August 11, 2012

Less Than Ghostly, But Still Quite Strange

I'd read all about how the town of Kiosato was an abandoned ghost town. I'd just missed it on my previous trip and this tasked me immensely. So I went down the Koumi Line again, from Sakuradai and got off in Kiyosato.

My first indication that a Japanese Detroit did not await me was the huge number of people that got off the train with me (who had got on at the previous station). However, most of them didn't linger...they got on buses and departed, no doubt for the many interesting tourist attractions that are around the town. This actually IS a working town....and it seems to be a major tourist area, but there are a LOT of abandoned businesses here.

The view from the station

I gather that part of the problem is that the buses take people directly to their destinations now and the new highway (interprefectural?) allows it to be bypassed altogether.

Just outside the station was what appeared to be a maid cafe which specialized in sweets...I would have thought that this would have a very real marketing problem as maid cafe's seem to be mainly aimed at men, and sweets cafes are aimed primarily at women here in Japan.

Given its fate it would seem I was right...

But it still has chairs on the deck
Or perhaps their mascot scared everyone away...

Lots of abandoned buildings and a few businesses, some of which seem to be doing well, especially the souvenir shops near the train station and a sweets shop that has a very art deco  design...and no scary EGLs with pointy things painted on the door...

The thing is that the town is quite picturesque...

...until you get up close and see that maybe half the buildings are abandoned.

One of the business models that seem to be thriving here....retirement homes.

The lady in the doorway asked me to come up and we had a friendly conversation in which I did not actually make a fool of myself....something of a first on this trip for anything beyond simple purchases.

It's not exactly a ghost town and there is a lot of activity around it, but its damned peculiar especially since the non abandoned bits are fully functional and pleasant. It's like Detroit without the blight, a very surreal experience.

(I understand that there is a much more fully abandoned area on the other side of the tracks near the highway. I could not go that far afield due in part to the rather ominous shift in tone the sky was taking)

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 06:11 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Very Japanese; the place has been abandoned, but the cleaners still come three times a week.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Aug 12 01:46:03 2012 (PiXy!)

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