In our world full of man-made structures there’s no shortage of decaying, decrepit urban spaces. And the inherent dangers and legalities of infiltrating these spaces have increasingly enticed explores. Terms used to describe the hobby are as plentiful as the sites themselves: there’s the abbreviated urbex the less-tasteful but humorous ruin porn and in Japan there’s haikyo. Written as 廃墟 the term literally means “ruins” and is used to describe abandoned infrastructure but is also synonymous with the practice of urban exploration.
Here are a few instagrammers you can follow who beautifully and sometimes creepily document Japan’s haikyo. Do you have any suggestions? Tell us in the comments!
Instagram handle: @hirade
The photographer Daisuke Hirade hails from Sapporo, a region in Northern Japan. But true to his motto, “The man who has no imagination has no wings,” Hirade makes it a point to explore Japan’s abandoned schools, hospitals and amusement parks. He’s also published 3 kindle books on haikyo in Japan.
Instagram handle: @8st
Not much is known about the photographer who goes by the handle 8st, except for the fact he or she has a keen eye for capturing the loneliness and isolation of haikyo.
Instagram handle: @jordymeow
True to his name, the french photographer Jordy Meow posts photos of cats. But he’s also the proprietor of haikyo.org and his instagram stream is sprinkled with a mixture of cats, food, everyday life and, of course, haikyo. After moving to Japan, Meow became deeply involved in the haikyo subculture. He recently published a book, Japan Abandoned, and it’s available for pre-order on Amazon.
Instagram handle: @___krampus___
Krampus captures Japan’s haikyo with a unique dynamic that combines poetry with photography. “Scary is beautiful, dirty is cute, decay is cool and sadness is nostalgic,” writes krampus in his description.
Instagram handle: @violent_crumble
Australian photographer Shane Thoms posts a steady stream of crumbling buildings and amusement parks that are nothing short of chilling. “The journey from permanence to disposability, composition to decomposition and construction to deconstruction” are common themes that permeates his work.
Instagram handle: @neji_maki_dori
Wa has been taking photos of haikyo since 2006. From the well-known to the more obscure locations, Wa has you covered on all things haikyo.