Red Villa

The remote villages in Japan are full of secrets and abandoned houses. In Kanto area, wealthy families used to build houses with a western look as if the country had been a colony once. Today, those abandoned houses hold a very particular aura and they have their share of stories.

The Red Villa was found next to a lake in Ibaraki Prefecture, surrounded by a wild bamboo groove. Through it, I had my first sight of this beautiful villa built in 1922.

We were welcomed by a scary doll at the entrance and an antique phone. This was the ground floor, consisting of a dining room and a kitchen almost beyond recognition. There are a few TVs around which surely indicates that the family was quite a wealthy one. They have multiple photos of themselves around, happily enjoying their life or posing for the camera. It seems like it was a big family, probably three generations living at the same place.

We went up and found the second floor even more interesting. There are bedrooms and a nice balcony with a big comfy looking chair, an ideal place for a nap. But the real secret of this house is located inside a very little room located in the back of the main bedroom. Behind teared-up black curtains, we discovered a little laboratory. On the bottles around, we could read Kodak Sodium Carbonate and Dry Plate boxes next to them. This was an ancient darkroom!

There were many documents, letters written in English, developed photos and dry plates which are like negatives. We put them in front of the window and we could discover many photos of the house, family reunions, people playing together and a lot of pornography. The photographer living here had definitely a lot of fun experiencing many different styles.
The house became a haikyo during the 80’s. I do not know why it got abandoned but I am pretty certain that the clue is still inside the house, awaiting for someone to discover it.


– the ancien dark-room


  • 1922 – 1983

  • Scott Cejka

    This place is amazing! All that family history, writing, family photographs..all the photographic tools and equipment…It’s a shame all of it is just wasting away. So much of it should be in a museum.

    • If people were respectful it would be awesome to restore this kind of place a little and make them accessible to the visitors for free, since they are… haikyo 🙂 And it would be cleaned and maintained by those them visitors.

      Well, in another world.

  • Puck

    What an interesting house architecturally and in the middle of a bamboo forest of all places, love it. It would have made a great place for a summer retreat. Pity to see it decay like this.

  • Gabriela Stifler

    why they abandoned it?

    • No inheritance, probably. Like a lot of houses in Japan.

      • Gabriela Stifler

        I feel this could inspire some great ghost stories *-*

  • épavart

    Oh purée, cette villa, tous ces objets, comme le vieux téléphone des années 30, les photos, la poupée, l’atelier, génialissime !

    Amusant la boite avec l’inscription en Français !

  • jery_cane

    Superbe série, et magnifique site ! les photos sont vraiment très belles, j’adores ces reportages, continues !

  • Herriclan

    Monsieur Jordy Meow:
    Merci….Si vous plait…Please reading this my text…i am listen my mind and heart! Inclusive transletter in portuguese hear:

    _apesar de optar em escrever em minha língua pátria considero eque a foto que apresenta um texto manuscrito incita considerar “uma certa admiração ao guru Osho. Ainda apresenta a programação de um evento onde ele se faria presente. Outra informação verificada “uma tal fórmula sagrada”. Tb informações sobre higiene.

    …enfim vale traduzir todo o texto pois agrada-me ser filosófico, pesquisador e aventureiro!!!

    Merci….Si vous plait…From Brazil.


  • Herriclan

    Monsieur Jordy Meow:

    Merci….Si vous plait…Please reading
    this my text…i am listen my mind and heart! Inclusive transletter in
    portuguese hear:

    _apesar optant pour
    écrire dans ma langue maternelle et je pense que l’image qui présente un texte
    manuscrit incite envisager “un certain gourou Osho admiration. n’a pas
    encore planifier un événement où il serait présent. autre information
    vérifiée” comme une formule sacrée . “Tb informations sur l’hygiène.

    Worth … enfin traduire tout le texte pour
    qu’il me plaît d’être philosophique, chercheur et aventurier !!! Répondez-moi
    s’il vous plaît. J’ai été fasciné par l’aspect de la «lentille de la
    caméra” qu’il atteigne un accent poétique et mystique. Félicitations
    pour aiguiser un regard photographique avec des particularités brillants.

    Merci….Si vous plait…From Brazil.


    55- 041-79-9134-0404 Phone cell

  • Rickk Berry III

    One has to wonder where the current generation of the family is and why they haven’t taken some of those things. If there IS a current generation of that family, anyway.

  • Emily Dixon

    do you know if this is demolished now??


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