Japan’s Abandoned Mines Hint At The Ruins We’ll Leave Behind


Matsuo mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.

The mines in Osarizawa and Matsuo closed decades ago, leaving behind the ruins of industry and miners’ homes. The shattered landscape offers a foretaste of a not-too-distant apocalypse.

More: Michael Johngrist h/t: gizmodo


Matsuo mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.

Michael Johngrist explores ruins, and during a trip to Japan, he photographed the striking ruins that resulted from the closings of the mines in Osarizawa and Matsuo. The first three images come from Osarizawa, where the smelting facilities for the gold and copper mine closed in 1978. Mitsubishi currently owns the property, where it gives guided tours, possibly to protect visitors from the aging contents of the former smelting pools.


Matsuo mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.

The second set of images comes from the apartment complex surrounding the Matsuo sulfur mines.

“Matsuo mine in the north of Japan opened in 1914 and closed in 1969. In its heyday it was the biggest mine for sulfur in the Eastern world. It had a workforce of 4,000 and a wider population of 15,000, all of whom were accommodated in a make-shift city in the mountains of Hachimantai park. The city was known as the ‘paradise above the clouds’ for its comparatively luxurious apartment blocks and near-constant ebb and flow of mist. That same mist nearly prevented us from finding the place at all,” he wrote.


Matsuo mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.

“The complex of 11 apartment buildings was built over a few years from 1951. Each block stood four stories tall in reinforced concrete. The first floor was designed for young childless couples, with one 6-mat room and kitchen per flat, while upper floors were for couples with children, with one 8-mat room, one 6-mat room, and a kitchen. Compared to Japanese standards of the time they were very well-appointed apartments, with a central heating system, a flush lavatory and a garbage chute.”


Matsuo mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.


Matsuo mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.


Osarizawa mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.


Osarizawa mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.


Osarizawa mine, Japan. Photo by Michael Johngrist.

Leave Your Comment Below:

More Inspiring Stories: