The 2018 Netflix series ‘Dark Tourist‘ featured New Zealand journalist David Farrier visiting eight different countries (including Japan) on a mission to visit all manner of places relating to humans suffering in some sort of way whether it be victims of crime, tragic events or natural disasters. Of course, this kind of morbid traversing is nothing new, and people have been visiting these places for many decades but this TV show did help promote the idea of such tourism.
Having visited some famous dark historical sights in the likes of Poland, Germany, Australia, England and Cambodia (to name a few), I have to admit that I am slightly fascinated by such tourism. Japan has a fair number of places historically associated with death and tragedy, and Tokyo Fox has collated them into a series. Each volume will show a mix of relatively unknown places alongside the far more famous (or infamous in some cases!) ones.
1. The only war museum in Japan?
Nasu War Museum @ 2725 Takakuotsu, Nasu, Nasu District, Tochigi – This is basically one man’s personal collection presented in a fairly cluttered fashion. The museum possesses a wide range of real, preserved exhibits starting off with the tanks and airplane engines outside plus two fairly large rooms packed full of war history related materials including various weapons used both inside and outside of Japan during wars from various periods of Japanese history. More details here
2. The remains of the test facility of firearms from WWII.
Futtsu Park @ Futtsu, Chiba – There are four little observatory buildings dotted around this area of Chiba but be aware that there is no map or signage about these remains. They are known simply by the letters A-D. More details here
3. Feel the hardships suffered in WWII by Japanese soldiers.
Memorial Museum for Soldiers, Detainees in Siberia, and Postwar Repatriates @ 2-6-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku – This small museum is not about the Japanese intervention in Siberia (1918-1922) but is actually to do with the Japanese prisoners of war at the end of WWII. It consists of three main zones designed to present the hardships suffered in WWII by Japanese soldiers, prisoners of war, and repatriates in a permanent exhibition of relics, graphics, footage and dioramas. More details here
4. The effect of active volcanoes in Hokkaido.
Konpira Crater Disaster Remains @ 142-5 Toyakoonsen, Toyako, Abuta-Gun, Hokkaido – A volcano eruption two decades ago had a pretty devastating effect on this part of Hokkaido. The resulting mudflow washed away a bridge and severely damaged the ground floor of local buildings. The town was evacuated in the wake of this most recent eruption and the old hot spring facility building and an apartment building have been left the way they were damaged and it’s fascinating to freely wander around the remnants of the disaster. More details here
5. A powerful reminder of the devastation caused by the bombing of Nagasaki.
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum @ 7-8 Hiranomachi, Nagasaki – No trip to Nagasaki is complete until you have visited the Peace Park and the nearby museum. There are very informative displays of the atomic bomb history plus the severe impact and suffering of the city and it’s civilians. This must-visit museum evokes emotion and has a strong message to never let such a thing happen again. More details here
Click here to read ‘Dark Tourist (Japan Special) Vol. 01’
Click here to read ‘Hell On Wheels – My Metropolis Magazine Article’