The vast majority of buildings in Japan are actually very dull and nondescript but that means that some of the more-intriguing, modern architectural structures really stand out. This place, located in a very quiet part of Shizuoka Prefecture, is one such case.
18 kilometres south of Atami is a station bypassed by the majority of tourists heading further south to enjoy the beaches and onsen resorts of Izu Peninsula. Usami Station is a 17 minute train ride from Atami and following the river west for eight minutes on foot takes you to an interesting-looking building which was once nicknamed Monster Hospital.
The layout concept of the former Minesaki Clinic was designed by Yoji Watanabe who is famed for his unique architecture. It is supposedly based on part of a dragon face with the eyes and mouth represented by windows! I wasn`t originally too convinced but the more I look at the photo below the more I see it. What do you think?
The clinic was completed in 1968 and known locally as Monster Hospital. The driveway loops its way up to the entrance of the house and the back of it reminds me of an army style building of sorts. The design was reported to have been inspired by Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) and was abandoned for many years but now it now looks like someone`s home so one should respect the privacy of the residents if going to see this spook-tacular building.
- The former Minesaki Clinic is located at 1480-2 Usami, Ito, Shizuoka-ken. The closest station is Usami (below) on the Izu Kyuko Line.
Bonus: The most visually stunning place in Usami has to be the giant kannon statue (3496-205 Usami, Ito, Shizuoka-ken) which sits up in the mountains overlooking the area. It`s easy enough to access by car but it is possible to do it on foot it if you don`t mind walking on the side of roads without footpaths for an hour! It should be said that it`s not a busy road but cars do pass by every now and again.
The kannon is lined with hundreds and thousands of statues and it really does make for an impressive sight.
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