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Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido
  • Japan is prime territory for urban exploration, and central Hokkaido is one of the real hotspots for this exhilarating and often educational activity. The Japanese word for abandoned building is Haikyo, and it can also be interpreted as the word for ‘ruins’. Urban exploration amongst Japanese is common enough to have the term Haikyoist coined for the people who find thrills in exploring the various abandoned towns, houses, schools, theme parks, hospitals and industrial sites on offer throughout the archipelago.

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    One of the better places for urban exploration is the abandoned hydro power plant, called Shimizusawa Thermal Power Plant. The place is top tier in terms of ruin exploration, the historical hydroelectric power plant has been fairly well preserved and is freely open to the public – which means free exploring to your heart's content without any fear of getting on the wrong side of the police.

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    The power plant was built in 1926 and served as the main source of power to the numerous coal mines in Shimizusawa and Yubari which surrounded it back in coal’s heyday. The plant was also used to supply energy to the general public during power shortages which were a common occurrence whilst Japan was being reconstructed after World War II.

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Another point of interest when it comes to exploring areas forgotten by modernity is the abandoned train near Yubari, which sits docked at the abandoned Minami Oo Yubari Station. The train was used to take miners to the mines back when coal mining was all the rage in central Hokkaido. Eventually, once the coal dried up, so too did the need for many of the stations used to accommodate the industry, and most were lost to time.

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Minami Oo Yubari is one of the most well preserved examples of this bygone era as it has been virtually untouched since it was abandoned in the ‘80s. Two carriages and a front driver’s section remain, as well as a platform and some old-school signs. It is open to the public – one can literally just pull up to the car park and explore for free.

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Another recommended stop is Route 273 – a great scenic drive through Hokkaido. Along the picturesque drive is another abandoned station, called Horoka Station. The station can be found just east of Asahikawa city and is a great place to have a leisurely walk amongst the old overgrown train tracks.

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    Exploring the Ruins of Central Hokkaido

    It all ties together quite nicely. The aforementioned Shimizusawa Thermal Power Plant was used to power the old mines, and the abandoned stations mentioned were used to take the miners down to their workplace. All in all, central Hokkaido is a great place to explore Japan’s mining past, which has been left to the whims of nature – adding a unique beauty which will add an an interesting element to any visit to the area.

    Mitsubishi Oyubari Railway Minami Oyubari Sta. Ato
    Address
    Hokkaido Yubari-shi Nanbu , Former Minami Oyubari Sta. Konai
    Phone
    0123523128
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