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White Clinic

In a little corner of the Tochigi Prefecture we found this wooden clinic, surrounded by other abandoned houses. Another dying town in Japan. Entering the clinic’s ground, we were sent back to 1932, when the building was erected, all white and clean, with a modern kind of look, slightly western. It was a trend for hospitals and fancy houses to look this way back then.

The white paint was completely gone on the wooden boards but a few traces were still visible. The prefectural government added a few warning signs on its carcass: “No Entry”. Then, closer: “Building in danger of collapse”. And that is true, the structure looked very weak and a big chunk of it was already down.

The waiting room was decorated with beautiful paintings, photos, and of course the mandatory certificates and awards of the doctor were obvious on the walls. The calendar was from 1992, but it is possible that the hospital was abandoned before that. Sometimes, the family of the former owner likes to come to those places that they now own, dust them, look at a few memories and update the calendars.

There was no pharmacy in this clinic. This doctor must have sent his clients to the pharmacies nearby, keeping a small percentage, as it is done in Japan. The interesting part of this hospital was all the artifacts it contains. No tiny magic potions this time but a lot of tools, medicine, stethoscopes, microscopes, hundreds of syringes, doctor’s bag full of old currency notes (international notes included), blood samples (still stuck in their microscope slides), etc. There was plenty to discover for a newbie doctor.

The hospital was indeed really damaged and not far from complete collapse: the stairs leading to the second floor were completely destroyed and it looked like it would take the entire building down someday. My brave Japanese friends went up without even looking back so I joined them carefully. The floor was really unstable but I could take a few shots before the sun finally set.


  • 1932 – 1992