Haikyo: The Culture of Urban Exploration in Japan

You’ve seen plenty of photography here by urban explorers who sneak into abandoned places to document them on film. In Japan, the hobby is called haikyo, which would translate to urban explorer, but the exact meaning is just a little different. Urban Ghosts talked to haikyoist Jordy Meow about exploring the architecture of Japan.

Haikyo means “ruin” in Japanese, but it’s also the name of the hobby. What we call the “haikyoists” in Japan are actually doing “urban exploration”, which means also exploring places which are not necessarily abandoned.

I like to think that haikyo and urban exploration have differences. In comparison with westerners explorers, haikyoists seem more interested in the story and history of the places they visit and don’t take as many photos (sometimes none). The general pace is slower and quieter, new images aren’t put online immediately and explorers tend to take their time. Attempts at visiting many haikyo or exposing too much locations in a short amount of time is not appreciated.

But that doesn’t mean no pictures are taken! Read the rest of the interview, and see quite a few of Meow’s best photos at Urban Ghosts.

(Image credit: Jordy Meow)


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