The first haikyo stop on my recent Kyushu trip is one of the internet favorites: The Vertical Shaft of the Shime Coal Mine.
Easy to spot from long distances this 47.65 meters high tower was finished in 1943 as the center of a coal mine that opened in 1889 and closed in 1964. But that’s not the only reason why the place is on virtually every haikyo homepage: It’s easy to access by public transportation and even easier by car. In fact there is a soccer field and a children’s playground right next to it. But that’s not all: Since December 8th 2009 it is considered an “important cultural property” by the Japanese state – so they fenced it off and put up some lights as if it was a 400 year old cathedral, so you can enjoy the view around the clock; you can even find the address and coordinations of the shaft on the Japanese Wikipedia. Right now they are putting up fences around two or three other remains of the mine and they planted some cherry trees to create a park surrounding. Haikyo for the whole family with no entrance fee – but nothing else either, not even a photography challenge. The construction itself is quite unique, but other than that it feels kind of dull, nothing anybody would (or should) spend more than 15 minutes on…
(EDIT 2011-04-02: To all the visitors coming from Reddit – thanks for stopping by; and thanks to bakerybob for linking this blog! Since you seem to like zombies, please have a look at the *Hospital #126 in Pripyat* and my *Nara Dreamland Special*. Both won’t make good zombie fortresses, but they would be perfect as settings for zombie movies! And there will be more “zombie style” locations soon, so please don’t forget about this blog in the future… maybe by *following me on Twitter* or / and *on Facebook*?
EDIT 2011-04-04: Since the discussion on Reddit turned into a full-grown meme now known as the “Anti-Zombie Fortress” meme I decided to add a short video clip I took when visiting the mine. It’s nothing special at all – I just put it up since so many people are interested in the topic right now… For more interesting videos, all in 720p, *please click here*.)