Every city has its bad parts and areas to avoid, but there’s no denying that these less favorable areas give even the poshest urban centers something to talk about. While Kowloon Walled City no longer exists, its fixture in popular imagination will likely persist for decades, if not centuries.

In 1987, the city housed 33,000 people in 6.5 acres and was largely lawless, though informal social structures naturally emerged among the citizens. The city, as you might expect, has been the inspiration and setting for many fictional works, from books to movies to video games. And, now, it’s provided inspiration for a unique business venture in Japan.

That’s right, Kowloon Walled City now exists in Japan as a game center! Which, when you think about it, is either incredibly fitting or incredibly inappropriate. We’re still not sure which.

The game center, which is called “Digital Kowloon City,” is located in Kawasaki City, just south of Tokyo. Built in the spirit of the original Kowloon Walled City, the game center’s exterior and interior both look horribly rusted and uncared for.



▼Must…resist…writing…”Wash me!”ka4

The entrance in particular looks like something out of a 1980s horror film with a heavy-handed message about the dangers of industrial factories.

Note to high school students: No admittance to anyone under the age of 18!


▼Heading into the building, you’re greeted first by an ominous steel doorway…


▼…and then a long, narrow hallway complete with unpainted metal…


▼…old, slapped-on, Chinese posters…


▼…this thing, which is the entrance to either the parking lot or Taoist Hell…


▼…and a pond of bubbling green water!


And even then, even after that ordeal, you still haven’t arrived at the actual game center!

Finally, you go up an escalator that looks as if it’s two seconds away from disintegrating.


But then you see this.


▼”Ummm… maybe we walked through a magic door back there somewhere…”



▼Well, I was hungry.


These pictures show you just how dedicated the proprietors of the game center are.

Though not an exact replica of the Walled City, it captures what we imagine the atmosphere must have been like. Tiny, cramped, coming apart at the seams, and utterly beautiful in an indescribable way.


The owners did a great job making the “set” as believable as possible.

▼Heck, we’d be pretty scared just to touch those pipes.



▼We wonder what kind of prizes are inside of those gachapon capsule machines.


▼Money changing machine. But will it actually give you change or just grind up your fresh 1,000 yen (approximately US$10) bills and spit them in your face, laughing demonically?


We have to admit, though, that the bright shiny game machines look kind of awkward next to rusted-out walls.

And then we saw the bathrooms and our disbelief was not just suspended but kicked to the curb and told to find somewhere else to stay.


We’ve been assured that the toilets did not actually stink, but it’s hard to believe it.


Though if you look closely at those pictures, you can see how clean the urinals are. Come on, guys, spray some brown paint on there or something!

Of course, once you head up to the third floor, it’s basically just a normal game center. But we still have to applaud the whole design and implementation. That’s the definition of “taking it too far,” in the best way possible!


For reference, here are some picture of the real Kowloon Walled City, one from outside and one from inside.



It seems that the actual city was so densely packed that sunlight rarely reached the bottom floor (the above picture being one of those rare places). The denizens had also done so much “construction” to the city that a person could run from one end to the other without ever touching the ground.

Being the fascinating place that this is, you can imagine how much of a hot topic it’s become on Japanese sites this week. Most commenters simply can’t wait to get the chance to go, though some are a bit concerned about the state of the bathroom. Those worried about the toilets can take heart knowing that the staff fastidiously clean them every day.

Source: Another Tokyo