Serene Desolation in Japan’s Mountains

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Yet another visitor to Japan’s multitude of abandoned mountain places provides a haunting photographic record of a village as it is slowly reclaimed by the forest from which it was hewn.

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“Jizō-san [stone statues representing the Buddhist divinity Ksitigarbha commonly found throughout Japan] had some flowers. The graves were also well kept. A deserted place with a human presence is even more scary…”

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“There was a temple type structure there too. Boarded up. With ‘Under police investigation’ written on it. Something happened there it seems.”

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“There’s a shrine here. The local gods really are quite wonderful.”

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“The shide [paper streamers used to ward off evil spirits at Shinto sites] were new, it seems people still come here. Wondering what I’d do if one came is quite scary.”

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“Why’d it get abandoned? It’s so pretty. A dam or something?”

“I think just because it is very inconveniently located. Especially to the elderly. The landlord probably at least comes to clip the grass.”

“So nobody lives there at all. Did you go inside any of the buildings?”

“The remaining houses were all locked up. Going in them would be a bit, well, you know.”

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