Rural Japan is changing as much as in the big cities as Japan readjusts to its adding population and changes in the country's wealth and economy. While many places stand the test of time, others get left behind like this yakiniku restaurant I found in the middle of nowhere up a mountain road.
It has always puzzled me how restaurants are hidden away and impossible to find unless by word of mouth first gain a reputation and then maintain it over the years. In Japan it is quite common to drive a couple of hours just to visit a particular coffee shop or udon restaurant, but with strong competition and Japan's general love of new things, restauranteering in the middle of nowhere must be a risky business.
Oddly enough although the front doors were locked, the back door was wide open. The are a few nonvenomous snakes in Japan but there are always signs warning of mamushi which have a bit of a reputation even though I am sure not many people have seen one. The mamushi has distinct head markings but I didn't check this skin.
There were a lot of items left behind that were in good condition like this tiger, loads of glasses and a tape printer machine that must have been from the 90s but seemed to have still been in use. I wonder what for...perhaps, regular customer's bottles of sake?
My favourite find was this tanuki with hat and even little grass shoes on (草履) . I would have taken him with me if it were my last day working at that restaurant!
I am not superstitious but when entering an abandoned building, I am always hyper alert for any sounds of movement from humans or animals and don't like any disturbing noises like having to walk on broken glass even of it is obvious that nobody has been around for months or years. However, there is something a bit spooky about a place that has lost its purpose. It is as if the place feels sad, lonely and probably a bit embarrassed about having guests at short notice without having cleaned a little. So I found myself saying "お邪魔しました" (sorry for disturbing you) so that I left the building politely anyway.