Nichitsu Ghost Town

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.

FACTS

  • Nippon No Haikyo #71

  • Mark

    Hi, I really want to visit some places like this in Tokyo/Kanto area. Could you give me some more information about the exact locations?

    Thanks

    • Unfortunately, we aren’t suppose to share those locations so easily…

      • Sadayuki

        Hiya, Just popped out to this area with a Japanese friend last weekend. Alot of damage has been done, I assume, during the last few earthquakes, completely felling some of the older buildings. Not sure if you ever knew but the older buildings prior to the 1996 buildings in your main photos are on the mountain side opposite this town and I expect will only last another year or two at best as the wooden frames are seriously weak now. Here are a couple of photo’s. Kind Regards, Love this site!

        • Oh god, indeed, it is in a bad state… what about the little town center?

          • Sadayuki

            The town centre itself seemed identical to your pictures although the doctors surgery and the main hall/sports hall building have suffered some major water damage and one side of the sports hall has dropped about a foot causing the wall and door to bend inwards. We still carefully walked along the centre floor beams to take a pic on the stage but the wooden flooring was very bendy underfoot. We only risked going one at a time. Although all the deterioration only adds to this amazing town. Oh, and there is still a bit of work going on here but we were only stopped on the way out and told to only look from outside as entering the buildings is too dangerous.

  • Mermaidninja

    It’s like everyone just vanished!

  • Pikachu and Some cute figure photos 🙂 It is a very interesting attempt ! 

    • Thanks 🙂 And be ready for tomorrow! It’s going to be crazy. I will go sleep now 🙂

  • ????

    Must be so many hidden treasures here.  Managed to find the clinic but couldn’t locate the actual mine.  Will go back for sure.

    • Indeed there are! I think I saw the mine before the village, but there was some kind of activity.

  • alex

    we went there to shoot a film. we got kicked out an hour into going there. cool place though!

    • Hey Alex! Really!?!? How many people were you? And who actually kicked you out? I went there twice and never met any guard or anything, only families doing sightseeing… 🙂

  • The apartment with all the Gundam figures and console systems seems hard to believe it’s vacant. I love these ghost towns and schools. It feels like a moment in history that just lives on forever, or until demolished.

    Love the work you guys are doing! Hopefully we’ll cross paths on a future trip.

  • mini

    i saw you on galileo, the town was very nice ^-^ you’re a very good photographer, i love the pictures, may i ask which camera you are using?

  • v3000

    Strange… why the town was abandoned immediately, even leaving behind what looked to be a largely intact household still full of personal belongings?

    • I think that place has many distinct (hi)stories, from different periods of time. I am sure the explanation can be found on Internet in Japanese, but basically the town was for the miners and theirs families, then I heard it was used for school trips. Whatever we find now is basically from the latter period.

  • mbx

    how to go there ? thanks merci

  • Spencer J McGill

    gee i would like to go but it seems impossible to find a way to get out there….. i know its in saitama around chichibu somewhere…..

  • likalaruku

    It was difficult to find on Google Earth, but it’s to the west of Ryokamisan.

  • Benny Maxwell

    Went up there 2 days ago. Unfortunately since 2010 things have been smashed, stolen and ransacked. 🙁 Still a nice place to go, just a shame people can’t leave things as they are.

    • Really? I went one year ago and it was fine, I mean, similar as the first time I went in 2010. There is one building which felt down but it was in very bad shape. The hospital was badly damaged but I guess that was before 2010…

      • Yes, It’s quite ransacked now in the main area, even compared to recent photos I have seen. Quite a few buildings closer to the river have suffered some water damage especially around the clinic. But as a Haikyo Newbie, it was quite an unreal experience! It’s beautiful up there right now too 😀

  • Nev

    Where did you guys even park?

  • Charles Colfer

    This is INCREDIBLE, i need to visit every place like this in Japan. Thank you so much for this article dude!!!

  • Luca

    Hi Jordy! I’m Luca, an italian Graphic designer in love with Japan and with abandoned places, so your site is something truly stunning for me. Thank you! I have a question: probably I’ll be for the first time in Japan during Christmas holidays. There is a way to reach Nichitsu town from Tokyo with train? There’s a stop nearby? Thanks p.s. If you’ll be sometime in north Italy let me know so we can visit together the ghost town “Consonno” 🙂

  • Max Archer

    For what it’s worth, this place definitely was occupied until at least the summer of 2000, as that’s when several of those Gundam kits were released.

    Like many other commentors, it blows me away how much stuff gets left behind in these abandoned towns. I get the old magazines, empty boxes, and even furniture and some housewares, but it seems almost sinister when closets sit full of clothes, electronics that were practically new are abandoned, and so on. It really makes your imagination go wild. (Abducted by aliens? Secret last-minute evacuation? Epidemic? Kidnapped and turned into experiment subjects? Etc.)

  • TheAuraKing

    holy crap this is freaky. i was looking for anything about an abandoned town call chichibu but this is what they probably meant. and dang is it just creepy

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