Fuchu Military Air Base

It is hard to imagine that there could be still be an abandoned military base in Tokyo. And even more surprising when you know that there are two gigantic parabolic antennas in the middle of it! It was very hard for me to stay away from it, those parabolic antennas are like magic magnet for urban explorers.

We went around the area for a few times, but the base was well protected. There were sharp and tall fences all around and no weak point could be found at all. It is located right in the middle of a residential area where the locals are constantly checking if someone is trespassing. Some residences have set up tripods to support the security. Inevitably, there must be a fun side in catching the bandits. There is also a communication tower inside the complex that is still in use and therefore, there is a real guard inside and cars going in and out.

I hesitated for some time, weighting my judgment. But for my partner, it was more than enough so she jumped on the fence like a cat on the run. Then I followed without taking a second look behind. After a short dash, we were safe hidden in the branches.

For some time we visited the buildings in which apparently a few of the sportsmen of the Tokyo Olympics 1964 stayed. The place is now full of graffiti and it seems two or three artists came here to play. The coming of a car and a guard made us ran away from the place but I came back alone a few days later.

Sometimes, exploration is safer when performed alone, it is easier to be careful and to hide. This time, I headed directly to the two big antennas where the communication center is located. I really wanted to climb them up but I still had the image of the guard in my mind.

This section of the military base was part of the Communication Group of the US 5th Air Force. It was active for only a short period between 1956 and 1973 but has contributed greatly to the communication of U.S. Air Force during the first part of the Vietnam War. “Decryption and Autovon” (U.S. “survival” telephone system in case of a nuclear attack) is what achieved the magic of the place. The two parabolic giants are 13 meters high, and were used specifically to maintain radio communication with another military base in the north of Japan (the Tohoku region), the Misawa Military Base. Communication was made by tropospheric scatter. The waves were balanced and received in the troposphere (layer of the atmosphere with an average altitude of 11 km) to avoid being limited by the visual field. This communication center was part of Japan Troposcatter System. As a result, the system allowed radio communications all the way from Okinawa to Tohoku with only very few terminals.

I jumped the fence again and ran away to the closest temple to take my breath back. This army base was another haikyo checkpoint I wanted to have in my collection.


  • 1956 – 1973
  • Nippon No Haikyo #82
  • Fuchu City

  • Bwentz56

    Great photos! I was there in 67 to 70. My dad might have worked on some of that equipment! He was a Civil Service Test Engineer when they built the big tower. We both climbed it when it was brand new. The building with the bars on it might of been where he worked. It was Top Secret. 

  • joey gazdak

    hi. i have a photo of my mom and dad at the Fuchu Officer’s Club. it’s dated june 17, 1950. do you want a copy? if so, how do i send it? i have other photos of our time in Japan. i think between 1949-51.

    • I would be delighted to see it 🙂 You can actually post it here in the discussion. Do you have photos related to this communication center though? I’ve never seen photos of this place from that time…

  • Reform School Girl # 67050204

    What happened to the old YAMATO Air Station between Yokota AFB and Tachikawa AFB, Tokyo Japan. It was used for billeting in the early 1970’s…then closed. Is it still there?

  • wasthere

    just to set the record straight. The air station was handed over to the Japanese sometime in 1975. I was stationed there from 1972 to sept. of 1974. I was in the 1956th communication sq.

    • Kenny

      Was also there 72 to late 74. Was with the 56th Comm Sq,- a Telephone Equipt Installer Repairman 3ABR36254… Kenny Chauvin (Sgt)… Capt Kang was above the First Shirt at the time. Most of the Base was closing down and moving to Yakota. Great Duty!! Great memories!


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