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In 2017, during a holiday to Japan, I visited the Hakone area, south-east of Mt Fuji, via day-trip from Tokyo. One of the stops was Mt Hakone – accessed via cable-car from lake Ashi.
Due to timing, we only had a few minutes a the top of Mt Hakone. This was my first encounter with the eerie - Komagatake Ropeway top station.
(Above pic is a screenshot from Google Maps street view)
In 2019 on another visit to Japan I decided to make a point of visiting this mountain again – to get close look...
In 2017, only the ground floor of the station was open to the public, holding only a ticket counter, small gift shop, a photo booth, and some vending machines. The stairwell to the second floor was blocked off, and the sign for the bathrooms was covered up.
(Screenshot from Google Maps street view)
This enormous concrete block, perched on a cliff edge of Mt Hakone serves as anchor point for the cable car, and looks out over lake Ashi.
Its showing the signs of its age. Wikipedia says it opened in 1963.
It feels strange that something this run down is still in operation...
In 2017 – I desperately wanted to have a look upstairs of the creepy building, but didn't want to risk trying to sneak past the stairs from the lobby...
In 2019, the blocked sign was removed from the stairs!, and I guess they opened up the bathrooms on level 2. As soon as we entered the lobby, I decided to dash for it... my wife happily exploring the gift shop downstairs.
The blockade on the stairs was now moved to the second floor – with only the bathrooms accessible.
With no tourists on this floor yet, I figured – this is it - now or never!, and I jumped over the boom and headed upstairs – careful to listen for any noises from upstairs...
My heart was pounding as I snuck further! I had to stop shooting a bit as some tourists just around the corner from me came up the stairs to visit the bathrooms... (noises from camera shutter...)
As I went higher, you could see that the walls of the upper floors were never even painted. I wonder if they have ever been in service since 1963!
I guess when they build this behemoth, they envisaged a restaurant and maybe visitor centre, maybe accommodation in the upper floors?
A wooden trimming on the stair handrail as you approach the top floor.
The top floor-
A chair against the wall,and some colourful stickers against the glass doors. The only colour in this dreary building.
I'm guessing one of the top-station employees comes up here for their lunch break...
The top floor is basically empty, except for some communications gear that was probably installed much later.
After this I snuck back down. I regret not checking if any of the bathrooms were open.
More external shots:
I think these are heat-lamps,keeping the motor-controllers from freezing.
Besides this top station building, the only other structure visible at the top is Hakonejinja Mototsumiya temple.
A blue tile on the ground along the path to Hakone-jinja
The temple shows no signs of life...
On the way back down:
As we were ascending the mountain, from the gondola, you can see some wooden cabins in the forest below... Some of them looked a bit worse off... I decided to go have a look when we came back down...
There was a sign board next to the road leading up the the cabins – The Hakone Prince Dog Cottage. It is spring – sakura season.
The cabins near the bottom of the mountain were still looking ok – they were probably still being rented out, but there were no signs of any visitors or staff.
As you go higher up the mountain, it was clear that some of these cabins have not been in service in years. Completely overgrown, full of moss, algae and weeds.
A tree growing out of the front porch suggests the age of disuse.
Peering through the mosquito netting, I can see and old CRT TV and VCR
There are downed power lines and more trees. Some of the side roads leading to the cabins are completely overgrown. I don't think anyone has walked down there for years.
No more Mario-cart for you
Looks like this one has a fridge, that probably held those two tubs of whatever.
After this encounter, my first experience in “urban exploration”, I started noticing, in the town where we stayed (Atami), and along the roads of Yugawara which we drove through, there were plenty of eerie relics-
(Screenshot from Google Maps street view)
and many run down and abandoned places-
I made a point to explore further...
A roadside visitor centre / rest stop, found across the road from a toll-gate. No idea how old this is – its definitely not in operation anymore. No name to it in Google maps.
I pulled off to the side of the road and walked across the empty parking area. It had a crazy amount of parking space. I don't think it was ever full.
There was a small van parked out back, and a guy messing around. No idea how it got in – both entrances were barred.
Mt Fuji in the background
Remnants of a hotel or possible a rec centre / maybe hot-spring pool-
There is some underground structure as well. Looked too dangerous to explore.
The upper structure, attached to the mountain, leads you to go further up
Very overgrown up there. I couldn't get over the bridge to go further up.
The bridge lead over an artificial waterfall
I was making a lot of noise cracking through the bamboo... I ducked down for a bit while a traffic warder appeared.
Overgrown pedestrian walkway. There is literally nothing on the other side – just the steep mountain. I wonder how many people have ever crossed that bridge.
I think this is the “town office branch” - maybe a local council building. Only half of the building is still in use. The other half is piled full of junk.
A walkway over the road-
Leading to a school – also abandoned...
This school really intrigued me – I thought there might be some good photos to be had.
At the point, as I entered into a courtyard area, there was a car with a guy in it. He saw me to I just waved and pretended to be a dumb tourist. I continued to take a few pics, but he came out of his car and followed me for a bit...
I pretended to leave. The guy went back to his car – then I doubled-back to check out the gym!
Not being able to explore this area further, I left, however, later that day I noticed on Google maps that there is supposed to be a pool at the back of the school! - and also there is a road going up towards the back. Since we'd be travelling back past this area, I decided to give it one more go.
At the back of the school is a forest, leading up a mountain. The road stops quite a while away, and you have to make your way through the forest towards the school. Lucky for me, a path was cleared here, leading parallel to the school. I guess to prevent forest fires from reaching the school.
First obstacle was this ditch or embankment. About 1.5m deep.
As I got near the back of the school where the pool was supposed to be, there was a big ravine. I had to go down there, over some embankments and down a further set of retaining walls.
Everything was wet and covered in moss. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to climb back up the walls. It was pretty quiet out here. Only me struggling through the bamboos.
I reached the pool!!
There was a thicket of bamboo growing around it...
An abandoned hotel on the shore-
When we got back to the small town to return the rental car, I spotted this place walking to the train station-
I couple more random shots
Hey everyone I am from St. Augustine Fl. I have been getting into urban exploring more lately and have begun looking for locations around my area since photography and exploring just about anything have been hobbies and interest of mine for quite some time. If there is ever anyone around my area that knows of some places and wants to explore let me know as I am pretty new to this and have not really met any other explorers in my area. I have a couple places I have recently come across as well and hope to check out soon and post some photos of as well.
It's great to be part of this forum!
By Forgotten Productions
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Kelenföld Power Plant is located in Budapest and was originally established in 1914, in conjunction with Hungary's electrification program. It was known as one of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced throughout Europe and supplied electricity to the entire capital. The site itself featured the first boiler house as an electrical supply building in the city. Between 1922 and 1943 the plant underwent two extension phases which introduced 19 modernised steam boilers and 8 turbines. These were operated at 38 bar steam pressure and transferred the increasing demand for electricity through 30 kV direct consumer cables. The equipment used was considered state of the art at the current time and was all produced by Hungarian manufacturers. By the 1930s the facility contributed to 60% of Budapest's heating and hot water which made up 4% of the country's overall energy supply.
The infamous Art Deco control room, also known as 'Special K' was completed in 1927, after two years of construction. Designed by notable architects Kálmán Reichl and Virgil Borbíro, because of this, it's listed as a protected site under Hungarian law and cannot be restored or destroyed. The Kelenföld control room is widely acclaimed as one of the most stunning monuments of industrial art. It uniquely explores the boundaries between functionality and grandeur, featuring a decorative oval skylight alongside the retro style green panels, hosting a range of buttons, dials, and gauges. Once the Second World War had begun, a small concrete shelter was added for the employees. This was due to the ornate glass ceiling, as it was considered to be a target during the bombing raids in the city.
By 1962 the plant was modernised again with accordance to the heat supply demands of the capital. The existing condensing technology was replaced with back pressure heating turbines and hot water boilers. This increased reliability, as coal was steadily becoming more outdated and inefficient. In 1972 gas turbines with a capacity of 32 MWe were integrated into the plant and were the first to be put into operation throughout Hungary. In 1995 another redevelopment phase was initiated which provided the power station with a heat recovery steam generator and later on in 2007 a water treatment plant was established. The control room itself was closed in 2005, since then it has been featured in a few well-known films such as the Chernobyl Diaries and World War Z. Other areas of the site remain active through private ownership, with buildings still providing power to Budapest.
We arrived in Budapest feeling cautiously optimistic, we had other locations on our agenda for the weekend but Kelenföld was a significant reason for our visit. It's something I've wanted to see since I started exploring a couple of years ago and failure was not an option for us. We had 3 days and therefore 3 attempts (at the minimum) to access it. Fortunately for us, we managed to get in the first time around and we couldn't have really asked for a better way to kick off the trip.
Once we made it inside the plant we found ourselves lost in a maze of locked doors and sealed off sections. Understandably they wanted to make it as difficult to get into the control room as possible. Whilst searching we heard the familiar sound of nearby footsteps and radio so we quickly found a decent spot to hide. "We have to keep moving, if we stay here we'll get busted," I said to my exploring partner, after a handful of excruciating minutes, listening to them steadily get closer and so we pressed on. Without giving too much away we managed to find our way to the main spectacle and were instantly blown away by it's immense beauty. So without further ado, onto the photos!
Unfortunately, with the security guard on the hunt for us we decided to bounce before getting caught ((more so my other half than myself.) As much as I would have loved to stay, I didn't argue. Means we have an excuse to go back!
As always if you've got this far, hope you enjoyed reading my report
This was originally a tandem mill for Wheeling-Pitt steel when it was opened, after it's closure about 12 years ago, it was bought by another steel firm - RG, this lasted until 2012, after it's closure, several of the outer buildings were used by a fracking firm that eventually pulled out in early 2017. Demolition started about a year ago and progress has been swift unfortunately. I apologize that some of the photos aren't that great of quality, I intend to do a revisit soon. I gotta watch for the cameras though lol