I’ve always been fascinated by archeology. Exploring the ruins of ancient civilizations and cultures is a window to the past that can tell us a lot about humanity. However, sometimes those ruins don’t have to be so ancient. Urban exploration – or haikyo (廃墟) in Japanese – is the interesting hobby of exploring and photographing abandoned structures. Through my time in Japan, I’ve came across a lot of these places and they always intrigued me.
About ten years ago, while living in Hokkaido, I made a trip to one such abandoned place: Gluck Kingdom. It was my first and last haikyo adventure. Essentially a German theme park, it was quickly abandoned after failing to sustain a steady rate of visitors. When I first moved to Hokkaido I was curious as to what the out of place European styled buildings were that one could clearly see from an airplane coming into the city of Obihiro.
The complex was clearly well constructed when I visited, and the main hotel had all the amenities one would expect in a luxury establishment in Japan. I found it sad to learn from a friend that the oldest building in Hokkaido was actually a log cabin that was taken from Germany, piece by piece, and reassembled at Gluck Kingdom, only to be left rotting and unattended after the park closed.
Recently I came across an entry on the Haikyo website about Gluck Kingdom, and following a request I thought I would post some photos my group took that showed the park in better, yet still abandoned, days.