Haikyo are impressive. Some even spectacular. This is not a regular style sightseeying. The sights are exceptional and… they won’t be there forever, so carpe diem is the right attitude. Whether it’s an abandoned amusement park, haunted hospital, overgrown military base or just a solitary cow happily disintegrating in the middle of nowhere – Japanese ruins are the unique exploration spots, left untouched aside from the imprint of time. And lucky enough we just stepped in one of the most charming and impressive haikyo on the island. Hokkaido has been through a lot – from scenery-changing volcano eruptions to probably most important: economic collapse. Naturally haikyo ((廃墟, meaning ruins in Japanese) became the special part of the local scenery. An absolute treat for a group of young gaijin helpers on a weekend trip. When a couple days earlier we’ve been checking thehaikyo.org website highlights, no one would expect that on our way to Noboribetsu festival we’ll encouter such a treasure!
Once one of four major theme parks of super-onsen town Noboribetsu, China Park of Heaven is a collapsing monument of better times. About 7 minutes drive from the town itself, the haikyo felt a bit too creepy for the evening sightseeing tour, so we continued on to the Hell Valley for the truly demonic fireworks and with a resolution – we’re coming back tomorrow for a proper Haikyo Sunday! and so we did. First you notice the pagoda – stunningly surrounded by lush green forest on the hills scenically shaping into the mountain river banks. If you’re not up for an adventure (like we were), at least stop for a breathtaking view and a picture from the bridge.
We crossed the bridge and pulled off, left the car on a small parking conveniently created there with toilets, so people don’t just stop on the bridge – just a perfect distance from our haikyo, far enough not to rise suspicion from the passing police car…Seriously, no matter how accidental it has been, as soon as the police car disappeared by the corner we got on with our best acting. I mean it, crawling under the gate, then sneaking in pairs from one bush to the next and on to the safety of the ruins.
Midday turned into afternoon blessing all the photographers among us with the perfect light for the session. We wandered around, some Germans even magically teleported themselves to the Stone Forest of Yunnan, China (by vanishing from the mini version of it. A-team of our men played with the bell of great importance for Japanese-Chinese relations – a diplomatic gift from Beijing was a nice prop for a pic Having this spectacular place all for ourselves we felt very special this summer day. Pretending to be princesses from Qing Dynasty me and Evelina gracefully rested in the shadow of a tree by the Garden Court, while guys took last shots with their cameras.
Just a few minutes of tension and everyone made their way out and on the bridge again without being noticed by the police car that appeared just in time to spice our little journey a bit. Some Journey in time and space it has been! And such a memorable Haikyo Sunday for our bunch.