Seika Dormitory

A real ruin made of reinforced concrete in the middle of Tokyo. Is that even possible? This dormitory built in 1927 as a foreign student dormitory was used until recently and was home for 38 Taiwanese students. Unfortunately, on July 20th 2007 at 4.55am, one of its inhabitants fell asleep in his bed while smoking a cigarette. A few minutes later, the entire building caught fire. Two women were killed and seven other people were injured. Most of the content of its rooms has been turned into ashes.

It was hard to imagine how it was looking like before the fire. The building from outside looked like a lifeless and colorless bunker. Once inside, it reminded us of the court of the Block 65 (an iconic building found on the Abandoned Island of Gunkanjima). Upon visiting, the ambiance was sad and painful. Many of the personal belongings were still here, some recognizable, some not.

After exploring the carbonized rooms I found a few ones in better state. That was when I came across this letter, left on a table. The writer had a brain cancer, was living his last moments and was hoping to see his friend one more time.

Visiting the Seika Dormitory (精華寮) was rather an odd experience, somehow moving and dramatic at the same time.

FACTS

  • 1927 – 2007
  • Hélène

    Génial, que je t’envie ! J’ai passé deux super séjours à Tokyo, la prochaine fois je ferai de l’urbex !!

    • Mais oui, il le faut ! 🙂 Tu es la bienvenue !

      • Justin

        Hi there, do you know if this place still exists – and would you be willing to offer directions?

        • I don’t give any directions on this website but I can tell you it still exists and it’s quite easy to locate. All I can tell you is that it is in Tokyo and only using this page as a starting point you have all the hints you need 😉 Good luck!

          • tris

            just found the location after some research, might be visiting later this year, thankyou for the hints (:

          • Super, please post a photo when you do so ^^

          • On a trip to Japan now. Managed to get a day at Nara Dreamland last week and may hit this place up this week before I leave! Looks great.

          • Haven’t put up my photos yet, but yesterday I made a trip to the dorms. I was solo and the mood in the building was very creepy for me. A few doors had been put up inside with new locks, which made me wonder if someone was staying inside of them. I didn’t see anyone the whole time there, but I was sufficiently creeped out nearly the whole time there (especially since I was alone). Thanks for your shots! I went to the dorms because of this page 🙂

          • Hey Chris 🙂 That’s cool! Please post a link to your photos sometimes, when they are ready, that would be cool to see! I agree with you, this building is really creepy, and it’s not surprising : a few persons died there!

  • interesting! Excellent shots. Tokyo Urbex!

  • MJG

    That letter is so sad. Best shot. For the rest I guess I wish you’d tone down the HDR a bit- or use it only sometimes. 

    • The HDR guy’s talking :p I guess it’s a common mistake when we shot ruins, especially at the beginning. For this article, I noticed it right after publishing it: the first pictures are really horrible and over-processed… it hurts the eyes. I’ll try to re-upload better ones later. I try hard not to do too much HDR but I guess sometimes it’s hard to avoid the temptation of it! Anyway, I went there with Ikumi and you should check her website. She took really good pictures (+ story and maps), much better than the ones I have here. And stay updated, I’m about to post 3 locations to which you went 2 years ago 🙂

      • MJG

        Yeah I just found out about Ikumi’s website- looks cool. Then I hunted online for this place. I think it’s really close to where I live, so I’ll go take a walk there today. We’ll see if I was right 🙂

        You post a heckuva lot of haikyo, Jordy. Do you take trips every weekend? And research online a lot? 

        • Tell me if you can’t find it! I don’t think that’s the super-secret haikyo anyways.

          I don’t go to haikyo every weekend, but easily 2-3 times a month, sometimes a whole week-end (+ a day off), always by car, and in a quite intensively way. I actually go with Japanese friends most of the time, we discover a lot of haikyo on the way, that makes it very easy to “exchange” them with others. I must say though, I have to follow their rules and to obey, but sometimes I go by myself with close friends to enjoy a more relaxing experience 🙂

          • MJG

            Interesting- what kind of rules do you mean? 

            I found the place- felt a bit uncomfortable to be inside though- kind of like a ghoul, looking through all this stuff left over. Did people die in this fire? It was pretty recent.

          • To be secretive about the locations basically, of course. They don’t talk much neither and it’s difficult to know from where they got some piece of information, it’s quite a special community. When we go together, I must always follow the very strict / tight schedule, and well, if there is any haikyo on the way, forget it. They don’t take much time to take pictures nor to appreciate the place, so I don’t really understand what is the interest, but I’m sure there is something that is beyond my understanding.

            Wow, you really went for a very quick visit! 🙂 Yeah, this place has a weird atmosphere… I have no idea if anybody died in this fire to be honest. There are many documents in this place though, and I’m pretty sure it’s possible to recollect parts of the whole story.

          • ????

            Checked this out today.  Bit different to the other haikyo ive seen in that this place didn’t die naturally as it were but was killed before its time.  Very interesting all the same and very surprised to see it so central in Tokyo.  Oh, in answer to MJG’s question 2 people died in the fire: http://chitose4.org/trend/tsinghua.html  (ps. great pictures as always)

          • Thanks a lot for the link. The building was actually 80 years old, wow, that’s quite surprising! Yes, that’s really amazing to find this haikyo in central Tokyo. I went back 2 days ago… a few things disappeared sadly though 🙁

          • ????

            Np.  lol must have just missed you!  I thought the place was relatively untouched considering four years have passed since the fire.  Still plenty of artifacts there to see and fortunately no graffiti either.  Sad to hear that things are disappearing though; makes me more eager to see other haikyo before they are disrupted.  One thing I found a bit strange was that the fire was 2007 apparently but I kept seeing stuff from mid-late 90’s lying around (calendars, PS1, leaving las vegas opening poster etc).  

          • It seems the place is very popular, I saw two different persons in that place 🙂 I missed the PS1 though!

      • Hi Jordy, how can I find Ikumi’s website?

        I’m planning to go to Japan (Tokyo) by end of February. Is there any haikyo not far from Tokyo that you would recommend? (besides the ones in Tokyo that you have posted).

        Cheers.

  • Sy_psy

    Oh my… That letter is so sad
    And so the pics

  • Tubahoodie

    http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/site/?pageid=event_desc&edis_id=FR-20070720-12443-JPN
    Two women were killed and seven other people were injured when an apartment building for foreigners in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, was almost destroyed by fire Thursday morning, police said.The fire broke out at 4:55 a.m., gutting Seika-ryo, a 1,800-square meter, three-story reinforced concrete structure, according to the police.The police are trying to identify the deceased–believed to be residents of the building–whose bodies were found in a room on the third floor, the police said.A man in his 30s, who lives on the second floor of the building, called the fire department saying the fire had started after he fell asleep while smoking in bed.The building was originally built as a foreign student dormitory by a foundation established by the Japanese governor general of Taiwan in 1927

  • Anthony

    Je serais au japon les deux dernières semaines du mois de mai 2014 et j’aimerai bien visité ce site ainsi que celui de Nara. Est-il dangereux d’y aller seul? Est-ce que je peux facilement trouver quelqu’un là-bas qui me fera visiter l’endroit? Merci d’avance pour vos réponses! 🙂

    • En fait ce lieu a malheureusement disparu. Pour Nara Dreamland ça sera difficile de trouver quelqu’un pour t’y emmener mais tu peux y aller tout seul, c’est un peu dangereux mais en faisant attention…

  • Kelvin Thomas

    The stairwell is my favorite shot in this series. it seems to sum it all up. Great eyes as usual Jordy!

    • Thanks you! Would love to go back there. Unfortunately, the place is gone… it has been a while now 🙁

  • épavart

    Le bondage au Japon, ce n’est surement pas rare, une VHS sur Jésus, c’est déja moins courant !

    Meme brulé, ce n’est pas une chips, beaucoup d’objet très sympa !

  • リチャード スキラス

    Hi there, Ive been here in nTokyo for 6 years and I’m tired of the regular pic. I was wondering if you ever do small meet ups to go shooting or exploring?

  • JPM

    So it’s been demolished?

    • C

      yes it has,

  • JPM

    Is this place still here? On a trip to japan later this year, and looking for some good ruins near tokyo

  • C

    Gret website! And intresting post. But im sorry to say that Seika Dormitory has been demolished. I just visited this morning and the area is fenced off and and cleared out. It would have been nice to see, but oh well. Im looking forward to visiting some of your other posts, ill let you know if they are still standing when i get to them.

    Best regards

    • C

      I took these pictures as well to show the current state of affairs. I could not read the Japanese signs posted around the property, so i am not sure of there relevance.

      If you could mark down that Seiko has been demolished, I’m sure it would save someones time in the future.

  • C

    did my post come through?

  • Leina

    Cette lettre… elle m’a complètement saisie, je ne m’attendais pas à lire quelque chose d’aussi triste…
    Si elle est restée là, ça veut dire que son destinataire n’a pas pu sauver la dernière lettre de son/sa meilleur(e)ami(e)… je me demande s’il a pu lui rendre visite?
    Tant de choses laissées derrière, lors des catastrophes!
    Sinon, c’est de loin un des plus intéressants sites d’urbex que j’aies visités jusque-là!

    • Oui, cette lettre est tellement triste c’est incroyable, avec le décor en plus… Difficile de ne pas être mal à l’aise en la découvrant…

  • Puck

    What a shame, I so love Meiji era buildings

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