The Abandoned Cars of Ageo Bedroom Town

Thirty-five kilometers north of Tokyo is Ageo. A once semi-rural area, its main inhabitants are now mostly daily commuters to Tokyo — the famous Japanese salaryman and the odd OL — trudging off via their packed trains to slave away in the data-mines of mindless corporations.

The change in demographic from a vibrant, self-contained community, to a city that only supports sleeping, creates the Japanese phenomena of a “bedtown.” Many stores close, showing only their never-opening shutters, low-density housing & open fields disappear, and high-density apartment buildings grow in their places.

As the previous residents depart, they leave behind their old homes, belongings, and sometimes of course, their cars. Similar cities can be found across Japan, and sometimes along with the depositories for refrigerators, TVs, and furniture, the resting place for cars can also be found.

Not necessarily wrecking yards, in the western sense, but more a dealer or person who has taken as trade-in, or for cash, a car they sold originally. In some cases, they may consciously buy or store a particular type of car that interests them.

This particular yard in Ageo announces its presence with a range of Nissan dealer models screwed to its front fence. Generally not for sale, these models are used as either display in showrooms for current models, or for toys for use by potential buyers (or their kids). The models signaling perhaps some official connection with a Nissan dealer somewhere.

The yard itself while scattered with mostly routine Nissan one, two, and three-boxes, becomes interesting with a BE-1, a PAO, and an early Bluebird.

A very sad Subaru 360 was sitting atop an old transport container, and of special interest are two Isuzu Belletts – a regular 1600, and a GT. Most of the cars though are suffering severe perforation, and likely loss of basic structural integrity too. Many though still carry all their non-perishable parts — lights, lenses, trim, and glass. This alone suggests someone has decided to keep them with a view to allowing at least some of them to be recycled in-part.

It is always depressing to see old cars of any type stacked on top of each other, but hopefully like the rest of the residents in Ageo, theses ones are just sleeping, waiting for someone to wake them up.

Skorj is a photographer/journalist living in Japan. You can see more of his work at Magnesium Photos.

This post is filed under: datsun, isuzu, japan, nissan and
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8 Responses to The Abandoned Cars of Ageo Bedroom Town

  1. moominsean says:

    Depressing, yet still endlessly entertaining! Neat stuff, seems like one can never explore everything in Japan. So much to see…

  2. Jim-Bob says:

    The PAO is the one that gets me. I have always liked Nissan’s little retro trio (Pao, BE-1 and S-Cargo), and hate to see one in this sort of place. It looks salvageable, something that cannot be said of many of the older cars in this lot.

  3. Nigel says:

    Like a dream where you know you should do something to stop what is happening, yet it’s that dream where you can only watch. Interesting and sad.

  4. Charliebucket says:

    I love blog post like this. It’s kinda sad but so interesting and well written. Takes us all places we would never see.

  5. Timiata says:

    Such a different world…

    I like the background information you always provide. Makes for a nice read!

  6. Ben says:

    Thanks, Skorj! I do prefer the PAO but the one that kills me is the Be-1, which was so limited in production that Nissan had to hold a lottery to sell them. It’s the 2nd one I’ve seen at a Japanese junkyard.

  7. colink says:

    those pictures are just soooooo sad

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