in the 80’s, the once prosperous village became abandoned. It seems a few of the buildings were used again in the 90’s by male teenagers. In the rooms of the most modern building we could find many karaoke machines, manga books, loads of pornography, piles of Gundam models and even a giant Pikachu.
There are hundreds of similarly abandoned mining villages and towns in Japan. The most infamous city on the verge of becoming a haikyo is Yubari. This city once had 120,000 inhabitants and it has now lost 90%* of it.
- Nippon No Haikyo #71