Matsuo mine in the north of Japan opened in 1914 and closed in 1969. In its heyday it was the biggest mine for sulfur in the Eastern world. It had a workforce of 4,000 and a wider population of 15,000 people, all of whom were accommodated in a makeshift city in the mountains of Hachimantai Park.
The city was known as the “paradise above the clouds” for its comparatively luxurious apartment blocks and near-constant ebb and flow of mist. That same mist nearly prevented me from finding the place at all.
I drove on featureless roads up and down oddly rolling hills for nearly an hour before the first of 11 giant apartment blocks finally emerged from the mist, like granite crags on the hillside.
Walking through the empty corridors I felt my love of ruins reinvigorated. The mist surrounded me, tamping the world down to just my small pocket of existence. I walked the length of three blocks in awe. I climbed to the roof, careful over rotten-through concrete steps, and looked out into the thick enveloping fog, and remembered why I go to these odd places.
Finalmente pistas de onde veio tanta criatividade.
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