Inside the abandoned horse racing grandstand in Japan

  • French photographer, Jordy Meow, explored the haunting Japanese grandstand and captured its decay
  • Dating back to 1866, the site has had many incarnations including as a military printworks and a war prison
  • Briefly a bowling alley in the 1980s, the derelict building, hidden in a park, has been left to ruin for decades 

From its buckled door frames to its rusting light switches, the haunting interior of an abandoned racetrack grandstand has been caught on camera. 

The derelict Imperial building, hidden behind shrubbery and a fence, lies atop a hill overlooking Negishi Forest Park in Japan.

Dating back to 1866, Negishi Grandstand was one of the first Western-style racetracks to open in the country. However, it became a printworks around the time of WWII, then a prison then later a bowling alley, before being left to rot in the 1980s.


The derelict Imperial building, hidden behind shrubbery and a fence, lies atop a hill overlooking Negishi Forest Park in Japan


Jordy Meow, a Frenchman living in Japan, crept inside the eerie ruins of the grandstand to shoot a number of arresting images inside


Mr Meow told MailOnline Travel: ‘I have always been interested in this building because it’s difficult to access but the architecture is unique to the Meiji Period and it’s also a very unique building in Japan’


Dating back to 1866, Negishi Grandstand was one of the first Western-style racetracks to open in the country

Jordy Meow, a Frenchman living in Japan, crept inside the eerie ruins of the grandstand to shoot a number of arresting images inside.

Back in 1866, the residential district of Yokohama welcomed the arrival of the horse race track, which fast became popular with Japan’s affluent locals and foreign residents. 

JH Morgan was commissioned by Emperor Meiji to construct the elaborate, wooden structures.


The residential district of Yokohama welcomed the arrival of the horse race track, which fast became popular with Japan’s affluent locals and foreign residents


Architect JH Morgan was commissioned by Emperor Meiji to construct the elaborate, wooden structures



Despite the Great Kanto earthquake striking the area in 1923, the building remained intact, but the grandstands had to be rebuilt after suffering fire damage


As equestrian sports were not permitted during WWII, the racetracks fell out of use and the grandstand instead became a print works for the Japanese military with the stables used to house Australian prisoners


After the war, the US military captured the building and General MacArthur made use of its printing machines, with the structure known as Area X, then Negishi Heights

Despite the Great Kanto earthquake striking the area in 1923, the building remained intact but the grandstands had to be rebuilt after suffering fire damage.

Mr Meow told MailOnline Travel: ‘I have always been interested in this building because it’s difficult to access but the architecture is unique to the Meiji Period and it’s also a very unique building in Japan.

‘It went through many earthquakes (among them, the Great Kanto Earthquake) but is still standing, unused, left alone.’


Relics of this era are still evident in Mr Meow’s pictures, with the Administrative Office and 3rd floor signs from the 1940s still fixed to the wall


Describing exploring its warren of corridors and rooftop, he shared: ‘Once inside I felt like I was one of the few who made it in the past years, and I was able to discover a place we don’t see many photos of’


Mr Meow revealed: ‘I am attracted to silent and beautiful places, which are full of stories and mysteries’


Mr Meow followed an urban explorer into the building at 5am and spent five hours photographing the ruins



Meow found unusual drawings inside, left, and rusting ornaments, right, left behind by the building’s previous occupants

As equestrian sports were not permitted during WWII, the racetracks fell out of use and the grandstand instead became a print works for the Japanese military with the stables used to house Australian prisoners.

After the war, the US military captured the building and General MacArthur made use of its printing machines, with the structure known as Area X – then Negishi Heights.

Relics of this era are still evident in Mr Meow’s pictures, with the Administrative Office and ‘3rd floor’ signs from the 1940s still fixed to the wall.



Buckled door frames and rusting light switches were found inside the abandoned racetrack grandstand



Mr Meow said that in 1983 Negishi Heights was returned to the Japanese and became home to a bowling alley


But the grandstand’s days as a bowling alley were short-lived and it has lain empty in the middle of a park for decades


Mr Meow has explored a number of abandoned places across Japan for his website Offbeat Japan and has compiled a collection of images for photography book Abandoned Japan

Describing exploring its warren of corridors and rooftop, he shared: ‘Once inside I was able to discover a place we don’t see many photos of.’

Mr Meow said that in 1983 Negishi Heights was returned to the Japanese and became home to a bowling alley. 

But this was short-lived and it has laid empty for decades. 

Mr Meow has explored a number of abandoned places across Japan for his website Offbeat Japan and has compiled a collection of images for photography book Abandoned Japan.

He said: ‘I have been to hundreds of abandoned places throughout Japan, such as the famous abandoned island of Gunkanjima where I went four times, and the abandoned attraction park of Nara Dreamland, where I lived for one year (next to it). I am attracted to silent and beautiful places that are full of stories and mysteries.’    








Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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