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Otakijuku Abandoned Village – Part 2

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廃村 大瀧宿 パート2

P1080775I noticed that a couple of the things in part one are not listed in the correct order. As you are walking through the village, the fallen fire sign comes before the inn.

Now, moving on to part two…

Next to the inn at the end of part 1 is this building (left).  In my photos from 2011 there is a name on one of the walls:  すずめのおやど (Suzume no Oyado). (That wall has since fallen down.)

Searching online for “大滝宿 すずめのおやど” (in Japanese), I found that it was a small restaurant and teahouse.  I also found some photos of Otakijuku from 2001-2004, and there was a lot more to see then than there is now.  I wish I could travel back in time when I come here. It’s surprising how many buildings have crumbled into nothing in just 15 years.

Suzume no Oyado (すずめのおやど)

Let’s take a closer look at the “Suzume no Oyado” teahouse.

I’m not sure why this boat is here (below left). It’s abandoned too, just like the building.

Abandoned boat and restaurant Restaurant

As you can see, one wall is completely missing. The building is wide open, and you can walk right in.

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That concrete block might have been a barbecue grill for customers of the restaurant. It looks like people are still using it for barbecues today. There are fresh ashes in it. Inside the window (behind the barbecue grill) is the kitchen. I think they prepared the food in there, then set it out on the counter for the guests. Notice the stairs on the right. I wonder what is on the second floor, and when was the last time someone went up there?

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Below is the toilet and bathtub. The bath must have been pretty nice at one time, with a stone tub and a view the river below.

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If you want to go and see this place for yourself, you’d better hurry. Most of the above photos were taken in 2010 and 2011. Since about 2012, the building has really started to fall apart. Below is what it looked like during my last visit (April 2015). As you can see, the roof over the kitchen has fallen in, and it is no longer possible to enter that part of the building. The toilet and bath rooms (left side in the photo) fell off in 2012.

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Shrine

The village shrine is just across the road. In fact, the photo above was taken from the steps leading up to the shrine. The shrine is still in use. People come here to pray, and to do cleaning and maintenance of the grounds. In this photo (April 2015), the shrine gate looks almost new.

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The monument (below right) tells the history of Otakijuku, and is where most of the historical information in these blog posts comes from.

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This is an open-air shrine. There is no shrine building, just a collection of stone lanterns and other items.

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Here and there along the road, you can see piles of wood from buildings that have completely fallen apart. You can also see remains of building foundations overgrown with weeds, and concrete objects of various shapes and sizes. What were they used for? There are also piles of old tires and rusty car parts, in spite of signs all along the road that say, “No dumping of garbage here.”

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Walking down the road a little farther, we come to downtown Otakijuku!

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I think most of these buildings here are being used for storage or something. Some of them have “No tresspassing” signs, and the owners come and check on them occasionally, so I didn’t go inside any of them. It doesn’t look like any of the buildings are maintained any more, but some of them have flower and vegetable gardens next to them, so you can tell that the owners visit pretty regularly.

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Near the end of the road is this storage shed (below). In this series of photos you can see the process of decay. And yes, there was a lot of stuff in the shed – plates and bowls, garden tools, etc., which have all spilled out onto the ground. It’s probably been a long time since the owner has come to check on it.

Top left-November 2011; Top right-August 2013; Bottom left-April 2014; Bottom right-April 2015

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And finally, here is the end of the road. Hmm, it looks like there used to be a sign on the left. I wonder what it said.

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This concludes our tour of Otakijuku. Please come and visit if you have a chance.

Written by hobara09

2015-07-22 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized