Featuring the haunting photographs of Shinichi Ito, our Asia bureau chief, Fiona Wilson, reports from Yubari, the Japanese coal city that lost 90 per cent of its residents after its mines closed and the city councilors went on a disastrous spending spree.

This is how New Year celebration used to be

Population of young people has drastically decreased

Empty station

Centenarian who lived all her life in Yubari

See full photoessay at Monocle [via Japan Soc]

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5 thoughts on “Yubari: Ghost Town

  1. How do these ghost towns come to be? Is it just that no one has ever run a train out there? Can I just claim a ghost town and renovate it?

  2. Ōkami-Sensei,

    In the case of this town, the coal industry evaporated, and people abandoned it. There are still people living there, but not many. Other towns are completely abandoned though and are much more scary…

    It is unlikely that you’ll be able to just claim a town, and it would involve very large amount of money to renovate it. I heard that someone claimed the Moon as his own and is selling it part by part already, but that is another matter 😛

    – – –

    Kairu Ishimaru,

    Yes, this town does not have many prospects, especially for young people.

  3. theres something almost poetic about a ghost town, its like a snapshot of another time and shows how all the work we have done as a society can be wiped away slowly with time.

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