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Haikyo / Ruins Free Entertainment - Negishi Racetrack
(Entered Jun. 14, 2008)
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So it's Saturday night and you have nothing to do. You have no date, there's nothing on TV and you're just sick of all those videogames. Options? Well you can always go on an overnight haikyo adventure! My buddy UK Mike and I did just that the other weekend, making this my third haikyo trip, and his sixth or seventh.
Where to this time? Instead of heading out into the countryside like we usually do, this particular haikyo spot was pretty much right in the city. Negishi racetrack in Yokohama to be exact. A haikyo in the middle of the city presents some tricky problems. For the best chance of success, we decided to do this haikyo in the middle of the night.
Here's a shot of the racetrack building in the daytime. The stands are all that's left. The area where the racetrack used to be is now part of the American base. Apparently it was built sometime in the 1930s, and abandoned after World War II. A nice bit of forgotten history.

Negishi racecourse - courtesy of Michael John Grist

We arrived around 11pm and promptly got lost trying to follow our trusty google map. After walking for about 20 minutes, but uncertain if we were on the right road, we backtracked to the station again only to realize that we had been on the correct road the whole time. All part of the haikyo fun though! Passing our first test, we arrived at the racetrack to find that it was surrounded by houses on one side, and a military base on the other with army guys lounging around with a direct view of anybody who felt like climbing the fence. To make things even more interesting, the whole thing was doubly fenced off, and boarded up tightly enough to stop even cockroaches from entering. Around the outer fenced off part, random people kept walking by: joggers, dog walkers, young lovers, etc. It's amazing really how many people walk their dogs at 1:00 in the morning. The odds didn't look great, but by around 2 am things had quieted down enough for us to make a few forays over. A kid could've climbed the first fence, but the second fence... no easy task getting over that let me tell you. Here's a shot of the only possible entry spot. Just to put it in perspective for you, that curved pipe thingy is just under 2 meters tall.

Negishi racecourse - courtest of Michael John Grist

Mike was the first one over the second fence. As for myself, not having Mike's monkey-like climbing skills, I needed Mike to pull me up like a sack of oats. Here's a shot of Mike, looking like some feral animal, attempting his first climb among the creepers and bugs.

Negishi racecourse ruins

Avoiding the direct gaze of the army dudes (although it wasn't army property, so they couldn't really have done anything) we crept along the front and as luck would have it, someone who had been there before us, had broken a section of the wall, and we were in!
The place was huge, black and empty. I'm not someone who believes in ghosts, but I tell you, even with another person and a flashlight, walking around that place was intensely creepy. Doing it alone doesn't even bear thinking about. There was no noise inside at all and the air had a still, dead quality to it. There was nothing alive either, not even insects.

We needed to use our flashes of course, so the pictures ended up looking like they were taken in broad daylight. As you look at them, imagine how you'd feel walking around there in pitch blackness and dead silence.

Negishi racecourse ruins

Not sure what this tub was ever used for.

Negishi racecourse ruins

There were literally hundreds of rooms and doors going everywhere, like a maze. All empty...

Negishi racecourse ruins

Some of the rooms were huge.

Negishi racecourse ruins

I tried to imagine what this place would've been like when it was being used, and full of people. Couldn't picture it though.

Negishi racecourse ruins

Another empty, dead looking room.

Negishi racecourse ruins

We kept climbing and eventually made it out onto the top of one of the three towers and had nice views of the surrounding area.

Negishi racecourse - courtest of Michael John Grist

The sky was starting to lighten, and we figured it wouldn't be good to be seen coming out in the daytime, so we headed back down to make our escape. We realized though that we didn't really know where our starting point was. However by pure chance we stumbled upon a door that had been locked on the outside. Unlocking it we stole out into the pre-dawn light victorious!

Here's a video of our adventure that Mike put together. It may seem a bit lighthearted at times, but I think we made it that way to cover up our nervousness.

After I came back from my first haikyo adventure, I never really thought I'd do another. The thing about haikyoing, once you get over the initial excitement, you realize that pretty much every haikyo is the same. Old, empty, dark rooms with old, dirty furniture lying around. The really fun part I've realized, is the challenge of getting there and getting inside!



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