One of the country’s most unusual property locations.

Ever since Google started capturing the Earth from above and sharing its images with the world online, people have been making unusual discoveries about the neighbourhoods they live in. Recently, this sky-high perspective unearthed yet another odd discovery, this time in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture.

▼ Google images show a building perched upon a high landing, surrounded on all sides by what appears to be a mine.

The images were recently shared on Twitter, where they sparked up a discussion over the why, what, where and hows of the mystery building.

“This looks like the last stronghold of an old castle fortress.”
“It’s a secret research facility for the Earth Defence Force. In the basement of that house, an ancient monster, an apostle, or AKIRA is sleeping at a very low temperature.”
“Is it really okay to live on a spot like this? Wouldn’t it be dangerous in heavy rain?”
“How is this possible? I’d love to know the story behind this.”
“Could it be a shrine? That could explain why it’s undisturbed.”
“I think it’s more likely the owner didn’t agree to land acquisition.”

While the shrine theory was a good one, it was dismissed online as people confirmed this was a building that looked more like a home. Some wondered if there could be some sort of land dispute involved, with people likening the look of it to the “nail houses” seen in China.

“Nail houses”, known as “dingzihu” in Mandarin, are so-called as they can be seen standing alone, poking up out of newly developed areas. This happens when homeowners refuse to accept offers of relocation or compensation from developers who want to demolish their homes, and the construction goes up around them anyway, leaving them to stick out like a defiant nail on the developed landscape.

▼ An example of a “nail house” in China.

While it’s likely that the house in Aichi may have a similar “nail house” backstory, one Twitter user noticed that Google images showed the site has looked like this for a while now, which throws up another plausible theory–that the owner of the land lives in the house, having leased or sold the land around it for clay mining.

There are a number of clay mines in the area, due to the fact that this location, in Aichi’s Seto, is one of the country’s most famous regions for pottery production. Seto-yaki (Seto ware) has been produced in this area since the 13th Century, and is so revered it was named one of the Six Ancient Kilns of Japan in the 1900s, a recognition reserved for only the best kilns in the country.

▼ Pottery is such an important industry for Seto it’s home to the Aichi Prefectural Ceramics Museum, located just a short seven-minute drive away from the mystery building.

According to online chatter, though, most people believe the building is likely to be a Japanese “nail house”. After all, over at Narita Airport, a man called Takao Shito has been living–and farming–in between runways, after he refused a cash offer of 180 million yen (US$1.7 million) to leave his farm to make way for the airport’s expansion.

▼ Shito’s house can be seen just below the number 44 at the centre of the image.

▼ His isn’t the only privately owned residence to defy the airport runway expansion, as the Ki no ne Pension is another stronghold with an interesting history.

For Shito, his family’s 100-year history of living and farming on their land is far more important to him than money, and given the similarities in appearance between his patch of near-swallowed-up-earth and the one found in Aichi, it’s possible the two might share a similar backstory.

For now, though, the story behind the Aichi nail house remains a mystery. That is, until we can get one of our reporters down there to get to the bottom of the matter, like we did with this mystery plot of land cutting through a supermarket in Saitama Prefecture.

Source: Jin 
Featured image: Google Maps

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